Did you know that ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) have revised the status of PCC-1 guidelines for Pressure Boundary Bolted Flange Joint Assembly? Written by many industry experts, the guideline status has been elevated to a standard and this is a gamechanger for our UK industries.

This document uses the most up-to-date bolting principles for the integrity of bolted joints on pressure vessels; assembly, disassembly, quality assurance (documentation), bolting safety and tool handling, gaskets, torque, bolt lubrication, washers, tensioning etc.

The importance of a standard versus a guideline depends on the context and purpose they serve. They both play essential roles in various fields, but they differ in their level of enforceability and impact on processes or practices.

So why is it a gamechanger? Well, the new status of ASME PCC-1 changes things dramatically, for instance;

✅ Standards are developed and maintained by recognised standardisation organisations, government bodies, or industry associations.
✅ Standards exist to ensure safety and protection of personnel, the asset and the general public.
✅ Standards are typically based on extensive research, consensus-building, and expert knowledge.
✅ Standards provide a common framework and set of rules that ensure consistency throughout industry.
✅ Compliance with standards is MANDATORY.

Appendix A of the standard -“Training and Qualification of Bolted Joint Assembly Personnel” has seen some of the biggest changes – The whole point of ASME PCC-1 was to ensure that those who assembled flanges understood the principles of bolted joints and rather than take elements of the old guideline because it was a ‘nicety’, the standard status changes from a “you can” to “you must”…

In terms of training, more and more companies are now beginning to re-align a focus of ensuring proof of competency to the standard. This is a long awaited change that needs to be managed by asset owners and enforced to ensure that ALL personnel (including transient labour) that work with bolted flange joints attain competency levels to the standard.

We are already working with several UK companies to help provide compliance and I sincerely hope that their mind-set and commitment to the change spreads throughout our oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical industries in particular. We know the issues that we currently face in terms of competency and this change will no doubt, in my mind, help us to progress to a much better place.

Our principle goals in all of this is to prevent accidents and loss of life, prevent loss of primary containment and environmental incidents, This can only be achieved by investing in compliance to the standard.

If you would like to discuss this further, my direct contact details are; +44 (0)7724 201238

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *