Inspectioneering Journal

Assuring Pressure Part Manufacturing & Repair Quality - Has ticking the box become more important than the end product?

By Andreas Fabricius, Engineering Consultant at Tetra Engineering, James Malloy, Managing Director at Tetra Engineering, and Mark Taylor at Tetra Engineering. This article appears in the March/April 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Quality Achieved vs. Quality Perceived

The quality of the thousands of factory and field welds present in pressure part modules is critical for assuring reliable operation over the life of a plant. But how are these welds performed and verified? Much relies on the quality system of the fabricator, and for many years some companies have been paying only lip service to quality while avoiding the associated costs. It is very easy to tick a box.

Let’s take a step back. Companies can be perceived as good, bad, or somewhere in between by potential clients. Rightly or wrongly, quality systems are generally seen as a way for a company to show that it is on the good end of the scale.

In the 1990s there was a rush to become accredited with formalized quality systems such as ISO 9001. Many companies felt this was a quick way to officially become “good.”  Successful companies already had quality “built-in,” but these systems gave newcomers or underperformers the chance to level up.  Unfortunately, the goal for some companies was only to obtain “status,” a certificate to display, rather than an actual means in using it to become a better company.  Ticking the box had begun.

Most quality systems involve the production of a lot of documentary “proof,” and this is expensive in terms of manpower, time, and materials.  When a considerable fraction of the total construction cost on a project can be directly related to quality control, minimizing cost becomes a key consideration.  If a paper trail can be provided that shows the requirements of the system were fulfilled, then surely everyone is happy, right?

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by JUAN CARLOS CASADO on May 28, 2019
Thanks for sharing Andreas, an article quite... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by David McGrath on May 28, 2019
Great article Andreas! Probably should have... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Andreas Fabricius on January 14, 2020
David, good points. Often the quality manual is... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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