Risk Based Inspection (RBI) Implementation and Planning

As technical experts of API 580, 581, 584 and other Risk Based Inspection (RBI) Recommended Practices, AOC has earned the trust of owner operators by delivering sustainable value through learning management. Our clients' direct personnel and contractors undergo just-in-time training modules and performance measurement to master each step of best-practice RBI technologies. Their success is evident in PSM compliance, incident reductions, and asset reliability and productivity improvement.
Risk Based Inspection (RBI) process diagram


Since our inception, Asset Optimization Consultants has been in the business of providing Risk Based Inspection services to our clients. We offer a wide array of RBI services ranging from periodically answering simple Mechanical Integrity questions to all aspects of a full RBI implementation. We are set up to work both directly with our clients as well as being able to offer virtual support.

AOC also provides a complete suite of auxiliary and supporting services including corrosion analysis and damage mechanism review, inspection effectiveness evaluation, piping circuitization, project management, training in software and RBI methodology, and much more.

What is Risk Based Inspection (RBI)?

According to API Recommended Practice 580, Risk Based Inspection (RBI) is defined as

"a risk assessment and management process that is focused on loss of containment of pressurized equipment in processing facilities, due to material deterioration. These risks are managed primarily through equipment inspection."

Implementing a Risk Based Inspection program can provide benefits including reduced risk, optimized inspection planning, and cost savings. The output of an RBI assessment is an inspection plan that identifies the inspection methods, extents, and intervals necessary to mitigate the identified risks.

At its most basic level, RBI involves looking at the likelihood of a piece of equipment failing vs. the consequences of the failure of the equipment and ultimately assigning a value representing the risk associated with that piece of equipment.

When all the identified equipment has been assigned a risk value, inspections can be prioritized to ensure that they reduce the risk of failure. By identifying and prioritizing equipment by risk, limited inspection and maintenance budgets can be optimized to focus inspection resources and maintenance dollars on the highest risk equipment.

Once inspection and maintenance activities have been completed, risk should be recalculated taking into consideration inspection effectiveness and risk mitigation steps. The inspection plan should also be reviewed to make the best use of limited inspection and maintenance resources.

A typical Risk Based Inspection implementation includes:

  • Data Collection:
    • Design and Construction Data
    • Process and Operating Data
    • Inspection and Maintenance History
  • Damage Mechanisms Review - Identify damage mechanisms, rates, locations, failure modes
  • Risk Assessment:
    • Assess Consequence of Failure (CoF) - Estimate impacts of loss of containment for:
      • Safety and Health
      • Environmental
      • Economic
    • Assess Probability of Failure (PoF) - Determine how likely a loss of containment could occur based on:
      • Damage Mechanisms and Rates
      • Effectiveness of Inspection Program
  • Risk Ranking:
    • Calculate risk for each specific consequence
    • Sensitivity Analysis - Are the risks valid?
    • Risk Presentation - Communicate the risks
    • Establish Acceptable Risk - What risks need to be mitigated?
  • Inspection Planning - Develop an inspection plan that includes:
    • Risk drivers - What is the risk level and what is causing the risk?
    • Inspection methods, extent, intervals - How, when and where should be inspect to mitigate the risks?
    • Other risk mitigation activities - What, besides inspection, can be done to mitigate the risks?
    • Residual level of risk - How much risk will be left after we execute the plan?
  • Mitigation:
    • Execute risk-based inspection plans
    • Establish Integrity Operating Window (IOWs)
    • Equipment replacement, repair, modification, redesign, rerating
    • Modify processes
    • Etc.
  • Reassessment - Update risk and inspection plans based upon inspection/mitigation results

Whether you're using qualitative, semi-quantitative, or quantitative RBI, the Risk Based Inspection methodology has proven to deliver high value to the petrochemical industry and other industries in which Asset Performance Management is of value.

What is the Value of RBI?

Here are some of the typical challenges that the US Petrochemical Industry faces today:

  • Equipment failures cost the U.S. refining industry over $4 billion per year
  • Two-thirds of those costs are associated with failures of fixed equipment
  • The average refinery has a risk of $25 million per year due to failures of fixed equipment
  • Two-thirds of those costs are associated with piping failures
  • RBI implementation results in a 77 percent measurable reduction of high potential incidents at major chemical sites over the following two years

The major benefits that are evident to our clients include:

  • PSM compliance
  • Reduction of safety, health, and environmental incidents
  • Improvement of asset reliability and productivity

Why Choose AOC as Your Risk Based Inspection Consultant

Our RBI consultants have implemented hundreds of risk-based projects. We are well versed in RBI methodology and a variety of RBI software applications.

Through a combination of experience and expertise, AOC has earned the trust of owner operators by delivering sustainable value through Learning Management.

