American Welding Society Forum
I've noticed that there are an ever increasing amount of complaints regarding the "shoddy" quality of welds out there being accepted by some QCI's, both in the shop and out in the field...
Any thoughts on how disciplinary enforcement can be increased so that these "inspectors" be held accountable through some sort of points system or something to that effect???
SSBN727 Run Silent... Run Deep!!!
In the situations where it allowed and needed I keep the information in a computer database. Daily or weekly I could print out by stencil the number of feet I inspected and the number of defect found and also group the defects by type. I posted that information in a shop for awhile but was forced to take it down. This was years ago. The people at the bottom of the list complained the most. I now keep the data sometimes but only make it public if asked.
As with any quality system. Real support from management is needed. Lip service has very little value in a continious improvement system.
Thats my view.
Have a good day
SS , I`m glad you brought that up. I think the best remedy for Inspectors accepting poor craftmanship ,lies with the customer or the owners inspector. When the owners inspector notices poor welding that has been obviously inspected and accepted by the manufacturers inspector,this is when the inspector for the manufacturer should be contacted, questioned and all equipment should be repaired at the manufacurers expense. I`ve seen this situation many times in the past and as long as the owners of the equipment donot accept the the poor work and make them repair it at all cost, they will at least think twice about accepting poor work. In other words if you hit them in the pocket book a few times they`ll either shape up or ship out. Contractors on hard money jobs are the ones that are usually guilty of this, it`s almost like they are gambling on weather or not the owners are going to notice the poor work or not. I`ve seen it cost contractors millions to repair shoddy work. One incident comes to mind ,over 50 chrome headers that should have had full pen welds on the stub-ins but they didn`t. 1500 1 1/2" welds had to be cut out and rewelded at the contractors expense. What they were thinking was, that once the headers were capped off on the ends no one would be able to see the lack of penetration on the ID. What they didn`t count on was when one of the headers needed to be modified in the feild and the owners inspector noticed it. All beacause the fabricating contractor wanted to try and save a few thousand dollars just making the welds look pretty on the OD. Imagine that. "Sad but true" ...... Great topic SS, Have a good one!
This thread follows closely with another I started. I think you have it nailed most closely. Since my background was as an independent inspector, usually representing owner's interest, I was able to improve quality of projects from the outset by my strict interpretation of the code at the beginning of the project. Fabricators/erectors sometimes groaned when they saw me at the begining of the project. But they knew what to expect also. You can always relax (a little) when the job gets rolling, but it most difficult to tighten a noose once you have accepted lesser quality.
Another factor to be mentioned here is educating the fabricator/erector of what the code says. It is amazing the ignorance of the code by some fabricators/erectors. As CWIs and/or NDE technicians, we have learned the ins and outs of the various codes and procedures we work with, but fabricators/erectors "have been doing it that way for years and no one has ever complained before" or "no buildings have fallen down yet". We have training (usually) to explain why things are done the way they are. Often, it is difficult to explain to these people that these codes are not my rules or procedures, they were developed by people a whole lot smarter than me with tons more experience than I have. It is just my job to verify/document whether they were or were not followed and to inspect with already established acceptance criteria. Additionally, I have reminded more than one fabricator/erector that they signed a contract with someone saying they would fabricate/erect to the applicable code, so what is the problem?
Now I am on the other side of the fence. Unfortunately, I get pressure from those who set the delivery schedule (and sign my paycheck) to let as much go as I can. I do that already because I do not view the code as a bunch of "thou shall nots...", but use the code to justify what we do. I will be truthful to say I have had to let my own standard slide slightly since I started here. I did not think I could come into this company and instantly change quality output or additudes. These things would have to be learned. But there are hard lines that are not crossed and it has caused much grief when I will not let something pass without whatever correction is required. It has been most beneficial to our company to have a few of my old associates (and new ones also) come into my shop to review our quality. Behind the scenes, I have encouraged these owner's representative inspectors to kick our butts. In areas I have been overuled (or ignored) from within, it has helped back up my earlier arguments and has impacted our shop for the good.
I believe that mostly the good inspectors will survive and the less competent ones will be weeded out. Unfortunately, this is not always true because I can think of one in my area that has been fooling people for many years. Oh well, you can't win 'em all!
More opinions welcomed.
On the surface it looks like some type of program as you described could work, but how do you make it fair for everyone?
Too often, I've seen accusations fly under heated conditions, damage to reputations was done, and then everything was "dropped" once the facts are revealed. (Except that memories of the incidents are not dropped. Regardless of what anyone says, we remember the bad but not the good.) Who has enough time and money to thoroughly follow up a complaint, including issuing exonerating statements where warranted? (I've never seen that happen.)
Also there is a difference of opinion as to how inspection is to be done. The whole world can't be run like a nuclear job. Yet some people think a simple trench cover should be inspected like one.
Sometimes the inspector's marching orders are to "make sure the welds won't fall apart but don't be too fussy". That really happens but how do you interpret that? Not fair to judge an inspector in that case.
A disciplinary program, other than what is already in place through AWS, would only lead to inspection reports with even more "weasel words" in them. (You know- "appears to be acceptable" , "consistent with known specifications", and similar) No one will want to stick their necks out, and many will decide against a career in inspection if they see lots of opportunities for discipline but few for rewards.
I feel that most "bad" inspectors get weeded out through peer pressure, poor job references, word of mouth and so forth. In the best examples, they learn from mistakes and improve. In the worst example, I've heard of an individual who did jail time for falsifying government dicuments. It's easy to make new rules to fit problems but be careful of what gets "fixed".
Well, maybe the place to start looking is "who, what or where" these ever increasing complaints are coming from.
"Out there" is a pretty vague phrase to begin thinking about setting up a program of disciplinary action. There is a Code of Conduct in place and EVERY CWI is bound by that Code of Conduct.
The problem you discuss may lay in intepretation........after more than 22 years as a CWI, I tend to look for ways to accept a weld rather than reject it; at the same time, I am bound (as all CWI's) by a set of criteria. If a weld meets the criteria set out, I will accept it even in those cases where I feel the weld "could" look better.......
WHAT A CONCEPT!!!!!
As I see it, a code of conduct or code of ethics is only as good as its application. First such a code has to be made available to the individual. As one who has attempted to "defrock' an inspector for negligence and had the lack of an established code thrown in my face I would suggest that a code be made part of entry level discussions and indoctrination training by the company or organization. Some don't even have one.
Where I work we not only have such a code but have an entire document on the application of that code to to an individual who has failed to comply with one or more of its principles. These are given to inspectors upon entry into the organization and it is explained that each individual is responsible for compliance. They are then asked to sign a statement that they received them and that signature sheet is kept in their file.
I, like many others, think that 30 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean is just a good start. Sometimes having a little back up like a signed document will keep the lawyers away when someone squawks about unfair business practices interferring with his livelyhood.
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