8 Tools That Every Quality Engineer Should Bring to Site During Surveillance and Inspection

During your site visit and inspection, the client’s consultant who will be verifying the quality of the work that has been 8toolsforqualityengineertouseduringsiteinspectioncarried out by the construction team will likely accompany you during the inspection. You should bring with you the 8 tools that you should use during the inspection.

Remember you are now the first point of contact for the company you are working for as such you are the ambassador and should present yourself in a professional manner.

Before leaving your office, you should be preparing for the site visit. Those of you who do not prepare know who you are and should take actions to align yourselves with the company’s expectations and perform accordingly.
Briefly, fail to prepare; prepare to fail!

I want you to consider this scenario, you are on site and you have forgotten your retractable steel measuring tape.

Be honest how do you feel in front of the clients’ consultant? Do you look like an incompetent clown who does not know what he is doing? Has your confidence vanished into oblivion because you know your credibility as a quality engineer is now in question?

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Quality engineers everywhere get your act together you have a responsibility to the best job you possibly can for your company and for yourself.

Before I get into the essential tools you will require while on your site surveillance or inspection you will need to make sure your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is up to scratch and is maintained.

As you know before you even get to the site if your PPE is not complete. You will not gain access so do not run the risk of being turned away from the site for such a rooky error.

If your site visit should be to an oil and gas field, you will need your certification and clearances to work in the specified area. These are often given by the client and require a leeway of at least a few working days before issued. Do not fall foul of not having access permission.

If you are unsure, check with your supervisor.

Eight Tools you will need for your site surveillance and inspection visit.


1. Retractable tape measure


You will need a quality retractable measuring tape for checking the parameters of the works completed and to ensure the consultant or clients representative understands the work has been undertaken as per the specification of the job drawing.

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It may be the case that the consultant will not be fully equipped for his site visit, due to his lack of preparation but you are prepared and can offer you tape measure for his use while on site (be sure he returns your tape measure being a quality engineer is not a charitable profession).

I would recommend a retractable steel tape measure of 5 meters, this should cover most eventualities, however, if it is shorter do not worry the important thing is you have a tape measure.

In some respects, the consultant’s failure to prepare will elevate your position as a professional and will certainly boost your self-esteem.


2. Spirit level


You will always need a spirit level for checking the plumb of the verticals and the levels of the horizontals.
I would recommend using a one-meter level. It will give you an easy read bubble and will remove any possible doubt from the consultant’s mind.

Small spirit levels work fine but it is my personal preference to use the larger level. In fact, I would recommend you have both levels available, as part of your essentials so you can cover all aspects of checks should you be required.


3. Camera


It is always advisable to have a camera with you as part of your essential tools. You can photograph any areas that require remedial attention and use the camera to provide evidence should it be needed.

However, the importance of having a camera available cannot be understated. It is the quality engineer’s responsibility to produce reports, and the camera will allow you to record areas that do not comply with the original specification or what we called nonconformance report and site observation report.

This evidence when submitted to the contractor or construction team will enforce your instructions and the contractor/construction team will be able to clearly identify the areas in need of attention.

The old saying is true; a picture speaks a thousand words!

Be aware that the camera on your phone may not be acceptable in many applications due to the phone signal. Check with the site engineer before using a cell phone camera.

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4. Notebook and pen

It is understood you need to take notes while visiting the site to ensure you have a decent notebook and more than one pen or pencil so you can write down the consultant’s comments should he make any comments which he will certainly comment without a doubt.


5. Micro Caliper

Also known as Vernier or in precise engineering a very near! You may need to take more precise measurements while onsite and the only way to do this is with a micrometer. It is an essential part of your equipment and you should know how to use it.

Many have LCD displays so please check if it is functioning and replace the batteries if required.


6. Elcometer


You will need an Elcometer as part of your essential kit. You can guarantee the consultant will want the quality engineer to verify steel structure paint thicknesses while on site.

He will require this information to assured of anti-corrosion.
Make sure you are fully conversant with the handheld Elcometer.


7. Welding gauge


weldinggaugeIf your company or your company’s contractor has undertaken onsite welding then you will need a welding gauge as part of your essential site visit tools.

The consultant will check weld thickness as well as weld angles to evaluate weld penetration and structural soundness.

Be sure you know how to use this simple valuable tool.

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8. Markers

You will always need some type of marker when visiting the site. Nevertheless, what type of marker should you take with you is dependent on the Job. Always have a permanent marker as part of your essential equipment.

Be sure to have a marker that will write on tiled areas and for plaster inspections.

However, as part of your preparation, you may find you need a different marker such as a paint marker for spraying ground layouts.

It is your responsibility to understand what type of site visit you are attending and be sufficiently equipped.

Preparation is the key to a successful site visit. As a quality engineer be prepared and equipped with the essential tools for you to proceed with your job in a professional manner.

There is nothing worse than feeling embarrassed and looking like a donkey in front of the client. So get with the program, prepare, and be the professional quality engineer you have trained to be.

Do you bring with you the above tools during inspection? Share your thoughts below.


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