IMCA has defined the terminology used to describe its technical documents with a new classification system.
IMCA’s published technical and operational documentation is used globally across the offshore energy industry. This body of work is highly regarded and often adopted, or referenced, by regulators and courts around the world. Significantly, in many instances IMCA’s technical documents also set the standard of acceptable practice for energy companies and are often used to form contract technical specifications.
In 2018, we modified our Bye-laws to include the expectation that IMCA Members adopt our technical guidelines as a minimum standard. However, the generic terms “guidance” and “guidelines” have, on occasion, been viewed as ambiguous, and therefore IMCA has moved to clarify the use of these terms. Under the direction of the Board and Operations Committee, IMCA has established a hierarchy of compliance terms for its technical documents, similar to the nomenclature used elsewhere in the wider offshore energy industry. The intention is to define the criticality of IMCA’s library of technical documents using three descriptors:
- IMCA Code of Practice – A document produced by the Association, the uniform application of which is recognised as essential for the safe and efficient conduct of marine contracting projects. IMCA expects the highest level of compliance with this category of document from its Members.
- IMCA Recommended Practice – A document produced by the Association, the uniform application of which is recognised as necessary for the safe and efficient conduct of marine contracting projects. IMCA expects a high level of compliance with this category of document from its Members.
- IMCA Informative Guidance – A document produced by the Association, the application of which is recognised as useful for the safe and efficient conduct of marine contracting projects. IMCA expects its Members to take appropriate account of this category of document when planning, managing and conducting their marine contracting projects.
Our Members’ decisions on the precise degree of their compliance with IMCA documentation should take into account the above descriptors, and Members should also apply the “comply or explain” principle to such decisions i.e. they should either comply with IMCA technical documents or be prepared to explain and justify why they chose not to do so. Members should keep in mind that the quality of their explanations for non‐compliance may one day come under formal scrutiny from regulators or others. Members should also pay due regard to the fact that IMCA’s technical documents set a minimum standard; each offshore operation poses its own risks and Members and others engaged on the project are responsible for conducting their operations safely.
IMCA’s technical library comprises a large body of published documents, information notes, and other materials. All are available on our website and freely available to our Members. These are a highly prized collection, adding value for our Members by helping them improve safety levels and business performance. Some 600 representatives from industry systematically validate and update our documents on a regular basis. Consequently, our documents can truly be said to have been created by the industry for the industry.
Our Members have unlimited access to our library of documents. This degree of transparency and ready-availability ensures that contractors, suppliers, and operators always have access to them and are thus aligned on the latest industry good practice.
IMCA’s digital publications can be found on our website in the Publications section.