FAQs – Code Requirements

Does AWS D1.1 require certification or qualification?

AWS D1.1 requires qualification. AWS D1.1:2010 (and other recent versions), clause 6.1.4.1 on Inspector Qualification Requirements – Basis for Qualification, states the following:

“Inspectors responsible for acceptance or rejection of material and workmanship shall be qualified. The bases of Inspector qualification shall be documented. If the Engineer elects to specify the bases of inspector qualification, it shall be so specified in contract documents.

The acceptable qualification basis shall be the following:

(1) Current or previous certification as an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) in conformance with the provisions of AWS QC1, Standard for AWS Certification of Welding Inspectors, or

(2) Current or previous qualification by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) in conformance with the requirements of the Canadian Standard Association (CSA) Standard W178.2, Certification of Welding Inspectors, or

(3) An individual who, by training or experience, or both, in metals fabrication, inspection and testing, is competent to perform inspection of the work.”

In addition, AWS D1.1 clause 6.1.4.5 states “The Engineer shall have authority to verify the qualification of Inspectors.”

The difficulty lies in documenting the competency of those inspectors who do not have a certification listed in (1) or (2). The SSTC’s Welding Inspector Qualification Examination – D1.1 provides a mean for the employer to document competency to an accepted national standard – AWS B5.1.

Does the International Building Code require certification or qualification?

The IBC states that “The special inspector shall be a qualified person who shall demonstrate competence, to the satisfaction of the building official, for inspection of the particular type of construction or operation requiring special inspection.”

In addition, for Approved Agencies to do inspections, the IBSC states that:

“An approved agency shall employ experienced personnel educated in conducting, supervising and evaluating tests and/or inspections.”

As in AWS D1.1 6.1.4.1)3), the difficulty lies in documenting the competency of those inspectors. The SSTC’s Welding Inspector Qualification Examination – D1.1 provides a mean for the employer to document competency to an accepted national standard – AWS B5.1.

Does AISC or AWS reference AWS B5.1 for welding inspection personnel qualification?

The AISC Specification for Structural Steel Buildings (AISC 360-10), the AISC Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings (AISC 341-10), and the AWS Structural Welding Code – Seismic Supplement (AWS D1.8:2009) reference qualification to AWS B5.1.

AISC 360-10, in section N4. INSPECTION AND NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING PERSONNEL, states:

“1. Quality Control Inspector Qualifications

Quality control (QC) welding inspection personnel shall be qualified to the satisfaction of the fabricator’s or erector’s QC program, as applicable, and in accordance with either of the following:

(a) Associate welding inspectors (AWI) or higher as defined in AWS B5.1, Standard for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors, or

(b) Qualified under the provisions of AWS D1.1/D1.1M subclause 6.1.4.

2. Quality Assurance Inspector Qualifications

Quality assurance (QA) welding inspectors shall be qualified to the satisfaction of the QA agency’s written practice, and in accordance with either of the following:

(a) Welding inspectors (WIs) or senior welding inspectors (SWIs), as defined in AWS B5.1, Standard for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors, except associate welding inspectors (AWIs) are permitted to be used under the direct supervision of WIs, who are on the premises and available when weld inspection is being conducted, or

(b) Qualified under the provisions of AWS D1.1/D1.1M, subclause 6.1.4.”

Significantly, AISC 341 and AWS D1.8 require Quality Assurance Inspectors (third party inspectors) of welding of the seismic force resisting system to be qualified to AWS B5.1 or certified under AWS QC1 or CSA W178.2. For Quality Control Inspectors, other alternatives as offered by AWS D1.1 are available.

AISC 341-10, in section J4. INSPECTION AND NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING PERSONNEL, states:

“In addition to the requirements of Specification Sections N4.1 and N4.2, visual welding inspection and nondestructive testing (NDT) shall be conducted by personnel qualified in accordance with AWS D1.8/D1.8M clause 7.2.”

AWS D1.8:2009 subclause 7.2.1 QA Welding Inspector Qualifications states:

“QA Welding Inspectors shall be qualified in accordance with one or more of the following:

(1) Welding Inspectors (WIs), or Senior Welding Inspectors (SWIs), as defined in AWS B5.1:2003, Standard for the Qualification of Welding Inspectors, except Associate Welding Inspectors (AWIs) may be used under the direct supervision of WIs, who are on site and available when weld inspection is being conducted, or” …

AWS D1.8:2009 also recognizes QA Welding Inspector qualification to AWS QC1 and CSA W178.2.

AWS D1.8:2009, subclause 7.2.3 Quality Control (QC) Welding Inspector Qualifications states:

“QC welding inspection personnel shall be Associate Welding Inspectors (AWI) or higher as defined in AWS B5.1:2003, or otherwise qualified under the provisions of AWS D1.1/D1.1M subclause 6.1.4, and to the satisfaction of the Contractor’s QC program.”