As former Capstone founders and GE APM (Meridium) consultants, we have implemented hundreds of RBI programs, delivering measurable benefits to our clients that:

  • Focus risk mitigation of key assets
  • Improve maintenance costs/work selection
  • Align inspection strategies with identified/predicted damage mechanisms and industry standards
  • Provide an enterprise view of risk management eliminating limited capability database systems and inefficient inspection efforts
  • Focus on system corrosion monitoring rather than equipment monitoring
  • Optimize field inspections: reduced TMLs, extended inspection intervals, etc.

With our extensive knowledge as plant engineers, we are able to deliver meaningful KPIs that we have documented through co-authored papers with our clients through NACE, AIChE, CCPS, NPRA and AFPM. Our consultants continue to keep the trust of our clients. This is why the majority of our clients have been with us for over fifteen years.

Our consultants are all required to be certified to the latest edition of API 580 and undergo an internal certification to ensure they are qualified as RBI risk analysts as per API 581.

How does AOC Support Your RBI Implementation?

Our method for success is our Learning Management approach. We share our experience as GE APM (Meridium) Certified Service providers and our technical knowledge with our clients' employees. With the use of just-in-time training modules our clients' direct personnel and contractors master each part of the RBI work process to ensure that:

  • Plan of inspection that is focused more on higher- than lower-risk assets
  • Documentation and management of inspections that are complete, consistent and integrated
  • Risks of equipment failure are identified and efforts for risk mitigation
  • Damage mechanisms that are driving the risk of loss of containment are aligned with the inspection strategies

Our approach to learning management is perfected with the measurement of performance. We utilize skills assessment tools to analyze and perfect the performance of the RBI program and the people that manage the program.

Whether utilizing AOC personnel or our clients' resources, our method for delivering early time to value and early ownership is Learning Management. Our approach delivers training modules specific to the clients' choice of RBI technology, while our business process best practices, RBI work instructions, skills validation and mentoring align our clients' employees every step of the way from project execution through to a sustainable program.

Service Inquiry

Related Services

End-of-Life, Remaining-Life, and Fitness-for-Service Assessments

When evaluation of inspection results suggest that an asset is near its end of useful life, Fitness for Service evaluations can determine if the asset us suitable for continued operation.

Inspection Services

Asset Optimization's Inspection Group provides our partners with comprehensive inspection resources to further support our internal needs and the needs of our partners. Consisting of both API-certified inspectors and ASNT-compliant technicians, our inspection team offers a variety of visual inspection and NDE services.

Operational Readiness and Maintenance Strategy Development

Development of maintenance strategies, recommendations, and plans to implement best practices and increase asset life

Related Tools

API 580 Work Process Quiz

How well do you know RBI? Take this short quiz to test your knowledge of the API 580 risk-based inspection (RBI) work process.

RBI Potential Savings Calculator

Create mechanical integrity (MI) program value rather than it being seen as a necessary cost to minimize.

Related Training

API 580 Training

Is your Risk Based Inspection (RBI) program aligned with the API 580 Recommended Practice? Are you ready for certification?

API 581 Training

A deep dive into quantitative Risk Based Inspection (RBI) as outlined in API 581.

API 580 RBI Overview

What impact does Risk Based Inspection (RBI) have on my organization?

API 581 Overview

What's actually going on inside all of that fancy software? An introduction to the API 581 methodology.

RBI/MI Overview

A high level overview introducing Mechanical Integrity and Risk Based Inspection

Related Knowledge

Insights on Improving Inspection Effectiveness

Since the evaluation of inspection effectiveness for RBI can be so subjective, following these suggestions can greatly improve the process.

How to Incorporate the New PHMSA Underground Gas Storage Requirements

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Proposed API 581 Inspection Plan Optimization

A proposal for a risk analysis option that allows for individual damage mechanism risk calculation in API 581

Other Benefits of Risk Based Inspection Implementation

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Hidden Benefits of Risk Based Inspection (RBI)

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National Regulation 13 in Brazil

When working in Brazil please be aware that Brazil has its own Regulatory Standard – NR13 – that covers the minimum requirements for managing the integrity and inspection of steam boilers, pressure vessels, storage tanks and interconnecting pipes.

Plant Management 101: Common Work Processes

A dysfunctionality found in many refineries, chemical plants, and other production facilities, is a lack of common asset management work processes.

Asset Value Management vs Asset Performance Management

A look at how the financial sector's concept of Asset Value Management can be applied to the petrochemical industry.

Proposed API 581 Inspection Plan Optimization Example

An example to compliment our earlier proposal for a risk analysis option that allows for individual damage mechanism risk calculation in API 581

RBI Value: Both Transitioning And From The Start

A look at how RBI adds value whether you are just starting out or transitioning from a traditional methodology.