Being used to the role of principal contractor,then  being a sub-contractor needs a mindset change, that comes through the contract and the impositions necessarily put on you. The Shetlands Gas Plant (SGP) Laggan-Tormore had a bigger surprise waiting, lurking menacingly, unseen, unexpected in the Totality of  it's monstrous dimensions - documents for QA. The whole team have no experience of the level of documentation required, I guess we are somewhat spoiled in transportation where the client has the testing required tabulated and "bare" appendices for designers to complete, from this I in the past have complied many test and inspection plans for the whole works, one, albeit large document that can take a week to compile. It then is an organic doc that evolves as the project does with any necessary changes. The Oil and Gas industry has an obsessive mindset regarding QA and safety, micro managing through documents, an example may illustrate; we have all had difficulties with concrete pre and post supply, and this from QA major suppliers who weigh batch (that is a subject of a previous post), add a small island company without QA and volumetric mixers and your document control spins into an upper Xerox dimension. to further complicate this how about two specifications one in precedence over the other but the lower one can be used if the client decides the main contractor's approved contract spec is underachieving. So the example, as volumetric batchers have batcher men as operators, they need to be identified as qualified to operate the machine, so, as well as the controlling doc at a pour, the pour sheet, we in addition need a checksheet that identifies the volumetric mixer and the batcherman.  It is not difficult but exemplifies the level of control sought, nae demanded. It is yet more paper to keep collected and dealt with as a kept record. All documents  are approved, or rather put into the system under review, and are returned with comments, comments are dealt with and docs are re-issued. The main docs are the main contractors specifications, our inspection and test plans (ITPs) based on meeting the requirements of the specification, and the risk assessment method statement (RAMS) on how we intend to build the item safely. For concrete we have an approved spec, an approved RAMS an approved ITP and now newly implemented, under review,  a pre-accreditation ITP as we will conduct the the factory testing till the supplier becomes accredited to supply concrete to BS EN 206, this ITP was amended by me up to the time I was due to fly and the previous night, basically due to a concrete trial on temporary works going pear shaped I had to add to our ITP what the supplier has to do to prevent the mishap re-occurring. about half of the ITP's rows, some 14, produce some sort of paper outcome. This self generates document control work and indeed may have to be uploaded into the doc control system under, of course, a transmittal, that in itself needs signed and sent back and then filed. The RAMS, SPECs and ITPs with their checksheets need to be controlled by us to our staff as well as with our client. That in itself is a task to stop documents moving around uncontrolled, particularly where we have the design responsibility and not the main contractor. What has all this to do with materials engineering? well duplicate roles of materials engineering with QA and doing doc control when the doc controller is on leave cycle. My pal Bass is rejoining us as QA manager and a local doc controller is to be employed, but already we are playing catchup and have fluky IT connections, temporary offices, and inadequate stationery, to label, to file, to put it on a shelf, to date stamp and mark as controlled or uncontrolled. A good moan helps !! Never even mentioned TQs, NCRs, materials approvals, audits, vendor audits, internal audits, registers, matrices, issue of drawings, meetings............

4 Responses to “Quality Assurance, heavy duty”

  1. November 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Wait till you come back, we’ve raided your biscuit tin as well!!

  2. December 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

    pants innit!

  3. January 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Aye, welcome to the world of Petrochem. One of life’s consistencies, they are the same the world over; pre-occupied with QA. Does it get them anywhere or improve things? Well, can only comment on the safety side: Look at BP Grangemouth. Had all this QA, form filling, tight procedures, cannot move without a piece of paper that at least ten other folk have signed and have copies of etc etc. Then the plant started to explode culminating in a large crater in a public road. When they lifted the blanket and looked under this QA, they found out that it was not actually having any effect. Solution: Sell the plant off to someone else and have them become responsible for it!

  4. February 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I remember the days when the old Morrisons had a group key men (usually drawn from the Tain and Golspie areas) who would go out onto the remote jobs with the Steelfields mobile batching plant or an Utranazz and produce their own concrete.

    Even in my short time as a Morrison labourer I batched and placed the grout (using a standard static cement mixer and a wheelbarrow) across the steelwork bases on a large leisure centre project; great quality grout expertly placed. My only qualification for doing this, as a 20 year old history student on his summer holidays, was my dad was their best mixer driver.

    To the best of my knowledge the building is still standing……….

    How about uploading some photographs of the Shetland project?



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