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How To Distinguish Between Code, Standard And Specification?

The difference between Code, Standard, and Specification:

Codes, standards, and specifications are three of the regulatory papers that are most frequently recognized. Codes and other standards include the bare minimum of engineering and governing data relevant to a business or operation.

Engineers, QA-QC, fabricators, and managers must often work with various standards, codes, and specifications in the oil and gas, EPC, construction, and fabrication fields.

Experts employed by government agencies or professional organizations (such as ASME, AWS, and API) write codes, standards, and specifications (such as MIL).

These documents cover the procedures that these authoring bodies primarily employ. Large industrial groups typically establish specifications to meet and verify product quality criteria.

The important organizations that create welding-related codes and standards include the American Welding Society (AWS), along with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and others, such as the American Society of Non-Destructive Testing (ASNT), the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), and the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Standardization can be considered the process of implementing and creating technical documentation based on the agreement of various stakeholders, including businesses, users, interest groups, standards organizations, and governments. The expense, inconvenience, and confusion brought on by needless and unwanted distinctions in tools, systems, supplies, and practices can be reduced through standardization. In areas like safety, testing, and erection, standards can also serve as a record of generally recognized industry practice. Standardization in process plants is accomplished through the use of numerous standards, rules, and advised practices.

The difference between a code, a standard, and a specification, according to their definition, can be as follows:

Specification: A detailed, precise, explicit explanation of something or a plan or proposal of something, as by statistics, description, or working drawing.

The code defines a system of norms of process and standards of materials, usually produced by a governmental entity, to provide uniformity and to safeguard the public interest in sectors like building construction and public health.

A standard is generally accepted as a model or an example to be followed by the authorities, custom, or public consent.

Codes and standards offer criteria that can be used to guarantee pressure integrity and streamlined design guidelines to ensure the requirements are followed. As many designers and engineers believe, the terms “code” and “standard” are not synonymous, or at least not entirely interchangeable.

A code is used to specify what must be done. Meanwhile, a standard specifies how to achieve it.

While a code specifies the items (such as the material performance level) and procedures (such as the design technique) involved in the installation, standards are advantageous to both the engineers and contractors who utilize them and the end user. An instruction-based standard: establishes a standard vocabulary for a specific procedure in the industry, outlines the specifications for items, procedures, methods, or processes; enhances user trust in the product’s safety and quality, and reduces production costs because needs are uniform.

What is a Code? 

A code is a set of rules organizations must adopt and follow to perform services like building, repairs, or purchases. Codes are meant to lay forth the engineering specifications required for the security planning and construction of piping infrastructure. In contrast to standards, which are freely agreed-on principles and only become enforceable when included in a business contract, a code has the legal force of law.

When codes are adhered to during the construction phase, they offer safety, quality, and product integrity.

As an illustration, the ASME BPVC codes are in place to guarantee the dependability, quality, and safety of the building of pressure vessels, boilers, nuclear components, welder/operators’ qualifications, etc.

A code can be made into law or incorporated into a business contract, but it is not a rule that must be obeyed on its own.

The minimum acceptable standards for a component or for the performance of the finished element itself are defined by every code (such as ASME and API).

Various organizations create welding rules to provide requirements for fabrication design specifications, fabrication-approved materials, and inspection testing. The act of welding, four organizations established the codes. Each group develops and modifies codes specific to their field of study. ASME is for welding methods and welder qualification, which is how ASME and AWS differ. AWS is used to qualify welders and welding processes like inspection, erection, and fabrication. Each code’s objective is to provide a uniform method of operation that represents the best practices refined and proven effective over time. They have the result of enhancing welding techniques, tools, and procedures. As a result, the profession has grown in quality, skill, and welding productivity.

What is a standard?

The documents containing requirements and deemed effective engineering practices are known as standards. Professional societies or committees create them. The proper use of the same is the responsibility of the users. The standard’s observance does not automatically grant immunity from legal duties.

A standard outlines how to complete the task and references the minimum standards to accept or reject a product.

Although compliance with the standard must meet a minimum requirement to maintain the product’s quality and integrity like a code, it is not legally required to do so.

Globally, the standards are more uniform thanks to the EU-accepted ISO standards and the BSI, which have the same goal. Users are not the only group for whom standards are intended:

  • Establish a shared understanding of a particular procedure among the businesses.
  • Records the specifications for components, processes, and operations.
  • Provide assurance and confidence in the product’s quality so that it can be used or used safely.
  • Standardizing a product’s specifications lowers the manufacturing cost, improving efficiency and sustainability.

Regarding resistance welding, there are a lot of ISO standards. Here is a list of three widely used standards in each category:

Resistance welding methods—welding procedures for various types of welding, assessing weldability, determining the weldability lobe, and welding quality standards.

Mechanical and electrical requirements for welding machines, resistance welding equipment specifications, and electrodes

Weld strength testing procedures for the resistance welding quality and strength system.

Standards for the resistance process are as follows:

ISO 17677-1:2021: Spot, projection, and seam welding are all part of the vocabulary for resistance welding.

