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What is the Difference between Code, Standard and

Knowing the difference between Code, Standard and Specification is very important if you are
working in Oil & Gas Industries. In this post, i will explain you about code, standard and
specification. You will also learn the difference between them. This difference is also
applicable to piping.

What is Standard?

Standard can define as a set of technical definitions and guidelines – or simply a “how to”
instructions for designers and manufacturers. It gives all the necessary requirements for the
product, service, and operation.

A designer will use the standard to design the product, and a manufacturer will use the standard
for the manufacturing of the product.

Standard serves as a common language for defining quality and establishing safety criteria for
the product. ASTM, API, ISO are some examples of the standard. ASTM has more than 12000
standards they cover all most everything. If you visit ASTM website, they said that they have
a standard form toys to aircraft.

Why standard required?

let’s take an example of a mobile phone charger. If you are in the USA and traveling to India,
you need an adapter to use your charger. This is because both the country follows the different
standard for power sockets. But your USB cables will work anywhere in the world because it
is manufactured as per globally accepted standard.

In the case of process industry, piping components are sourced from around the world; we want
all these materials, irrespective of their country of origin should fit perfectly with each other at
the site. Standard help to achieve these;

▪ By establishing common engineering or technical requirements for products, practices,

methods or operations that manufacturer has to follow while manufacturing piping
▪ Standard Built confidence about product quality in the users and
▪ With standardization cost of production will reduce as you can produce in bulk for
global markets.

What is Code?

When governmental bodies adopt the standard and become legally enforceable, or when it has
been incorporated into a business contract, the standard will become a code.

ASME Codes are legally enforceable in many US state. Whereas, in the other part of the world
they are not legally enforceable but such countries have their own similar codes.
Please note that requirements mentioned in the code will only be mandatory requirements if

• The Code is adopted as law by a regulatory body

• It is a part of the business contract

Otherwise, Code will serve as generally accepted guidelines for design, fabrication,
construction, and installation,

However, all most all process facility follows various American code and Standard in addition
to their national standard.

• Examples of the codes are ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, BS, DIN, etc.

Why Code required?

▪ Code Provides a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety &
Quality for manufactured, fabricated or constructed goods.
▪ Codes also refer out to standards or specifications for the specific details on additional
requirements that are not specified in the Code

What is Specification?

Specifications provide specific/additional requirements for the materials, components or

services that are beyond the code or standard requirements

▪ For Example, if you want A106 Gr B pipe with Maximum carbon of 0.23% against
standard requirements of 0.3% Max, you have to specify your requirement in your
specification or Purchase Order.
▪ Specification is generated by private companies to address additional requirements
applicable to a specific product or application

Why Specification required?

▪ It allows purchaser to include special requirements as per design and service condition
▪ It allows customizing your product.
▪ Please note requirement in specification are Must meet requirements
▪ Examples- Product specification, Shell DEP & EIL Specification

Difference Between Code, Standard and Specification in Piping.

Code Standard Specification

Enforceable by Law or by Globally accepted “how to Must meet requirements by
contract instruction” Contracts
Written by government or Written by public organization or Written by private
government approved body by government body companies
Guidelines for design,
Set of technical definitions and Additional requirements,
fabrication, construction and
guidelines for manufacturing beyond code & standard