Recently I sat through a meeting where the QA consultant of the client, who was stationed at the manufacturer, was reconciling the documentation to complete the data packs for final handover.

This was where human nature was visible in all its glory.

In a typical data pack we have documents like material specs, welding rod specs, welder’s qualification, welding procedures, NDT reports, NDT technician qualifications and more. My concern was this: things had gone a bit wrong for the manufacturer – too many repairs – the job had been delayed and fingers were being pointed.

Believe it or not, we got the blame for the delay of the project because we called for too many repairs. Imagine that!

As a service provider and a professional we call a repair when we find it. There is no need to “manufacture” repairs; the welders do that quite well all by themselves.

The meeting – 15 people – then proceeded to scrutinise every single NDT report including every X-Ray film that was taken. Remember now, this is human nature trying to shift the blame. They looked for typing errors, spelling mistakes, incorrect request numbers or welder stamp numbers quoted on the report. Then they looked at all the films, 1600 films! Density, sensitivity, reference marks and identification was analysed to death. We even discussed the level of experience of each and every NDT technician. These people were desperately looking for someone to take the blame for their delays. Unfortunately a few mistakes were found on our reports.

They loved it!

These guys – manufacturer – took pleasure in telling the client that the delays were as a result of NDT screw-ups. Because, and listen to this, there were mistakes on some of the reports – there had to be mistakes during testing. According to their reasoning some repairs were definitely unnecessary. I wanted to strangle this consultant – too many witnesses. But since they had their evidence, they were happy and I looked like an idiot. Luckily the client had enough brains to realise that these guys were grasping at straws.

So, people, please double-check reports before you sign them and they are sent to the client. The repercussions are major.

Hennie de Wet – NDT Operations Manager

Hennie de Wet