Helena Seelinger, Executive Director, NACE International Institute (NII), Kamal Taher, Global Director & Operations Head NACE International and Anna Roberts, Sr. Manager, NII Operations were recently in India to reach out to Paint industry leaders and appraise them about the NIICAP program which will be a great initiative to raise quality standards and reduce the efforts towards combating the impending problem of corrosion. PAINTINDIA took this opportunity to seek their views on this program and its benefits to the industry and here below is how it panned out.
Can you give an overview of the NIICAP program including its purpose?
The NACE International Institute Contractor Accreditation Program (NIICAP) is an industry-driven and industry-managed audit program which accredits coating contractors who meet the defined criteria and prove their capabilities to meet an asset owner's requirements. Our robust audit criteria validates not only demonstrated skills and competencies, such as surface preparation and coating application, but also the administrative resources, equipment and capabilities to meet, or exceed, an asset owner's expectation for quality work to be performed on their asset.
How does this program in general benefit the user industry at large?
NIICAP's stakeholders are the asset owner and the contractor but more importantly, the industry as a whole. The benefits of NIICAP to the industry are an overall “rising tide” of quality which permeates throughout. Contractors demonstrate their ability to consistently perform quality work according to our stringent audit criteria. This level of quality reduces the amount of rework needed, extends the lifespan of an asset, and in turn, saves money. These cost savings can be reallocated to other projects and other benefits realized elsewhere.
What are the benefits for the Paint companies and how do you intend reaching the benefits to them?
There are several benefits, both direct and indirect, for the paint companies when contractors are NIICAP accredited. Accredited contractors who consistently perform quality work will have less discrepancies and rework. Oftentimes, there is a dispute between contractors and paint manufacturers on where the fault lies. Was the application poor or did the product itself fail? NIICAP eliminates that dispute. As a part of the audit process, contractors must demonstrate their knowledge and skill to prepare the surface as well as apply the protective coating. Contractors must also understand and demonstrate appropriate temperatures and other ambient conditions, mix and stand times as well as appropriate storage of material. This level of quality performance by the contractor reduces any variable conditions which may adversely impact the performance of the product and the asset. A paint company can rest assured that when NIICAP is specified by an asset owner, that contractor will perform a quality job using their product.
What are the benefits accruing to the contractors?
One of the greatest benefits to the contractor is to join an elite group who are recognized for their quality work and sound business practices. They are able to differentiate themselves from their competitors and market themselves accordingly. When NIICAP is written into the asset owner's specifications, NIICAP accredited contractors are able to bid and be awarded jobs which increases their revenue earning potential. Additionally, their demonstrated ability to consistently provide a quality finished product with less rework has a positive impact on their profit margin.
What is your agenda in India and how do you intend to take this forward?
NACE has had a long-standing, positive relationship with asset owners, contractors, regulatory and government officials and other industry professionals globally. NIICAP wants to not only continue but build upon that relationship by bringing our quality accreditation program to India. We have been asked by asset owners in the region to bring the NIICAP program to their contractors as they understand the advantages to specifying and using a NIICAP accredited contractor. Indian Oil Corporation, the largest commercial oil company in the country, is requiring that all of their coatings contractors become NIICAP accredited and we are excited to begin meeting with each of their contractors during a special event hosted by Indian Oil.
What is NIICAP audit and what are the elements one should watch out for?
The NIICAP program has four main designations each with their own robust written standard and rigorous audit checklist. They are:
AS-1 Accreditation for all Shop and/or Field Coating Contractors (flagship accreditation) AS-2 Accreditation for Hazardous Waste Removal and Management AS-3 Accreditation for In-house Applicator Trade Skills Training AS-3 ITO Accreditation of Applicator Training Programs of Independent Training Organizations
Each audit is divided into two parts. Part one is the “administrative” or pre-audit which reviews and validates items such as the contractor's quality and safety manuals, work documentation, business practices, training, and company organizational structure. Part two is the “onsite” audit where we observe and validate the actual work being performed. One of NIICAP's greatest attributes is our transparency throughout the audit process. Our qualified auditors are experienced, subject matter experts who provide feedback to the contractor throughout the audit process. NIICAP's goal is not to just place “Xs” on a paper or exclude contractors but work with them to help make them better which in turn lifts all of the industry just as a “rising tide lifts all boats”.
Any other closing comments?
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today and learn more about the NIICAP program and its benefits. We are excited to be in India meeting with local officials, asset owners and their contractors to bring awareness and highlight the benefits of the NIICAP program and begin the application process. We are working in partnership with our local licensee, Nirvaan Foundation of Skill Development (NFSD), as well as our local NACE office which supports all NACE programs at the regional level. We would also like to thank Indian Oil Corporation for their support of NIICAP and for hosting a special event for their contractors to speak with us and begin the application process immediately.