The President Writes

The President Writes

I trust you are keeping safe and healthy in these challenging times for us all. It has been very heartening to witness the way in which ICorr activities have transitioned almost seamlessly online. More than ever, our website, social media platforms and online meeting facilities are proving critical in bringing people together and facilitating the excellent networking, training and knowledge transfer activities that the Institute has to offer.

The future of ICorr rests with our younger members and I’m delighted to see the continued success of initiatives to support networking, training and career development of our students, apprentices and early career professionals. We have put younger members firmly at the heart of our membership development strategy and it is fantastic to see some of these activities already coming to fruition. I’ve mentioned some of these below but there is much more to come!

The Institute is proud to support the new Level 2 Industrial Coatings Applicator standard for apprentices, which has been developed in collaboration with Skills Training UK, BINDT and the Highways Agency. I was very pleased to hear that the first cohort of apprentices at Jack Tighe Ltd have successfully passed their End Point Assessment, which consisted of a series of practical tests and a professional discussion over a week in early August. The success of this initiative is down to a lot of hard work by a large number of people but I would particularly like to thank Martin Hillyard and John Whittaker of Jack Tighe Ltd for their strong support for the next generation of coating applicators. Hopefully this will be the first of many such cohorts!

Young ICorr is also continuing to flourish under the leadership of Caroline Allanach. Key to our strategy here is the intention to link Young ICorr activities with local Branch events to broaden the professional network of our early career corrosion engineers and scientists. Combined with the current need to hold Institute events online, this will also have the beneficial effect of revitalising some of our less active Branches. If you are interested in supporting these events in any way please get in touch with Caroline (Caroline.Allanach@gmail.com).
It was a pleasure to attend the 61st Corrosion Science Symposium, which was held online using the Institute’s Zoom Pro account in September. The quality of the talks by the students was very high and there were many interesting discussions, both verbally and via the chat function. I was also honoured to present the U.R. Evans Award (at least virtually) to Prof. Bob Cottis – hopefully there will be an opportunity to present him with the sword itself in the not too distant future!

As a professional society we are constantly striving to develop new ways to raise standards in corrosion protection across a range of sectors. Our training courses are an important part of this strategy and are internationally recognised for their quality and integrity. In the past few years we have been updating and expanding our portfolio of world class training courses. A notable addition that launched on 23 September is our new Level 3 Passive Fire Protection course, which has been developed in collaboration with PFPNet and will set new standards for health and safety in this area.
Finally, I’m delighted to announce a new grade of Corporate Membership, with BP as our first Corporate Member. Our thanks are due to David Mobbs for developing this concept and making it a reality in discussions with BP. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to BP for agreeing to act as a ‘guinea pig’ for this new grade of membership; their strong support for the Institute and its vital activities is greatly appreciated. Going forward we have exciting plans to roll out Corporate Membership to other larger companies, which will further raise the profile of corrosion protection as a major priority for asset owners.

Enjoy this issue of the magazine – I would also like to point you towards the excellent blogs on our website (www.icorr.org) and the interesting links they contain. Happy reading!

Gareth Hinds, Institute of Corrosion President

PFP Course for Inspectors – Finally, Training That Meets Industry Needs

PFP Course for Inspectors – Finally, Training That Meets Industry Needs

PFP Inspection Training Developed by Industry Experts for the Industry

In the last few weeks, we’ve published several articles about passive fire protection. These include:

In this article, we briefly review the reasons why a comprehensive, market-leading PFP course for inspectors is considered essential by the oil and gas industry. We also examine the nuts and bolts of the new Fire Protection Coatings Inspector Training Programme that has been launched by the Institute of Corrosion and PFPNet.

PFP is failing too often

Market dynamics have reduced the level of qualified inspection that helped to ensure correct application of PFP systems before plant is commissioned.

Greater competition in the coatings market has pressured margins. A consequence of this is that suppliers of epoxy intumescent and cementitious PFP coatings no longer provide on-site technical services free of charge. Combined with the drive for the oil and gas industry to reduce project costs, there has been a reduction in available competence to ensure quality installations.

Additionally, there has been a tendency to treat PFP coatings like paint, despite specialist skills and understanding required for quality PFP installation.

The result of these factors has been a decline in the quality of PFP application. In turn, this leads to failure of PFP with the associated financial and human cost impacting the industry.

The huge cost of poorly installed PFP

The cost of correcting poorly-applied PFP systems can be huge. Where installations are sited offshore or in remote locations, maintenance and repair costs can be up to 20 times more expensive than when performed in the construction yard.

