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THE PURPOSE OF A STANDARD

The purpose of a Standard is to provide designers, builders and engineers with mandatory and informative criteria for designing, constructing, testing and operating a product, piece of equipment or structure. Standards are written primarily from a safety perspective, and are often referenced by legislation and may be used as evidence in court actions dealing with public liability and workplace health and safety. If, for a certain application, a requirement in the Standard cannot be adhered to, many Australian standards provide a clause where an alternative can be used, based upon sufficient research and modelling to prove that safety and functionality is not compromised.

Having Standards to which design, construction, testing and operation must conform, creates consistency within and between industries.

Standards consist of rules, requirements, principles and factors that must be taken into account in undertaking the design, construction, testing or operation of a product or activity.

They are not to be regarded as being an instruction manual for untrained persons or a complete design specification. Accordingly, they cannot be approached mechanically - as you would a cookbook - but require a certain minimum level of background knowledge and understanding.

AS 2885 consists of principles that are expressed in practical rules and guidelines for use by competent persons. It also identifies key decision points or "Approvals" that must be made by the pipeline Licensee. For such Approvals, the Licensee will depend on a competent person in its employ or contracted to it.

It is therefore essential that the competent person being relied upon by the Licensee fully understands the necessary engineering principles and the relevance and application of the Standard in relation to that Approval.

This text is abridged from the APGA 2011 Guide to AS 2885, Section 2.1



Q: Is the ever-lengthening AS2885 suite making pipelines safer? There are many small licensees who would have only one pipeline which have trouble operating within this novel.

A. We hope it is making pipelines safer. The committee was acutely conscious of the need to avoid imposing onerous requirements unnecessarily and to facilitate small projects. The retention of prequalified design in Part 1 is an example of that.

However it sounds as if the question relates to perhaps owning of an existing pipeline? … But it does not matter how big a pipeline is, or how many the Licensee operates...

Almost any conduit carrying hydrocarbons has potential to cause a disaster and the safety requirements must apply.

Where the risks are very low (e.g. a flowline in the outback) then compliance is easy - there will be few threats, minimal consequences of failure, and the SMS should be quick and simple. In an urban environment the situation is very different and the full SMS process may appear onerous, but that's just life.

(by Peter Tuft)


Q: Could testing of pipe be mandated through the AS 2885 Standard to ensure that we build up our knowledge base? (for example - on projects larger than $20 million, the pipe purchase must include additional pipe for the purposes of testing, including the contractor trying to penetrate the pipe with equipment during construction so that we have that information about that pipe material characteristics.)

A. Great idea in principle but outside the legitimate scope of AS 2885. As mentioned during the March 2019 launch seminar, we can't make legislation or mandate commercial additions like this suggestion.

(by Peter Tuft, edited by Susan Jaques)