Performance-Based Qualification 

PBQPerformance-Based Qualification – is an alternative approach to the traditional methods of operator qualification. It requires operators to demonstrate that they can consistently carry out an inspection to a defined standard under real working conditions. Operators must demonstrate their knowledge and skills to reliably detect relevant discontinuities in a specific application.

National and international round robin trials have demonstrated a deficiency in the current approach to qualification and certification of NDT personnel in that it does not result in high levels of probability of detection in certain applications. The NDT industry has tried the 'one size fits all' type of qualification but now there is the experience and data to indicate that this philosophy must change. Whilst there is always likely to be a market for an NDT generalist, demonstration of competence in specific industry sectors through PBQ may be the way of the future.

PBQ is based on the idea of 'real-life' performance. It is a method of measuring competence for a particular task. PBQ is claimed to be able to improve personnel qualification systems by recognising individual capacities, limitations and needs. If this is the first time you have come across PBQ, then it will certainly not be the last:
  • ISO/DIS 11774 Non-destructive testing – Performance Based Qualification is a draft ISO standard under development.
  • ASNT CP-107 is a proposed American National Standard currently in the early stages of development entitled ‘ASNT standard for performance-based qualification and certification of non-destructive testing personnel’.
For more information on PBQ see:

What the hec?! articles are not intended to be the definitive account on the topic or acronym in question. Readers’ comments and contributions are welcomed. Email: ndtnews@bindt.org