Five minutes with: Helena Seelinger, executive director of NACE International Institute, and Kamal Taher, business development manager at NIICAP
This month we get the industry lowdown from Helena Seelinger and Kamal Taher about Nace International Institute’s accrediation program.
What is the core business of NACE International Institute Contractor Accreditation Program (NIICAP)?
NIICAP is a premier, industry-driven and industry-managed accreditation program that validates a contractor’s quality assurance, support practices, and production processes. Industrial asset owners who spend millions of dollars on a service need to ensure that contractors are employing legitimate business practices. NIICAP accreditation means a contractor has the personnel, equipment, and processes to do a job well.
What does it take to get accredited?
A contractor applies through our website and NIICAP personnel conduct a background check. The contractor is sent part two of the application, reviewed by the technical NIICAP auditing team, which audits the contractor’s procedure manuals to verify that they match submitted answers. An on site audit is scheduled, where the auditor verifies contractor’s practices on site and files a detailed report. With the NIICAP chief auditor, they verify that all audit items have been checked, producing a final audit report to grade the contractor. If the contractor passes, they get their NIICAP accreditation.
How does NIICAP set itself apart from other accreditation programs?
NIICAP is a uniquely reliable accreditation program for owners; to sustain NIICAP accreditation contractors must undergo a yearly audit. Contractors who score a 4 out of 5 on their audits for three years in a row are recognized as a five star contractor, which also allows contractors to distinguish themselves.
NIICAP’s use of industry subject matter experts as auditors, in a process that ensures an absence of conflict of interest between auditors and contractors, is also unique. Managing audits in this manner ensures that NIICAP auditors have experience with the asset (industry) that is being audited.
What are NIICAP’s focus for the coming year in the region?
The Middle East is a vitally important and robust activity centre for asset owners and contractors – it also is a region where a lot of corrosion occurs when work is not completed properly. NIICAP is working with the largest asset owners to better understand contractors’ capabilities in the region, and how NIICAP can work with owners and contractors to increase communication and education on corrosion control using protective coatings.
What are the biggest challenges you’ll be facing this year?
As NIICAP grows globally, we plan to streamline our process through automation. We have partnered with a well-respected technology provider with the initial goal of receiving instant pass/fail notifications.
We also aim to increase the number of auditors serving regions outside of North America and the Middle East, and just signed a partnering agreement with an agency in China that is focused on quality processes, and is working with large oil/gas companies in India who soon will require NIICAP accreditation for their contractors.