No matter the material type, most structures require a protective coating to limit the amount of corrosion and extend the life of that structure. One form of quality assurance is coating inspection.
Through previous projects, we have learned the value of properly applied coatings to a project and the Owner’s satisfaction. Not only do properly coated structures look better, they last longer. Recent advancements in the protective coatings industry command a thorough understanding of surface preparation requirements and coating properties for proper inspection of the surface preparation and coating application.
Using a NACE certified inspector as the Owner’s representative offers the benefit of someone technically trained in proper surface preparation and protective coatings to act as the quality assurance technician and verify the project specifications are met. A typical field engineer may have a limited coating experience, and most likely has no formal training in coatings. The coating applicators performing the work learn by experience and handed down knowledge as they advance from a new applicator to a veteran supervisor. Most do not obtain any formal training in the application of the coatings they are using. A NACE certified inspector, hired by the Owner, has the formal knowledge about the surface preparation and proper application of the coatings; as well as being an independent third-party keeping the Owner’s best interest as the number one project goal.
Here is a brief description of the knowledge obtained in the first two levels of NACE Certification:
NACE Coating Inspector Level 1 - Certified
- Basic understanding of corrosion principals
- Monitoring of weather conditions
- Understanding of steel substrate surface preparation and cleanliness
- Typical coating properties and curing mechanisms (typically epoxies and polyurethanes)
- Non-destructive testing techniques; such as dry film thickness measurements and holiday testing (pinhole detection)
NACE Coating Inspector Level 2 - Certified
- Understanding of surface preparation of other substrates; such as concrete, aluminum and stainless steel
- Specialized coating properties; such as spray metalizing, galvanizing and fusion-bonded epoxy
- Destructive testing techniques; such as Tooke gauge (destructive thickness gauge) and adhesion testing (both pull-off and knife)
Coating inspection, by itself, can’t guarantee a successful project. But a combination of a qualified coating inspector, a competent applicator, and a team first attitude result in the most successful projects. Most benefits of coating inspection may not be realized for years.
We are also NACE certified for observation and documentation of surface preparation conditions on steel surfaces, testing of protective coatings applied to steel structures and can provide some testing and observation services for protective coatings on concrete surfaces.
Banner engineer Adam Hanson, PE is NACE Coating Inspector Level 2 - Certified w/ Bridge Endorsement - Certified. Tim Pyle, EIT from our Rapid City office is NACE Coating Inspector Level 1 - Certified and Bryan Lipp, EIT from our Brookings office is currently in training to receive his Level 1 Certification.