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QMS for Contractors

The Safety Codes Act and regulations set forth the requirement for contractors to have a Quality Management System:

  • Section 39(1) of the Safety Codes Act states that “An owner, occupier, vendor, contractor, manufacturer or designer of a thing, or a person who authorizes, undertakes or supervises a process or activity, to which this Act applies may be required by a written order of an Administrator or by this Act to have and maintain a quality management system that meets the requirements of the regulations.”
  • The Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, section 11, requires a person who constructs, manufacturers, repairs or alters pressure equipment or who services, sets, repairs or seals a pressure relief valve to hold a certificate of authorization permit for that activity.

In keeping with these regulatory requirements, ABSA requires contractors who construct, alter, or repair pressure equipment to register a Quality Control Program with ABSA. The registration process involves the following activities:

  • Develop a quality manual that meets the requirements set by the Administrator under the Safety Codes Act. The manual is to describe the quality system that will be used for the type of work, and how the various regulatory and code requirements will be met. Sample manuals and manual guidelines are available at ABSA offices to aid contractors in developing their manual.
  • Submit the quality control manual to ABSA for review, with the AB-29 application form and prescribed fee.
  • Following review and acceptance of the manual, an ABSA Safety Codes Officer (SCO) will audit the program at a work site, for compliance with the manual, applicable code, and regulatory requirements.
  • When the contractor successfully passes the audit, ABSA issues an Alberta Quality Program(AQP) certificate of authorization Permit for a three-year term. This permits the contractor to engage in the work described in their manual (as filed with ABSA), within the scope listed on their certificate.
  • Prior to the expiry of the certificate, the contractor must review and update the manual as necessary, and resubmit it to ABSA to start the cycle for renewal of the Certificate of Authorization Permit.

Design Registration For Piping Systems

The Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, section 14, requires registration of designs for pressure piping systems that exceed 500 litres aggregate internal volume.

  • Piping designs must bear the stamp of a professional engineer, registered in Canada or the U.S.A.
  • The designs, which must include the information specified in section 16 of this regulation, are to be submitted in duplicate along with the required application form, AB-96.

Welding, Brazing and Other Joining Processes

Contractors who engage in welding, brazing or other joining processes on pressure equipment under the jurisdiction of the Safety Codes Act are required to have such procedures, as applicable to the work being done, registered with ABSA (Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, section 18).

Welding and brazing procedures must comply with the requirements of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX Welding and Brazing Qualifications. Other joining procedures must comply with the code of construction for the pressure equipment.

Information regarding welding and brazing procedures:

  • The registered welding, brazing and other joining procedures may only be used for work falling within the parameters of that procedure. Consequently, contractors may need to register a number of procedures to cover the scope of work they do.
  • Registered welding, brazing or other joining procedures may only be used by the contractor who developed and registered them.

Registration of a welding procedure is a multi-part process. For details, see Design Registration.

Inspection, Testing and Documentation

Note: For new construction of pressure vessels, boilers, and pressure piping, refer to the Manufacturer section.

The various codes of construction require contractors to perform a number of examinations, inspections and tests, and to document these activities. The contractor must be familiar with the codes of construction which govern the work being done, and perform the required examinations, tests, etc.

The codes adopted under the Safety Codes Act are listed in the Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, Section 6.

The following is a listing of some of the requirements. Refer to the code of construction for complete details.

  • Pressure piping constructionis governed by the requirements of ASME B31.1, B31.3, B31.5 or B31.9 piping codes, depending on the type of work being done.
    • These codes make certain examinations by the contractor mandatory and, in addition, require the owner to perform inspections. The contractor must be familiar with these requirements to ensure that he meets all obligations under the Act.
    • Qualification requirements for the owner’s inspector are detailed in the applicable piping code.
    • The codes specifically prohibit the contractor from acting as the owners’ inspector unless the owner is also the contractor.
    • Inspection of boiler external piping must be completed by ABSA in Alberta, or by an ASME Authorized Inspector if fabrication occurs in another jurisdiction. All other inspection of piping required by code is completed by the owner.
    • In addition to the inspection and testing requirements of ASME B31, the Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, section 30 places additional requirements on the piping contractor.
    • Pressure piping construction is to be documented on a Pressure Piping Construction and Test Data Report, AB-83, which is to be certified by the contractor and the owners’ inspector prior to turnover to the owner.
    • The contractor is also required to complete a Completion of Construction Declaration, AB-81, and submit this to ABSA at the completion of the project. This declaration is not required if the volume of the piping system is equal to. or less than, 500 litres aggregate internal volume.

Pressure Equipment Repair or Alteration

A contractor may not perform any work outside the scope of its certificate of authorization Permit. Only companies with a QMS Certificate of Authorization Permit, which allows them to perform repairs and alterations, may undertake this work.

To ensure that repairs and alterations are completed within the terms of their ABSA certificate of authorization Permit and the Safety Codes Act, owners and organizations performing repairs and alterations should be aware of the following terms:

  • A “repair” is work carried out to restore a damaged item to a condition that satisfies the original design.
  • An “alteration” means any change to an item of pressure equipment as described in the original manufacturer’s data report that requires a change of design calculations or otherwise affects the pressure-retaining capability of the item of pressure equipment.

The following requirements apply to pressure equipment repairs and alterations:

  • Changes to the design (alterations) of a boiler, pressure vessel, or pressure piping system are to be registered with ABSA before work commences (Pressure Equipment Safety Regulation, section 22).
  • ABSA must be notified, prior to the start of work, for any repair to a boiler or pressure vessel. The completed repair must be inspected and certified by an ABSA Safety Codes Officer, or an In-Service Inspector, as applicable. Refer to the Alberta Repair and Alteration Requirements (AB-513) document for details on owner-user repairs.
  • The regulation places the responsibility for submitting the repair/alteration procedure on the owner; however, the contractor doing the repair often submits the work procedure on behalf of the owner.
  • The repair procedure must be accepted by the owner.
  • The contractor must not commence work until the procedure has been submitted and accepted, by ABSA SCO or In-Service Inspector.

For pressure vessel repairs or alterations, the following testing, inspection, and documentation is required.

  • A travel sheet, detailing the work to be done, is to be developed by the contractor and presented to an ABSA Safety Codes Officer (SCO) to establish inspection hold points.
  • A Material Test Report (MTR) is required for all material used for replacement of shell sections, heads, tubes, etc.
  • Reports of all non-destructive examinations and post-weld heat treatments, as applicable, are required.
  • Depending on the magnitude of the repair, the ABSA SCO may require interim inspection of the vessel at several stages during the repair or alteration.
  • A pressure test is generally equired unless alternative examinations and tests have been accepted by the ABSA Safety Codes Officer.
  • All work done is to be documented on a Repair/Alteration Report, AB-40. This report is to be certified by the repair organization as complying with Code requirements and the accepted repair procedure.
  • The SCO, or In-Service Inspector as applicable, would sign the report after sign off by the contractor.
  • The AB-40, Repair /Alteration Report is to be filed with ABSA, with a copy going to the owner for his or her permanent records.
  • In the case of a repair covered under an Owner-User Program (OUP) and completed on the owners premises, the owner may be authorized to perform the inspection and certification of certain repairs that would normally be done by an ABSA SCO. Refer to the Alberta Repair and Alteration Requirements (AB-513) for details.

Last modified: August 21, 2015