The Approval of a particular revision of a Technical Document implies that the Approver takes responsibility for the content of the revision of the document. This responsibility is often shrugged off by the use of alternative terms such as "No Comment". The effect however remains the same: and the arguments about liability remain the same.

The most common method of approval in the Oil & Gas and Process industries is the "A B C" status, where:

  • "A" is the highest level of Approval - meaning that the Reviewer can find no problems.
  • "B" is the a mid level of Approval - meaning "Fit for construction or manufacture subject the notes supplied"
  • "C" is the lowest level of Approval - meaning "Not fit for construction or manufacture" 

It is necessary therefore that a Technical Document receives "Status A" viz becomes classified as being fit for its purpose before it is formally issued for constructioin or manufacture.

It is also quite common to alter the revision of a Technical Document to indicate is fitness for use. The following "Stages" - the "P T C" system - are in common use:

  • Preliminary - Revisions called P1, P2 etc
  • Tender - Revisions called T1, T2 etc
  • Construction - Revisions called C1, C2 etc

It is also common practice that the notes of the revisions made are removed when the Stage is altered.

If a dispute arises, the need to review the actions of every party involved in getting the document "fit for use" becomes paramount in determining liability. The phrase "Records Records Records" was coined by a lawyer, and once a dispute arises, it comes into its own.

Managing the approval of documents is a complex business. The "Supplier Document Requirement Scheduling" or SDRS process was developed in the 1980's to assist in this. It is similar in nature to the "Vendor Document Requirement Listing" or VDRL.

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