Inspection reports - what you should expect to see

The inspection report is the 'product' that a client invests in and should contain all detail about the inspection activity or 'services' that have been provided to the client by the inspector. Here, we cover the elements typically included in a quality inspection report including expectations of a client and requirements of an inspector.

It is vital that you make note of all major documentation utilised in or related to the inspection that is being conducted, not just the title, but the revision status and reference number have to be recorded.

Any documentation on a project has to be issued directly by the client or if the vendor or a different organization supplied it, the client has to approve it. If an approval of such is not evident, it is extremely important that you mark this out and outline this clearly in the inspection report as either an outstanding action or non-conformity on the client.

You should refer within the report to all attendees present during the inspection, who they represent and their role during the inspection.

Reference should be made to any inspection or measuring equipment that is used during the inspection. This might be because the product we are inspecting had to be measured to give us a representative quantifiable value to sentence against a code, specification or standard to assess the items acceptability.

In order to obtain these readings we need to ensure that the device that is carrying out the reading has been validated as accurate.

This is done by equipment Calibration and can be performed by different authorities, particularly by a national accreditation body like the A2LA, UKAS, or the other similarly accredited national bodies.

It is important that all measuring equipment calibration is documented in the report with the identification of the instrument type, including its identification number and even the calibration status as required in the report performed.

At the point where you are unsure regarding the level of calibration that is needed or specified by the client, it is important that you raise this point in the report for confirmation by the client.

Reporting details of the Inspection

This particular section requires a full description of the exact items or parts that have been inspected and reference must be made to the criterion which has been used to sentence the acceptability of the item (QCP or ICP reference and the activity listing or number). It is also important to state the inspection result whether being acceptable or Unacceptable and any other resultant actions or consequences that have not been considered as non-conformity.

In the event that nonconformity has been further raised, it Must to be referenced in this section, as well.

The level of detail within the inspection report is vital. As a rule of thumb, there should be at least 1-2 detailed pages of the inspection narrative for just one day of the inspection activity.

Clients generally prefer not to have to read significant or confusing detail, but instead need to quickly and clearly understand what the services the inspector conducted on their behalf, and what was discovered.

A report is not meant to read like a story and should be a to the point hit list of activities conducted and the resulting outcomes.

Having said that, it is rare for a client to make a complaint relating to excessive inspection detail within a report; moreover, most issues that clients raise regarding inspection reports is due to lack of detail which can lead to avoidable corrections and rewrites.

In most cases, if there is lack of detail in the report the client may question whether the inspector was looking out for the client’s best interests.

Remember, inspectors are not always there to discover negatives during an inspection and NECIT Inspectors are actively encouraged to outline positive findings as part of their reporting. This can help give confidence to clients that systems, policies and procedures are working correctly.

Digital Pictures

“A picture paints a thousand words”

We have all heard this phrase before and while it is correct, we must keep in mind that clear pictures should be used as part of any report. Every inspection report should indeed contain evidence that is supported by digital pictures and typically this should be a minimum of 6 images.

When Digital pictures are embedded in the inspection report, a caption must be provided with them, to describe what is being shown.

Likewise, the narrative of the inspection report must reference any relevant photograph identified with it. Readers of the report must not be left to wonder what they are looking at when looking reviewing digital image evidence.

Punch List Items

This section of the inspection report requires you to identify and provide the detail of any outstanding actions that were uncompleted at the time the inspection is being conducted and are not clarified or judged to be non-conformities, for example;

‘On valve xyz123, valve tag plates are not present but are on order and are to be added prior to shipping”

The Punch list should be used as a guide to you or another inspector during the next inspection visit to close any aspect of the order which is not yet complete.

If a manufacturer or vendor organizes the manufactured equipment to be shipped and the client requests you to issue an Inspection Release Note, this must be included.

If there are items left open on the punch list, you must liaise with the client and inform the client of the punch list items still open and whether they accept release of the items with punch list items still open.

In the event that the client requires the of the Inspection Release Note with open punch list items, then the resolution of the remaining Punch List items has to be in full detail and agreed with all parties. Reference to the punch list shall also be made on the inspection release note.

When the Punch List items considered in the previous inspection reports have been completed, it is important that you ensure the documentation of these being addressed and also closed off is included in the narrative of the inspection report.

Appending Documents to Inspection Reports

Whenever it is required to attach manufacturer’s documentation to the inspection report, it is necessary that the attachments are visibly and clearly distinguished in the report narrative, by stating the document description or title and document number (i.e. ‘Attachments’ section). The inspection report number should also be appended to the attachment documents to ensure traceability.

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