Precast Concrete Needs Alternative Inspection Methods and Resources

Inspection is part of an effective supplier quality surveillance (SQS) program that successful projects use to ensure equipment and materials are delivered complete, correct, and on-time.

Occasionally, an oil & gas (O&G) project purchases precast concrete items such as bridge girders, tanks or vaults.

The owner or project may not, however, have a concrete specification. Even if one exists, it may only apply to the construction of cast-in-place concrete (e.g., for equipment or tank bases).

Also, inspection agencies accustomed to inspecting electrical and mechanical products typically do not have personnel available for concrete inspection at supplier facilities.

Inspection must therefore be accomplished using alternative methods and resources.

Related: The Key to Project Success.

Precast concrete products are produced per a quality management system (QMS) and product certifications. None-the-less, a project may deem that the criticality of precast concrete items warrant inspection.

Custom built items are suitable for higher quality surveillance (QS) levels and more quality verification points (QVPs). Off-the-shelf items are suitable for lower QS levels and fewer QVPs.

Inspection may be accomplished using the engineering and procurement (EP) company’s personnel such as a civil engineer or technologist. Or, an experienced mechanical inspector may be used, if they are provided with adequate support by the inspection coordinator and project.

Inspection of precast concrete with monitoring and witnessing of production and testing can be very time-consuming when compared to production of other products (e.g., the activities for inspection of structural steel take far less time).

Alberta Transportation’s Standard Specifications for Bridge Construction may be used as a guideline for inspection requirements. This specification is very comprehensive and detailed; some consider it to contain the highest authority and the most expansive standard available.


This article was originally published on LinkedIn 16-Mar-20

About the Author

Roy O. Christensen is the founder of the KT Project, a premier provider of guidelines and training resources for energy and other projects. The KT Project is based in Calgary, AB, Canada.



  1. Prestressed Bridge Girders,


  1. Alberta Transportation. Standard Specifications for Bridge Construction,