Now that Ernie has gone over to the "dark side" :')) I thought I might
bring up the subject of personalities involved with weld inspections. I
have found a great spectrum of styles among inspectors. Some are just too
lax and try to be a nice guy. Others come on as little gods.
On the other side some fabricators can be less than receptive about
Any stories or input on how to get along with each other and at the same
time get the job done in a timely manner? I have a few of my own.
My classic was a guy who held up the job for a whole shift because I had
layed out the distillation tower ring locations incorrectly by 5/8 of an
inch. I was building to the drawing which was metric. He was checking the
two foot spacings in inches and feet. Over twenty meters there was a
difference of 5/8ths. Needless to say after that I was in his gunsights.
| Now that Ernie has gone over to the "dark side" :')) I thought I might
| bring up the subject of personalities involved with weld inspections. I
| have found a great spectrum of styles among inspectors. Some are just too
| lax and try to be a nice guy. Others come on as little gods.
| On the other side some fabricators can be less than receptive about
| Any stories or input on how to get along with each other and at the same
| time get the job done in a timely manner? I have a few of my own.
| My classic was a guy who held up the job for a whole shift because I
| layed out the distillation tower ring locations incorrectly by 5/8 of an
| inch. I was building to the drawing which was metric. He was checking
| two foot spacings in inches and feet. Over twenty meters there was a
| difference of 5/8ths. Needless to say after that I was in his gunsights.
Every day I have to sell my work to inspectors in my job of building
airplanes. They're human, just like the rest of us, but some folks think
that being an inspector entitles them to some kind of power. I have
observed over the years, along with a quote from one of our founding fathers
(or was it Abe Lincoln) that everyone can handle adversity. If you want to
see the true nature of a man, give him power. I watched a really good guy
turn into a royal ass and alienate everyone that used to like him in a
matter of days when he became an inspector. We learned the true nature of
What I've learned is that if an inspector realizes that you know (not
just read, but truly _know_) your job from the drawings all the way to the
details of the specifications, and he notices this early on (by whatever
means) then he will not challenge you much. The last thing anyone wants,
inspectors included, is to be proven to be an idiot. The ones on power
trips are highly insecure about their own knowledge base, thus are less
likely to challenge you if you obviously seem to have a better grasp than
The next thing is simply first impressions. When an area ready for
inspection is very clean, very neat, and no discrepancies are immediately
known or visible, they'll be less likely to look harder. Give them
something to look at and they'll keep looking because you're sparked their
interest. In other words, bore them when they come to look at your work.
If he wants to measure or look at something in greater detail, give him
all the help he needs, even more than he asks for. Hold the tape, light,
scale, whatever it takes to show him that you have the utmost confidence in
your work, and let him know ahead of time that you will make looking at your
job a pleasure. Any inspector will find it hard to be an asshole when
you're being nice to him (without sucking up) and when he sees you showing
pride in your work, he has no reason to look for problems that require extra
I don't do metal fab work for a living, but I'm sure the same principles
apply to all inspectors.
Some inspectors out there that will reject a weld because they do not like
how it looks. But the fact is, the weld is not rejectable if it does not
meet the criteria in the code being used for a rejectable discontinuity.
Sticking to the code makes it easy for the inspector. Welder doesn't like
your call? Tell him, better yet show him, what the code allows and explain
that your job is simply to follow the code. Ask him to check his weld to
see if it passes. Should be no problem after that.
Best not to irritate the welders too much, though. They can make life very
interesting to say the least.
I found that the most effective inspectors deal with the shift supervisor
exclusively. Chain of command is most important to avoid personal conflict.
I have found that when I have been in the drivers chair so to speak I
did everythig to keep the inspector happy. Since I ran an evening shift
some of them liked to show up after day shift and surprize us while avoiding
the dayshift foreman. If they found the slightest porosity and made a
comment I pulled the beam right away and dropped it back on the welders'
horses. It sent a message that we wanted to do things right.
For the really picky unsatisfied inspector I have been known to set out
some "bait". It is set out where it is easily spotted and can be moved
back for repair. In most cases it is spotted . If not then it is sent for
repair afterward anyway.
I would say that well over ninety percent of my encounters have been
positive and I have felt I am part of a team rather than the whipping boy
for someone's personal frustrations.
I am not proud of the tactic. It was done in frustration trying to please.
A sharp and ethically responsible inspector would have walked a little
further into the yard even if it was raining out. Whether you are a welder
or a welding inspector there is something to be said for taking pride in
I never for a minute considered that it was a tactic to slip by some
less than perfect work. I realize it was a method of satisfying two
people. The inspector; who 'found' a problem and got a warm fuzzy
feeling of being on top of his game, and the inspectee, who gets his
work inspected without being nitpicked by an inspector who 'must' find
I have, of course, never employed this method for similar