In the world of condition assessment of pipelines, standards are paramount to ensuring inspections are completed with a high level of confidence and in a consistent manner. In North America the foremost standard for condition assessment of pipelines is NASSCO’s Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP).
PACP was first brought to North America in 2001 by NASSCO in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Water Research Centre (WRc) and became a Canadian standard in 2006. While some consider PACP to be a U.S.-centric standard, PACP is also the Canadian standard, including Quebec (via a partnership with CERIU).
The recognition of PACP as a Canadian standard is important to note, according to Tanya Stephens, of TDS Consulting, a NASSCO-certified trainer of PACP, the Manhole Assessment Certification Program (MACP) and Lateral Assessment Certification Program (LACP).
“NASSCO recently ended its agreement with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and some have asked if we [Canada] are adopting an American version of the standard,” Stephens says. “They can be assured that NASSCO PACP was, and will remain, the standard in Canada.”
Some of those concerns about the standard, she says, have to do with PACP being written in Imperial rather than Metric format. Stephens says a Canadian-centric version of the PACP standard is in process to address this, and will also include information on QA/QC processes, camera calibration and data transfer.
Stephens has long been a champion for standardization of inspection data, since her days in the municipal world. She was first certified in WRc in 2000 and was certified and began training PACP in 2011. “Training is important to uphold the standard because, even today, there are unfortunately some inspections that are submitted that are not to a high standard,” she says.
As it is often said, a person never stops learning and, in each certification class, or in recertification classes (PACP professionals must re-certify every three years), Stephens says students always walk away with new information, or, in the case of recertification, a refresher on something they forgot since their last certification.
PACP certification classes are typically structured in two, seven-hour days with an optional third, seven-hour day for those who wish to receive their MACP and LACP certifications. Though there is no prerequisite knowledge required to take PACP classes, PACP certification is required for those wishing to also become MACP- and LACP-certified.
NASSCO’s certification programs have evolved significantly over the years. In order to maintain the quality and integrity of the program, the PACP recertification program was developed and released in June 2011. MACP and LACP recertification requirement began in January 2017. All certification expiration dates follow the PACP expiration date, which is valid three years from the date of issuance.
Upon successful completion of the certification course, students are given a reflective PACP Pro sticker to display on hardhats, identifying individuals as successfully completing the course. All class hours are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs) through the University of Texas at Arlington.
In all there are five PACP-certified trainers who teach PACP throughout Canada. In addition to Stephens, there is Jason Roy and Garrett Harvey in British Columbia; Christopher Mitchell — who is also Canada’s PACP Master Trainer and responsible for overseeing all Canadian PACP trainers — in Manitoba; and Rowan Garnett in New Brunswick. Additionally, for French-speaking Canadians, Nicolas Faucher, Sandra Gelly and Benoit Grondin are PACP-certified instructors in Quebec.
Stephens’ PACP classes, held monthly in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada on demand, are attended primarily by contractors, followed by municipal employees and engineering consultants.
“It is important that anyone who will make recommendations based on CCTV data attend a class,” she says. “If you gather the data or interpret the data and review the report, PACP certification is needed to understand the codes and keep consistency and integrity in the data collected and reviewed.”
Information on PACP courses scheduled throughout Canada and the U.S., as well as search options to find PACP-certified individuals and other industry resources, can be found at nassco.org.