ISO 15609-5:2011: For resistance spot, seam, and projection welding processes, ISO 15609-5:2011 establishes the standards for the content of welding method specifications. Before any qualification is started, it is required to determine whether it is acceptable to apply the concepts of ISO 15609-5:2011 to other resistance and related welding processes.

ISO 14373:2015: For the following materials: uncoated steels; hot-dip zinc or iron-zinc alloy coated steel; electrolytic zinc; zinc-iron; etc., ISO 14373:2015 specifies standards for resistance spot welding in the fabrication of assemblies of uncoated and metallic coated low carbon steel, including two or three sheets of metal, where the maximum single sheet thickness of components to be welded is within the range 0.4 mm to 3 mm.

ISO 16432:2006: The requirements for embossed-resistance-projection welding are outlined in ISO 16432:2006 for the fabrication of assemblies of low carbon steel that are uncoated and metallic coated and consist of two metal thicknesses, with the maximum single sheet thickness of the components to be welded falling between 0.4 mm and 3 mm for the following materials:

Uncoated steel; galvanized steel coated with hot-dip zinc or an iron-zinc alloy; electrolytic zinc, zinc-iron, or zinc-nickel coated steel; aluminum coated steel; and zinc and aluminum coated steel

ISO 15613:2004: A preliminary welding technique specification is qualified based on pre-production welding tests, according to ISO 15613:2004.

It can be used for metallic material arc welding, gas welding, beam welding, resistance welding, stud welding, and friction welding.

An application standard or specification may limit the use of ISO 15613:2004.

ISO 15614-12:2014: The tests that can be used to qualify welding method parameters for spot, seam, and projection welding procedures are described in ISO 15614-12:2014. It is a member of the ISO 15614 series, provided in ISO 15607, Annex A. For all actual welding processes covered by it, ISO 15614-12:2014 specifies the prerequisites for testing and the parameters of a competent welding technique.

ISO 18278-3:2017: The processes for determining the allowable welding current range and the electrode life for spot weld bonding utilizing resistance spot welding and adhesive bonding are outlined in ISO 18278-3:2017.

For evaluating the weldability of prepared assemblies of uncoated and coated metal sheets with individual thicknesses ranging from 0.4 mm to 6.0 mm, ISO 18278-3:2017 is applicable.

Some elongated standards by ISO are ISO 15614-13:2012, ISO 14327:2004, ISO 18595:2021, ISO 18278-1:2015, ISO 18278-2:2016, ISO 14554-1:2013, ISO 14554-2:2013.

What is Specification? 

The requirements of a particular business or product are outlined in specifications, as opposed to codes and standards, which can be applied generally to industry and region. An application’s materials, components, or services must meet certain specifications provided in a specification. Sometimes a specification will also specify how such parts should be installed or designed. Code or standard requirements may not be the same as specification requirements.

A single company may specify the materials and even the exact brand desired for a project in its specifications for a specific project or standard installation. A specification may also be adopted and used in a variety of initiatives.

Specifications define the needs of a particular business or product and are often applicable across industries and regions. A specification, such as the ASMT A36 material specification, lays out the specific requirements that must be met by the products, services, or materials utilized in a process.

The specifications can include more than just codes and standards, depending on the buyer’s needs. While the requirements of a code or standard are as stated in the code or standard.

Any business or industry can create its own specifications to fulfill the needs of a project, the building process, or the commissioning.

They can go beyond the code and standards to include any specific corporate items, a specific procedure to follow, or a specific technique to carry out an operation.

Additionally, a specification might be approved and used on numerous projects. A set of written directions for making a strong weld is known as a welding method specification. The method is typically written to adhere to a particular code, standard, or specification. The American Welding Society (AWS) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) both use the term “welding procedure specification” (WPS). WPS provides all the necessary conditions (joints, base metals, filler metals, locations, preheat, PWHT, gas, etc.) under which the welding operation must be carried out, including any applicable ranges. Variables are these parameters’ names (as per ASME Section IX).

The code mentions three different categories of variables:

Essential Variables: It is believed that a change in an essential variable will impact the mechanical characteristics of the welded junction, aside from its toughness. Therefore, the WPS must be requalified if the critical variable is altered.

Extra Essential Variables: The toughness characteristics of the joint, heat-affected zone, or base material will alter depending on the supplementary essential variable. Therefore, additional important factors become essential when method certification calls for toughness testing. Other critical factors are irrelevant if toughness testing is not necessary for procedure qualification.

Variables that are not necessary: Since it is not thought to alter the joint’s mechanical qualities, non-essential variables can be changed without requalifying the current WPS. Although a modification to the non-essential variable doesn’t necessitate the requalification of the WPS, the welding procedure specification (WPS) should still adequately handle it.

The various institutes and societies that issue codes and standards are as follows:

  • ASTM: The American Society for Testing and Materials
  • SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers
  • ASNT: The American Society for Nondestructive Testing
  • CSA: Canadian Standards Association
  • ANSI: American National Standards Institute’s
  • AWS: American Welding Society
  • AMS: Aerospace Materials Specifications
  • AWWA: American Water Works Association
  • ISO: International Organization for Standardization
  • CEN: European Committee for Standardization
  • BBPVI: The Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors
  • NFPA: National Fire Protection Association

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