How to spot a good above ground storage tank inspection company (and avoid a bad one)

You need your above ground storage tank inspected, but your regular storage tank inspection company cannot fit you in. How can you ensure that when you go looking for a new tanker testing company, you get a good ‘un? 

We think that there are seven ways that you can check your tanker inspection company. They are helpfully outlined below. 

However, no system is fool-proof. Duds can slip through the cracks. But, making judgements according to these seven criteria will give you some assurance that you are headed in the right direction.

1. They have EEMUA 159 accreditation

The first measure is an obvious one: have they done the training.

Tank assessors must have undertaken training and be qualified to inspect tanks. EEMUA 159 CompeTank® is the EEMUA certification scheme for tank integrity assessors. Check that your tanker testing company of choice has accreditation in this area. 

2. A variety of NDT techniques

Testing an above ground storage tank takes a variety of different non-destructive tests. Different parts of the tank require different testing techniques in order to get a thorough understanding of the asset’s integrity. There are some tests that are industry best practice, but some companies may also apply additional techniques based on their experience. 

For example, Ultrasonic Testing should be performed on bottom plate welding joints, and this can be supplemented or replaced by Eddy Current Inspection

3. They know the weak spots

A good above ground storage tank inspection company should know which areas require particular attention. Although there are lots of components that make up storage tanks, there are a few weak areas when corrosion, flaws and cracks can particularly appear. These areas are:

  • Annular rings and their welding joints
  • Roof plates and their welding joints
  • Bottom plates and their welding joints
  • Shell plates and their welding joints

A good tank inspection company should show an awareness of these weaknesses and be able to talk about how they are going to thoroughly inspect each area. 

They should be able to produce tank bottom conditions assessment reports. 

4. A variety of access solutions

Another feature of successful and throughout tanker inspection companies are the variety of resources they have at their disposal to access the tank in question. 

They may use technology such as robotic crawlers for shell thickness tests, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for visual inspections. 

Their technicians should be qualified with at least a level 1 IRATA Rope Access, supervised by an IRATA Level 3, which is the industry standard for those undertaking rope access work on tanks.

5. Paperwork is up-to-date

All of the risk assessments, insurance details and company health and safety policies should be completed and available to you when requested. The types of paperwork that should be place includes:

  • Confined space access risk assessment
  • BINDT membership (BINDT is the British Institute of Non Destructive Testing and all companies using NDT techniques must be registered with them)
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Insurance Certificate
  • British Safety Council Certificate

6. They have social proof 

To determine whether you can trust a new company can be tricky. There are several ways you can check whether they do good work though. 

  • Do they have any Google Reviews? Check their Google My Business profile page and see whether they have. 
  • Do they have any case studies on their website? Case studies are descriptions of projects that they have undertaken. High quality case studies will demonstrate how they have responded when things have not gone to plan. 
  • What do their social media channels show? Is there evidence of other companies interacting with them positively?

7. Time efficient solutions

In some ways, this criteria separates the good from the outstanding. All the other points ensure that you get a competent, qualified and trustworthy tank inspection service. But the feature that will ensure you get an outstanding company will be whether the company can add real value by keeping the out of service time of your asset to the absolute minimum.  An outstanding company should be able to offer explanations of their best practice in conducting tests quickly and safely, saving you time and money.

We find that one of the most time efficient ways of inspecting tank shells is to use our robotic crawlers to map the integrity and thickness of the metal. Check to see if the company uses robotic crawlers in the tanker inspections. 

Remember…

Assessing whether a company is reputable requires you to make judgements according to different criteria. It’s not foolproof, but checking for the proper accreditation, that they have the right techniques, industry knowledge and some good social proof will point you in the right direction. 

And what will separate a good company from an outstanding one will be the company’s ability to reduce operational disruption for you, whilst delivering assurance that your assets are safe. 

Responsive testing that delivers assurance that your equipment is safe.

Contact us for a quality testing service with a fast report turnaround. We can respond to any challenge.

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