Currently, 85% of coating failures occur within one to three years. Most of these failures occur because of:

  • Incorrect specification choice
  • Poor surface preparation
  • Poor application
  • Climatic conditions

Inspection of PFP systems and applications should capture the issues that lead to such failures before they happen – thus reducing rectification needs and costs.

PFP is critical for health and safety and asset integrity

Protecting an asset from fire protects the asset’s integrity, helping to achieve your paramount priority – the safety of your people.

However, many lives have been lost in offshore fires and explosions over the years – lives that may have been saved if PFP had not failed. When compared to paint, PFP coatings are much more complex.

There are many stages in the application process and specific skills and controls are needed to ensure that final installation meets the requirements for the lifetime of the asset.

PFP inspection is a critical exercise

With PFP playing such a key role in keeping people safe and the added financial risk of requiring rectification of poorly installed PFP systems, inspection of PFP is a critical exercise that can help reduce costs and save lives.

Yet, the industry itself knows there is a massive shortfall of experienced people to perform PFP inspections, especially in remote locations. Hence the need for new, improved, comprehensive training for PFP inspection. Training that will meet the standards expected by the industry, and that equips PFP coating inspectors with the expertise to identify risks of failure before they occur – thus reducing the industry’s costs, improving its safety record, and saving lives.

What expertise does the Fire Protection Coatings Inspector Training Programme deliver?

This is the most comprehensive course available anywhere in the world – developed by industry experts for the industry, in response to the industry’s needs.

Accredited by the Institute of Corrosion and PFPNet, the course has four main modules:

  • Online, which is designed as a pre-learning module to ensure all candidates understand the basics of corrosion and corrosion protection
  • 4½ days of classroom study with an industry expert
  • A predominantly written examination which will take half a day at the end of the classroom sessions
  • A Peer Review in line with all L3 qualifications

In total, course attendees will spend 10 to 20 hours training online, and around 40 hours in the classroom.

The course will be delivered through the Institute of Corrosion’s normal channels via IMechE Argyll Ruane, and additionally through the PFP manufacturers to meet the demand from global operators.

The course will be invigilated, and the exam papers collected to be marked. The tutors, invigilators and exam markers are all independent. The Peer Review will be an online meeting arranged within one month of completion of the course.

Successful candidates will be recognised as being highly professional in the inspection of PFP and accredited by the industry as the only standard specific and meaningful to the application and inspection of PFP systems.

In brief, elements covered in the training programme include:

  1. Role and Duties of a PFP Inspector
  2. Introduction to PFP
  3. Normative Documents
  4. Classification Society Type Approval
  5. Qualification of PFP Systems
  6. PFP Materials and Systems
  7. Epoxy PFP Degradation Mechanisms
  8. Fire Performance and Defective Application
  9. Pre-Job Meeting
  10. Surface Preparation
  11. Epoxy PFP Extent and Thickness Details
  12. Epoxy PFP Application Equipment
  13. Final Thickness Determination
  14. Examples of Application Defects
  15. Reporting
  16. Health and Safety

The agenda is similar for the cementitious PFP course with specifics on these types of materials replacing the epoxy specific items on the above list.

How will this course impact the oil and gas industry?

The course will provide the industry with inspectors specifically trained in the inspection of PFP. Thus, it will raise standards in pre-commissioning application of PFP coatings. The industry should benefit from a decrease in the amount of re-work on this safety-critical area of a project build, leading to significant cost savings.

The training programme has been developed by industry experts in collaboration with PFPNet – the industry body dedicated to raising standards in the specification, testing, use, application, and maintenance of Passive Fire Protection systems.

Who should take the Fire Protection Coatings Inspector Training Programme?

The course will benefit anyone who is involved in PFP, but specifically those involved in inspection. Training delegates will come from owner/operators and engineering houses, but in the main from fabricators, applicators, and inspection houses, as well as private inspectors.

In the first instance, prospective candidates for the course are likely to be those currently working on PFP installations who wish to upgrade ahead of others. Inspectors who know their trade should pass with flying colours.

The general requirement to be considered for this training will be to have at the least L1 Paint Inspector qualification and a minimum 3 years in the industry. As with all L3 courses, all potential candidates will be vetted to ensure suitability.

For more information, contact either John Dunk at PFPNet or David Mobbs at ICorr.

Or register for the launch of this exciting new training programme here.