Should I Hire a Contractor or Keep it In-House? | Part 7: Other Inspection Frequencies
Eli Macha presented a technical paper at the 2021 RETA National Conference titled IIAR 6: Should I Hire a Contractor or Keep it In-House? This blog series includes excerpts from his technical paper.
While a facility implementing daily rounds and annual inspections and tests will be very near compliance with IIAR 6, there are several other frequencies which need to be addressed. Here are a few examples:
|Weekly||Pump||Listen for abnormal sound|
|Weekly||Condenser||Verify water supply is functional|
|Monthly||Compressor||[Observe the] Operation of unloader|
|Monthly||Evaporator||Verify evaporator is free from excessive ice buildup|
|Semi-annual||Evaporator||Visually inspect drain pan to ensure it is free of obstructions|
|Semi-annual||Pressure Vessel||Visually inspect for excessive vibration or movement when liquid is being supplied|
Whether or not these activities should be outsourced varies greatly from facility to facility. A quarter of facilities complete these types of inspections in-house, 43% only hire out these inspections, and the remaining 32% work together with their contractor to cover these inspections. While some contractors provide little documentation for their preventative maintenance (PM) work, other contractors may provide a monthly inspection checklist along with their scheduled PM. This type of documented inspection may cover a host of these intermediate frequency inspections.
While most daily inspection requirements revolve around the machinery room/area, a lot of these other inspection requirements are physically located elsewhere in the refrigeration system. To address this issue, one multi-facility cold storage company added some of these inspection items to their daily temperature log. While the operators enter a room to take readings of the room and pulp temperatures, they also perform a quick inspection of the ammonia piping, evaporators, and vessels. Finding the right blend of in-house vs contracted work may take time, but after some tweaking, a facility can find what works best for them.
One final note on frequencies other than daily and annual: there appears to be a lack of industry awareness regarding 5-year Mechanical Integrity Audits (MIAs). IIAR 6 requires, “Every fifth (5th) year, at a minimum, the annual inspections shall be conducted by a qualified inspector who shall not be influenced by the facility’s record keeping, operations, maintenance, or management. This person shall not present a conflict of interest and shall report instances of deficiencies.” Since IIAR avoided making this activity overly restrictive, there are various methods for adhering to this requirement:
- This requirement is met if facilities are already having annual inspections performed by a refrigeration contractor.
- Multi-facility companies may desire to conduct the 5-year inspections internally. To avoid undue influence, the company can have a qualified inspector from a different facility conduct the 5-year inspections.
- A facility may hire a refrigeration contractor or consultant to conduct a 5-year Mechanical Integrity Audit.
While there are two other methods for complying with the 5-year requirement of ANSI/IIAR 6-2019 §5.4.2, the 5-year Mechanical Integrity Audit seems to be the premiere option. The 5-year MIA differs from the other options in two important ways: the activity is typically performed by an engineer and the activity includes an audit of mechanical integrity records. The lack of awareness regarding this unique activity became apparent when 93% of respondents indicated 5-year MIAs are being conducted. Given that the mechanical integrity records of the facilities surveyed were available, the author determined that this figure was incorrect. See Appendix N for the comparison of those facilities who indicated the 5-year MIAs are being completed compared to the number of facilities who have actually completed the activity. Of the respondents who answered that 5-year MIAs are being completed, this was incorrect for 62% of them. Note: this is not to say that these facilities are out of compliance with ANSI/IIAR 6-2019 §5.4.2. While the Contractor Involvement Survey was not intended to gauge awareness of 5-year MIAs, it is a curious finding, and the industry should consider how to remedy this situation.
 Ibid., Pump Table 7.1 Inspection Item (c)
 Ibid., Condenser Table 8.1 Inspection Item (l)
 Ibid., Compressor Table 6.1 Inspection Item (x)
 Ibid., Evaporator Table 9.1 Inspection Item (g)
 Ibid., Evaporator Table 9.1 Inspection Item (p)
 Ibid., Pressure Vessel Table 10.1 Inspection Item (i)
 Ibid., §5.4.2
The previous blogs in this series are available in the following links: