CASE STUDY #12 - What is a “Responsible Welding Coordinator”
We do specialise with this type of training and Mark Cozens has been involved in training Welding Coordinators for over 35 years.
It is noted in the recent edition of the welding coordinator standard – EN ISO 14731 that “responsible” has been dropped from the title of welding coordinator which of course, does not exclude the person or the company for being accountable in ensuring product compliance.
Terms and definitions of welding coordinators and welding coordination
The term welding coordinator is a collective term that was devised by the IIW/EWF as a generic term for Practitioner, Specialist, Technologist and Engineer. In some countries you cannot be called a welding engineer unless you are a specific rank (Chartered or Incorporated in the UK). But welding coordination is actually welding engineering (with or without a qualified engineer depending on the views of many).
What is welding engineering?
The IIW syllabus shows a welding coordinator who has knowledge and competence in various facets including but not limited to welding process control, material types, evaluation and control, design and construction and Quality related aspects of QA/QC inspection and testing type activities as well as a good understanding of applicable codes and standards
The IIW syllabus captures this well but it is also noted that the recommendation to IIW and EWF training has also been dropped as such training does not provide competence which is Weld-Class Solutions’ principal objective.
As a way of assisting in assessing the options, Weld-Class-Solutions Ltd offer the following opinions.
EN1090 and the UKCA
The original title of “Responsible Welding Coordinator” (RWC) is just that and whilst there is a name change, the legislation regarding Construction Products Regulations (CPR), EN 1090 and the CE Marking of steel is still a complex one - especially now because of Brexit and the UK only replacement of UKCA (United Kingdom Conformity Assessment).
For further information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-ukca- marking&ved=2ahUKEwjI3ceUwMHuAhXJQEEAHWvHCHQQFjAAegQIKRAB&usg=AOvVaw28xZguFWc R_wGX3YkVQuNb
The main reason for this is there are many different interpretations of the technical needs with regard to both training and competence of the appointed welding coordinator (WC). However, whilst demonstrating competence is essential in order that the WC may fulfil appropriate responsibilities and duties, how is competence measured in both an efficient and effective manner?
It is complex situation as we move nearer to the imminent implementation of the UKCA of product compliance as well as for those who wish to export to the EU the “old system”, but as no one really knows the true implications or what is required specifically, there is still a great deal of misinformation regarding the training needs of the welding coordinator and in assessing competence, especially when it comes to the practical and technical needs and the actual role and responsibilities and in how they are assessed as being “competent”
Training does not mean competence
Whilst formal training is essential for such a role, it is difficult to understand the required scope of welding coordination as it covers many topics and sub topics of welding technology as a whole. Being able to measure the knowledge and performance of individuals from a competence requires specialist technical knowledge and tacit knowledge with the latter being far more difficult to find, especially when there are vast divisions between the current training provision on offer in the UK.
On one hand, there is the International Institute of Welding’s Educational Training Diplomas (Which many perceive are competence driven but they are actually only knowledge-based educational Diplomas).
For many Fabricators in normal structural steel work the IIW training is difficult to justify in relation to technical need as well as time and costs. However, some industry sectors such as the Oil and Gas industry may see mandatory requirements for IIW Diplomas which is somewhat in conflict with the above limitations of such Diplomas. Furthermore, some “Execution Classes” in EN1090 may also lean on IIW qualifications as they can be specified within the requirements of such codes and standards for more demanding applications that perhaps involve fatigue or brittle fracture risks.
The IIW scheme has been around for many years and was adopted from the European Welding Federation Scheme and is operated by various national Welding Bodies across the EU and beyond and whilst Weld-Class-Solutions Ltd) is an independent Authorised Training Body for the International Welding Specialist level IIW Diploma, other training focused on competence outcomes may prove more attractive.
Whilst the IIW syllabus provides a very broad welding engineering approach to the subject at large, it is not any single industry sector specific. This means that may companies who perhaps operate only a single arc welding process such as MAG welding or MMA welding are required to send their potential RWC on a course which is between 6 and 14 weeks in duration and which includes exams for a Diploma on subject matter that is not relevant to the needs of a structural steel business.
Advanced welding technology
The IIW syllabus includes many different welding processes including the full range of arc welding processes such as MMA, TIG, SAW, TCAW, FCAW along with a week module on “other processes” such as friction, laser, EB and plastics welding etc.
Equally frustrating are the material types which are included such as steels, stainless steels, aluminium and nickel alloys with “steels making up perhaps only 40% of the module(s) therefore a great deal of time is spent on material types such as aluminium, stainless steels, nickel alloys and cast irons which have little consequence to a SME working with common, weldable constructional type steels.
Whilst the IIW modules cover a broad range of welding related topics, most would argue that a high percentage of the topics are not relevant to most steel (and aluminium) Fabricators, who are perhaps only welding structural steel up to “S355” type grades using perhaps only a single process such as the MAG welding or MMA welding process.
IIW syllabus of 250-500 hours of training versus the current provision
In contrast to this, other organisations are providing a two day course for welding coordination, which in my nearly 40 years in the welding industry, is nowhere near adequate to meet the day to day needs of a competent person, unless candidates already have significant existing welding education and more importantly, tacit knowledge gained from experiential (on the job) experience as welding supervisors or welding engineers, which of course, for small and medium enterprises (SME’s) is rarely the case.
Any 2-day course is too short as it relies on existing competence in welding and conversely, the IIW provision is too long and costly as it is not specifically relevant. Therefore, our view is something in between both extremes would seem to be the need. In view experienced welding inspectors attend a 4 - 5-day course plus a 1-day exam to be a qualified welding inspector (which is also a requirement of EN1090 under “surveillance inspection”) it would seem sensible that a welding coordinator covers a longer and more detailed training and assessment provision.
We understand there is a great deal to consider especially in identifying a suitable person for the role, but if you would like to review this and get back to us, we will be pleased to send you further details or discuss your specific requirements.
Do you wish to see what Weld-Class-Solutions can do for your business?
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