Engineering quality at Fermilab

Engineering drawings were reviewed as part of the assessment. Image: PPD Mechanical Department

The Office of Quality and Best Practices is pleased to report that Fermilab’s site-wide design and engineering assessment is now complete.

Between June and September 2012, OQBP, along with Division/Section/Center (D/S/C) quality assurance representatives, completed a series of design and engineering assessments, two of which were a combined effort with quality assurance staff from the DOE Chicago office. The assessments evaluated the implementation and effectiveness of quality assurance controls for design and engineering in several divisions and sections. Representatives conducted the assessments by interview, review of documentation and observation of project activity. In the course of the assessments, they interviewed 25 people and reviewed 37 projects.

The results show that three of the five D/S/Cs assessed met and effectively implemented the design and engineering requirements specified in the Integrated Quality Assurance document and the Fermilab Engineering Manual. The two remaining D/S/Cs partially met and/or partially implemented these requirements. There were no lab-wide findings and only two local findings were made:

  1. The requirements of the Fermilab Engineering Manual are not fully implemented in two of the organizations assessed. Risk assessments need to be completed correctly for all projects as it determines the appropriate level of formality as a project moves forward.
  2. Three projects assessed within one of the divisions did not have the required documentation for requirements or design reviews.

These are respectable results given the amount of engineering activity at Fermilab. Fermilab’s design and engineering requirements can be found in Chapter 6 of the Integrated Quality Assurance document and the Fermilab Engineering Manual. Local D/S/C engineering procedures may also be available. Contact your quality assurance representatives to obtain a copy of these documents.

OQBP invites comments and suggested improvements to the Fermilab Engineering Manual, which will be shared with responsible engineering authorities.

Mike Pakan