The need for structured surveillance inspections

When Quality Assurance arrangements are not robust or when checks required by Quality Control fail the consequences are not always immediately apparent. Construction activities may progress unaware of an impending issue.  Only to discover at some point later that protective Coatings have not been applied properly, a Welder is not qualified, Material Tractability has been lost, documentation that was assumed to be in place isn’t, or possibly changes requested by engineering have not been communicated to the shop floor.

While traditional quality auditing techniques may identify key deficiencies during the vendor or yard qualification process, this does not address the day to day issues that arise during project execution particularly when the Vendor or Contractor is faced with time or resource restraints or competency issues.

Quality Control surveillance inspection activities in the upstream Oil & Gas industry traditionally rely on Inspection and Test Plans provided by Vendors and Construction Contractors to illustrate the QC steps taken during manufacture that demonstrate specification compliance. However, inspection activities performed by Oil & Gas Company and EPC Contractors inspection personnel are typically focused on the ITP HOLD points while the MONITOR points are largely ignored.

By their nature, information gathered by attending an ITP Hold point is historical and therefore backward looking. However, what if we could gather data from routine QC surveillance activities that would provide information to project management on where things are likely to go wrong in the future so that we can take preventative action.

The practice of reacting to events such weld repair rates during construction is limited in value, other than removing or retraining welders and reviewing the welding process controls; little can be done to reduce the repair rates, but in any event the weld has already failed inspection and must be repaired.

When construction defects are detected at an ITP hold point, during the FAT or at the Final inspection there is always an associated cost. While the cost of rework is to the account of the Vendor or Construction Contractor, there also are hidden costs to the parties performing the surveillance inspection on behalf of the Oil Company or EPC Contractor in the form of additional inspection days, travel and expense cost. 

Most often than not, these costs are hidden and absorbed into the inspection budget.

Since 2011 fewer than 25% of oil and gas projects have been delivered on time; with project averaging 10 months delay and coming in around 35% over budget…

Source: OGA Lessons Learned from UKCS O&G projects 2011 – 2016 report

Observations from the report

  • Contractor and vendor quality commitments cannot be relied upon thus requiring significant company involvement and intervention.
  • Reduce multi-party Inspection and Test Plans (ITPs). The ‘witness and hold point’ requirements create inefficiency because the job stops and starts and inevitably takes longer. Primarily driven between a lack of trust between parties.


  • Time spent investing in aligning project team, partners, supply chain and regulators at the beginning is time well spent.
  • Involve the supply chain early, develop co-operation and strive to work as one team.

We can show you how to intervene early and prevent cost and schedule overruns with Qvis

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