coating inspector

Why you need a coating inspector

“Do it once, do it right”ought to be the mantra of the coatings industry. The importance of applying the right coating, in the right conditions, to a substrate that has been properly prepared, cannot be understated; a coatings failure is expensive and hazardous to fix. On the other hand, a high quality coating application will extend the life of your asset, prevent corrosion, prevent structural damage, keep machinery working as it was intended and basically do all the things laid out in the coating specification. For this, you need a coating inspector.

A coating inspector is an objective third party who is there at every point to check that all the contractors and applications comply to specifications, that all boxes are being ticked, that no corners are cut, and that nothing is less than the best quality.


What is a certified coating inspector?

A coating inspector (or paint inspector) is someone who has the formal training and certification to inspect coatings. Their knowledge is not just related to the qualities of the coating, but also the best environment and application for each coating in each setting. They provide quality assurance and oversee the qualification of a coating as part of the coating inspection process. A coating inspector:

  • takes surface readings
  • calibrates and uses dry film thickness (DFT) gauges
  • uses wet film thickness gauges
  • issues quality records
  • is familiar with the standards applied to each coating
  • is familiar with all the contributing factors when applying a coat: humidity, temperature, pressure, cleanliness etc

…Just to name a few. They are a vital part of the coating process because they judge conditions before, during and after a coating is applied, as well as suggesting which coating best suits all the variables. Which is why it is so important that their skills and knowledge is certified by a trusted body.

Coating inspector certification: NACE and SSPC

NACE coating inspector training awards 3 levels of certification

NACE coating inspector training awards 3 levels of certification

The NACE International Institute is the leading body for coating inspector qualification and training, running an internationally recognized and accepted certification program. In America, NACE and SSPC (the Society for Protective Coatings) are the two main certifying bodies, and most companies will require their inspectors to at least have NACE certification.

The NACE program is called the Coatings Inspector Program (CIP), and there are three levels of qualification, with 3 being the highest:

  • CIP Level 1 – This certification is designed for Coating Inspectors responsible for performing and documenting basic and non-destructive inspections of liquid coatings applied by brush, roller or spray to steel surfaces.
  • CIP Level 2 – This certification is designed for Level 2 Coating Inspectors responsible for performing and documenting non-destructive inspections of liquid and non-liquid coatings to any substrate in a shop setting or under the supervision of a level 3 inspector when working in a field setting.
  • CIP Level 3 Peer Review – This certification is designed for level 3 coating inspectors (which requires completion of certain requirements, an exam, and approved application) who aim to be recognized as leaders in the Coatings Inspection field.

SSPC qualifications include the Protective Coatings Inspector Program (PCI), which like the NACE certification comprises 3 levels. The PCI level 2 is equivalent to the CIP level 2.


Where to find a certified coating inspector

There are coating inspection firms with trained professionals operating across America. If you are looking to hire a coating inspector for your project, head over to our coating inspection page for more information about the process of an inspection and coating inspection companies in the US. Or you can contact us through the “request a quote” button!

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