In many cases, jurisdictional inspectors have their hands tied. They are only supposed to review pressure vessel issues, including air tanks, water tanks, and boilers. Their responsibilities do not include system issues such as the gas piping at the site, the fuel train component settings, control logic, and/or the burner flame pattern. Also, in many cases, jurisdictional inspectors can only evaluate equipment for its code compliance when it was installed. There’s typically no screening for how far away from the most recent codes the old “grand fathered” technology is. This kind of inspection sometimes means that you could be “technically” in compliance with archaic and antiquated equipment that is 50 or more years old and has little in the way of modern new safeties During our inspections, however, we screen for code compliance, maintenance and installation issues, operational issues, technological advances that can enhance safety and obsolete/recalled components. Our unique process includes specific checklists developed by teams of engineers that have researched codes and manufacturers, as well as field validation.
When we find an issue, it is documented as either a critical, mandatory or awareness issue. Critical issues indicate a serious safety problem and must be corrected immediately. Mandatory items are issues needed to bring your equipment and facility up to code and awareness issues are often best practices that can help improve overall safety. We work closely with our corporate clients to manage all outstanding critical, mandatory and awareness issues with our industry-exclusive reporting tool on our Web site.
In general, the four codes we are most concerned with are the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) CSD-1, and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) codes 54, 85 and 86. ASME CSD-1 applies to boilers that have a fuel input rating of less than 12.5 million BTU/hour. This code is applied and enforced in at least 26 states and some major municipalities. It is unique in that it is the only code that actually covers the fire or combustion side of boilers. NFPA 85, Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code, applies to single burner boilers, multiple burner boilers, stokers, and atmospheric fluidized-bed boilers with a fuel input rating of 12.5 million BTU/hr or greater, and to fired or unfired steam generators used to recover heat from combustion turbines. NFPA 86, the Standard for Ovens and Furnaces, addresses the safe operation of Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D ovens, dryers, and furnaces, thermal oxidizers, and any other heated enclosure used for processing of materials and related equipment. NFPA 54, the National Fuel Gas Code, applies to the installation of fuel gas piping systems, fuel gas utilization equipment and related accessories. It is especially focused on natural gas piping systems from the point of the utility’s delivery to the main manual shut off valve on individual pieces of equipment. This table is a summary of these requirements for the most popular codes related to common combustion equipment.
Remember, codes are only minimum requirements. In many cases, users of fuel-fired equipment seek to do much more than the minimum.
Testing is not optional – it’s the law. ASME CSD-1 boiler combustion component testing is required annually by most states. NFPA 86 also identifies annual testing requirements for gas-fired equipment other than boilers. Most states and municipalities incorporate these guidelines in their legal code requirements. Though, in reality, there is no “code police” to enforce these requirements, if you don’t test and disaster strikes, you could have substantial liability.
Because of the complexity and variety of equipment in this field, there’s no “flat fee” that we charge when working on a project. It often requires a site visit and a good deal of engineering study to develop the work scope for a project. What we can tell you is that we always search for the most cost-effective solutions for all of your combustion needs. When taking into account the increased efficiency of your equipment, and the reduction in costly outages caused by from malfunctioning equipment, we can often demonstrate at least a 2 to 1 payback ratio. Take into account the millions of dollars that a serious fire or explosion might cost you in damaged equipment, fines, lawsuits, as well as the damage sustained to your brand, we are confident that our engineering services more than pay for themselves.