Inspectioneering Journal

Quality Assurance - Inspection Strategy Execution

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the July/August 2018 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


There are many reasons inspections are performed on equipment. There also are many ways and options to inspect equipment. This article will focus on a particular work process (i.e., verifying the work was completed as specified) in the world of fixed equipment inspection in the downstream oil & gas and petrochemical industry.  The importance is applicable to any industry within the confines of overarching rules, jurisdictional, company or otherwise.

The context is fixed equipment reliability.  Within this context, it is important to note that the main reason for inspecting equipment must be to obtain results that help the owner/operator “fine tune” the reliability prediction. How much uncertainty about the true damage state of the equipment is acceptable? How much confidence do you need to have in your predictive models? Are you inspecting to comply with a code or are you inspecting to assure the desired level of reliability of your equipment is achieved? Likely both, with compliance as a minimum.

How much uncertainty is acceptable?
Figure 1. How much uncertainty is acceptable?


There may be other reasons for inspecting equipment like product quality, fouling, or a scheduled insurance or regulatory requirement. The context for this article is combined compliance and reliability excellence. Information gathered from inspections must help us answer the uncertainty question. Why spend money or time planning or executing an inspection if the resulting information does not improve our knowledge about the current or future damage state of the equipment.

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