Third Party Inspection Rules and Regulations

In this article we will explain the definition of third party inspection (TPI), the importance of independence, and provide brief information on the other types of inspection organizations.

What are the third party inspection organizations and what services can they provide?

According to the quality standards provided in the ISO 17020, there are three types of inspection bodies. The third party inspection is the first and it is solely responsible for inspections services. Unlike the other accreditation types, TPIs cannot participate in other activities such as installation, supply, procurement, fabrication, and design.

This quality standard makes it necessary for all parties to possess access to the third party inspection agencies and their services. This demand is what makes the existence of the third party inspection agencies so important on the buying and selling contracts and orders.

This means that a third party inspection institute delivers their services to buyers, custom authorities, engineering companies, and sellers, along with every other company that has to follow safety or quality rules and policies.

Things like independence, impartiality, integrity, and confidentiality have a significant role in the operation of a third party inspection organization.

It is important for the TPI organization to administer their procedures in a manner which is nondiscriminatory.

On account of these conditions, when a contract is ordered by a seller or buyer, their commodity shall be inspected on an independent basis.

If a dispute arises among the buyer and seller, then neither party should expect the TPI organization to make a judgment based on their individual interests.

Sometimes, purchasers and vendors have made the case that their status as the customer should compel the contracted inspector to provide services with their interests in mind.

But, due to the TPI standard that requires autonomy or independence, this notion is false. If adopted, this approach would clearly harm the integrity of the TPI organization. Consequently, no company would trust the inspection services given.

The second types of the inspection bodies are not independent companies. They are small departments in the big companies. The company’s main activities are: procurement, design and construction. The inspection departments within these companies only provide services to their own companies. When a company purchases an equipment or material, then this inspection department will do required inspection activities regarding this purchase. For instance, an inspection department of an oil refinery or a quality control department of an engineering company is categorized on this group.

The third type of an inspection body is similar to the second type. This inspection body also is a part of a big company. In addition it provides the inspection services to other similar companies as well.

But actually it is not applicable. Most of inspection organizations are in first group. Actually the second and third types are not inspection organization; they are quality control organizations.

The most common question asked about third party inspection is: Why is it considered third party and who are the first and second parties involved?

Well, the seller, vendor, or manufacturer is considered the first party. The end user, buyer, or engineering company is referred to as the second party.

The third party will provide their inspection services independent of either party.

This means that the first and second parties will also perform inspections, but the third party is called in to eliminate a conflict of interest.

It should be noted that any person employed by a seller, vendor, or engineering company cannot officially be considered an inspector. They are only quality control personnel.

The official title of inspector exclusively belongs to those who work for an accredited third party inspection organization, or owner inspectors that are hired by the owner directly.

Bob Rassoli is working in third party Inspection field for many years. For more information visit his Twitter page.