Code, Standard, and handbook are terms that are very often heard in the environment of Engineers and professionals working in the oil and gas industry. In general, the standard is a technical definition as well as instructions directed at the designer, manufacturer, operator or user of a piece of equipment. Whereas the Code is a standard that has been recognized by a government agency and authorized by law. So that the Code is stronger and binding because it is a legal document. The Handbook is very detailed and very complete technical information about a particular theme. For example, the ASM Handbook Volume 13 concerning corrosion. In the Handbook explained the basics of the theory of corrosion that is very complete. including the basic theory of how to measure corrosion rates in a laboratory. Whereas ASTM G102 is a Standard for Rates and Related Information from Electrochemical Measurements. If we want to master the science of corrosion, then we must understand the handbook about corrosion. if we want to master and expert as practitioners in calculating corrosion rates, we must understand ASTM G102. Codes and Standards do not provide detailed instructions on a design process, nor do they provide instructions on how to design something. In other words, Code and Standard are not a “Handbook”. Here the role is a competent and experienced designer or engineer to carry out the design and analysis process.
The Code and Standards generally contain the minimum requirements that must be done to achieve a safe construction, with the aim of promoting the safety and interests of the general public. From here it is very clear, safety criteria are a very important factor in the world of oil and gas industry. In achieving these objectives, the Code and Standard provide definitions and instructions on material requirements, design, fabrication, and inspection which if not done will increase the potential for danger when a system is operated. In addition to providing instructions, sometimes, in addition, the Code and the Standard also include prohibitions and warnings about the possibility of an unsafe design. For example, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code provide instructions on the selection of materials used at very low temperatures in order to avoid brittle fracture because of the impact load.
in fact, we cannot find a 100% perfect design condition, very good material without any defect. But we have certain acceptance criteria. For example in the field of construction or welding, we know NDT-non destructive tests. NDT is used to test the results of welding using the Visual, UT or RT method. it is rarely found that perfect welding is 100%. practitioners and professionals recognize the terms finding, anomalies and defects that are used as NDT outcome criteria. Experience says that if everything carried out in accordance with the instructions in the Code, by fulfilling the minimum requirements and safety factors, then will reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring drastically, thus protecting human safety.
In each existing Code and Standard, the intentions and objectives are always clearly stated and for any activity the Code and Standard can be applied. Because the Code and Standard recognize that the method they use is a simple approach to each problem, then they encourage experienced designers and are able to do a more in-depth analysis to use their methods. It’s just that the method you want to do must be tested and at least recognized by the project owner or Owner. Furthermore, the method used, if other than the method recommended in the Code and Standard, must also be equipped with details for design, construction, inspection, examination, and testing in accordance with the conditions required in the Code and Standard. In other words, it’s not easy to convince the client that the method we are using is, which if different from the one listed in the Code is safe and has been guaranteed. I have been involved in a project where the contractor uses a lifting equipment that is not found in the Code. The client asks the contractor to do a very detailed engineering analysis to ensure that the equipment is safe to use and meet engineering load requirements.
Thus, it is actually easier and safer if we use existing codes and standards and are proven to be safe to use in many industries. But again, we must realize that the nature of the Code and Standard is a general guide for designers to do their work in designing equipment.