The low-down on pressure vessel inspections

Recently I received some calls from customers with a complaint I had never heard before. Their oilfield boilers had come back from our shop after annual maintenance. “Where,” they asked, “is the inspection certificate?”

In Alberta, all boilers are required to hold a Certificate of Inspection Permit. Every province has something similar.

These customers asked a great question. Although the inspection takes place in our shop while the boiler is undergoing annual maintenance, we never see the certificate.

This is how the process works:

After spring breakup, the boiler arrives in our shop for cleaning and maintenance. We disassemble it and clean it out, down to the clean, bare metal. The gaskets, the plugs, and some of the pipes are removed.

We call ABSA , the authority for pressure equipment safety in Alberta, and schedule an inspection visit for the boiler’s pressure vessel. The inspector comes to our shop, examines the vessel’s interior, checks the thickness of the pipes, and leaves.

Then we put the boiler back together, close it up, and fill it. The inspector comes back and observes as we demonstrate the boiler performing at 1.5 times its working pressure for 15 minutes.

And that’s it for the ABSA inspection, from our viewpoint. (There’s still more work on our side, but that’s for another day.)

Next, ABSA sends the certificate and the invoice to the owner. If you are looking for the certificate for your boiler, you might check with your company’s head office.

Whenever a company has staff turnover–people moving into new roles and old knowledge leaving—there will be information gaps.

I know what that’s like.

If you find yourself in that situation, ask your vendors to help you get up to speed. A good vendor will be glad to help out.