Certex UK is now accredited to ISO / IEC 17020:2012, which specifies requirements for the competence of bodies performing inspections. The accreditation covers the inspection department of its UK renewables division.

Awarded following an audit by UKAS, it covers the requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection and for the impartiality and consistency of their inspection activities. Certex UK is believed to conduct the inspections on around 30% of operating offshore wind turbines in the UK and is currently working on numerous pre-assembly projects in Denmark, Taiwan, and Holland.

As widely reported, the company recently won a landmark, three-year contract for inspection and maintenance of over 150 turbine generators across two wind farms. Certex was awarded the contract by Equinor, operator of the Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast. The company will provide permanent site rotations, 365-days-a-year.

Ian Shaw, divisional manager, engineering services, at Certex UK, said: “Initially, we started the accreditation process due to contract-specific requirements, but once we fully understood the standard, we appreciated the level of competency and impartiality required to achieve it and the confidence it therefore gives our clients, knowing our service is further supported by such robust systems of work. We already had a good management system in place, but a significant amount of work was required to dovetail [ISO / IEC 17020:2012] into it and to cover the stringent impartiality and competency requirements.”

Setting the standard

Conformity to 17020:2012 is the latest in a series of accreditations that support Certex UK’s inspection and other services. Remember, Certex UK is part of the Lifting Solutions Group, one of six divisions within the Axel Johnson International business. It provides products and services to various stakeholders within the wind energy sector, including companies that manage either the installation of new wind farms, or the service and maintenance of existing sites. Lifting Solutions has 22 companies with over 100 locations worldwide, with the renewable energy sector largely being served to date from the UK and Denmark. However, a newly launched global renewables division incorporates additional companies in Germany, Spain, France, China, and the United States, which has recently pivoted towards wind energy.

Other ISO certificates include 9001, a certified quality management system; 14001, which sets out the criteria for an environmental management system; and 45001, which sets out the minimum requirements for occupational health and safety management best practice. It also boasts Achilles FPAL, for suppliers to the oil and gas industry; and holds a DNV GL type approval certificate, acknowledging that its equipment meets the rigorous standards of the global quality assurance and risk management company for their use offshore.

Certex UK is a full operator of the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and full member of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA). Meanwhile, it continues to progress towards training accreditation from the Global Wind Organisation (GWO), a non-profit body founded by leading wind turbine manufacturers and operators.

Shaw added: “Inspection bodies can work perfectly well without 17020:2012, but every business would see improvements to their management system if they worked to this standard, and it offers confidence to our clients internationally that we are working to such a high level. Additionally, it is starting to become a must-have with some of our clients and we believe it will become even more recognised as a requirement, especially as the wind industry matures. We believe it will make us more attractive and will give us another edge to win contracts.”