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Wilkinson Coutts & Matthews Integrity Training

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WILKINSON COUTTS / MATTHEWS INTEGRITY HUB: an up-to-the-minute information mix designed to help you with your lifework and career development in the asset integrity, inspection and NDE industries.

Matthew Petroleum Notes


HERE’S THE ANSWERS to the questions about the role of the ‘Integrity assessor’. role and other inspection roles. See how you did.

Q1. Integrity FFP evaluation

Fitness-for-purpose (FFP) assessments are carried out on pressure equipment or structural components that are corroded or damaged in some way. Looking at it from a code-related rather than practical viewpoint, what exactly is an integrity assessor trying to do during an FFP assessment?

a) To prove the item still meets its original design code
b) To achieve a concession to the original design code
c) To link in with RBI in some way
d) To do an out-of-code assessment

Ans d - An FFP (e.g. API 579) assessment is done primarily when a component is found to be non-compliant with its original design code i.e. it is out of code. If it still complied with its original design code (e.g. tmin) requirements using, for example, actual material strengths rather than code-specified minimums, there would be no need to do an API 579 FFP assessment

Q2. The Integrity evaluation job

Which of these practical obstacles would you say provides an Integrity Assessor with the biggest problem when trying to assess the integrity of a seriously corroded item of pressure equipment?

a) It is difficult to decide which design or FFP formulae to use
b) NDT readings may not be accurate enough to allow valid FFP calculations
c) FFP methods are very academic and need complicated computer software
d) FFP methods ignore the possible consequences of the item failing

Ans (b). The accuracy of FFP assessments is heavily dependent on the quality of the data input used. NDT results such as thickness readings can be very inaccurate and NDT technicians generally do not know how the data they collect will be analyzed e.g thickness reading spacings and thickness readings in areas of difficult component geometry.

Option (a): It is difficult to decide which design or FFP formulae to use. This is generally not the case. The FFP methods and equations are well defined in published codes and documents. 

Option (c): FFP methods are very academic and need complicated computer software. This is not always true either. Simple wall-thinning and pitting assessments make up the majority of FFP evaluations and they are quite straightforward; you can do many of them using Excel spreadsheets, Mathcad, or some similar tool. Computer analysis is only essential for more advanced stress analysis and crack assessment.

Option (d): FFP methods ignore the consequences of the item failing. As a statement this is true; FFP assessment is about the probability of failure rather than the consequences. That’s not what the question asks however, it asks about ‘what provides an Integrity Assessor with the biggest problem?’ Consequence assessment is not a problem; it just has to be done separately to the mechanics of an FFP study.

Q3. Responsibilities of the Integrity Assessor

By its nature, Integrity Assessment is carried out on plant that is highly dangerous, with the possibility of causing multiple fatalities if it fails. You are often doing these assessments on plant that is damaged or degraded in some way so it can be a risky business. If you are employed to do the assessments and you get it wrong then who will step up to support your technical judgement?

a) Probably no-one
b) Your employer
c) The technical committees that wrote the code document you followed
d) Your insurers (if have liability insurance)

Ans (a). Hopefully you got this question right first time. If you make a mistake in your FFP assessment and there’s a big plant failure, you’ll be amazed how many specialists will pop up out of the woodwork explaining how they wouldn’t have done the assessment in the same way that you did.

Q4. The Integrity engineer job

Not all integrity engineers get involved in actually doing FFP evaluations of heavily corroded items; much of the job is more routine. Which of these hands-on activities will you probably not be involved in doing?

a) Visual inspections
b) Code calculations
c) Assessing material certificates
d) NDT

Ans (d). NDT is done by certificated NDT technicians; most probably sub-contractors. You don’t need to be one to be an Integrity Engineer. You do need to understand the limitations of NDT techniques though, and be able to assess the results (the hard part).

 As an Integrity Engineer you will be expected to do visual inspections, work out or check code calculations, and be able to assess material certificates. These are important elements of the job.

Technical Interview Questions

If you are interested in the technical scope of what an ‘Integrity Assessor does TEST YOURSELF with some Interview questions for Integrity Assessor roles

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