The International Association of Quality Practitioners (IAQP)

Regular readers of this column will be familiar with the format: start with a ramble about some experience, activity or issue and then work towards ideas for us all to think about in relation to NDT. This month I have a whole number of monologues to choose from, on subjects ranging from the person who started loading the supermarket till conveyor belt before we had finished emptying our trolley to the dozy person who allowed his dog to jump up at me, not once but twice, when I was out running. If I had related these stories in long hand, I would have progressed through to the conclusions regarding the importance of thinking ahead to the consequences of our actions and, in the latter case, making the effort to learn from experience!

However, I have decided not to take such an approach this month. Instead, I propose to jump right in and discuss, for a third and, depending on the response, final time, the International Association of Quality Practitioners, otherwise recognised by the post-nominals IAQP. Back in October 2017, following presentations given both at the 7th European-American Workshop on Reliability of NDE and the 56th Annual British Conference of Non-Destructive Testing, I described the proposal, made in these presentations, to use the IAQP as a body with which to connect all personnel (operators, specialists, managers and academics) with a specific interest in quality assurance (QA) and NDT reliability. The proposed aims are to promote the professional status of the practice of quality assurance in NDT and condition monitoring (CM) and to promote the practice of quality assurance principles to deliver the benefits of improved reliability of the application of NDT and CM. These would be achieved through the dissemination of knowledge and best practice.

I concluded the October 2017 article with the following questions: What do you think? Is it a good idea? Or do you think it is a bad idea? The response was underwhelming. A further presentation, given at the ASNT Spring Research Symposium in 2018, elicited a similar lack of response. In the absence of any feedback, I am left to surmise the reason on my own: Is it such a bad idea that people do not deem it worthy of a response? Is it that people are too busy with their existing jobs and commitments to even consider another initiative? Is it that people do not see the benefit of QA and are not interested in improving the reliability of NDT and CM?

NDT and CM are QA activities; they ensure that manufactured components and operating plant are fit for purpose. NDT and CM can only be applied reliably if they are controlled by the application of QA. Applying QA to a QA activity may be considered an expense too far, but if the QA activity is not applied correctly then the result is the same as not applying it in the first place. The papers, referred to above, illustrated that QA and NDE reliability suffer from the same indifference and inconsistent application within the NDE industry. Yet the two disciplines are both focused on the same goal, specifically that the applied NDE achieves the necessary requirements expected from it.
To achieve this goal, it is necessary that QA is applied by both the client, who requires the NDT (manufacturer or plant operator), and the NDT vendor. The Quality Management Standard ISO 9001, against which most companies are certified, states the requirements incumbent on both the client and the NDT vendor. When purchasing the NDE service, the client will need to ensure the adequacy of and communicate requirements for: the NDE process to be provided; the personnel competence and qualifications; and the interactions between the client and the vendor. The NDE vendor will need to provide the NDE service under controlled conditions, ensuring the availability of documented information that defines the characteristics of the service to be provided and the results to be achieved. The NDT vendor will also need to provide the use of suitable infrastructure and environment, undertake the validation, and periodic revalidation, of the ability to achieve planned results (special process) and implement actions to prevent human error. The client and the NDE vendor will need to work in partnership to provide the appropriate environment for the NDE service.
Back in March 2009, I questioned the value of my subscription to the IAQP. At this time of year, some of you will have renewed your subscription. Would you like to see the organisation revitalised in the way suggested? Or are you satisfied with what you receive for your money? Please let me or the Editor know one way or the other. There is a common quotation that states: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” To avoid being accused of insanity, if the response to this article is as deafening as the previous articles and presentations then I will never mention the IAQP again!

Please note that the views expressed in this column are the author’s own personal ramblings for the purpose of encouraging discussion within NDT News. They do not represent the views of Wood or BINDT.

Letters can be mailed to The Editor, NDT News, Midsummer House, Riverside Way, Bedford Road, Northampton NN1 5NX. Fax: +44 (0)1604 438300; Email: or email Bernard McGrath direct at

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