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Implementation & Operation

QEHS Communications, Participation & Consultation

QEHS ALERT 15-XXX Class II Arc Welding of Carbon Steel Pipework


Preliminary Incident Description
The Group has been reviewing the requirements for Class II welding of pipework following QC audits on various
projects that has revealed poor welding practice known as Lick and Stick. In these cases the completed welds
have Incomplete Penetration or Lack of Root Fusion, as depicted below (figure 1) which is non compliant with
the design acceptance criteria.

Figure 1 Incomplete Penetration

A recent example of this presented when a weld in a pipeline leaked due to a


weld centreline crack (figure 2.) During the following investigation it was
revealed that the welds had no root penetration and were not specification
compliant. The pipeline had to be replaced.

Figure 2 Weld Centreline Crack

Background Description
It is frequently specified that the installation of Chilled Water (CHW) and Low Pressure Heating Water (LPHW)
systems be in accordance with Specification BS 2971 Class II Arc Welding of Carbon Steel Pipework for carrying
fluids. The technical requirements of this specification are not well understood and the term Class II welding has
now become synonymous with building services projects in which welding only needs to satisfy the requirement
of passing a pressure test. There is often little or no support documentation with respect to welder competency.
The current edition of this specification was published in 1991. When BS 2971 is specified additional information
is required to be agreed and documented between the contracting party and the purchaser prior to
commencement including any requirement for;
an application standard
material certification
use of permanent backing rings
heat treatment
any additional weld finish i.e. grinding flush
NDT requirements
a welding procedure specification
an approved welding procedure
Whilst some of these requirements are unlikely to be needed it is incumbent on us to agree and document these
requirements with the purchaser prior to the commencement of works to ensure specification compliance and
prevent future potential issues.

Implementation & Operation


QEHS Communications, Participation & Consultation

Lessons Learnt
The Project Team to review the project requirements to determine the relevant piping specification. If the
piping specification requirements are unclear, an RFI needs to be raised.
Should the piping specification be BS 2971 then the requirements listed above need to be agreed and
documented with the purchaser. The attached BS 2971 Standard Deliverables for Class II welding can be used
for this purpose and are our minimum requirements unless the purchaser specifies differently.
Welder Performance Qualification (WPQ) is mandatory for this specification and has to comply with either;
o BS 4872-1:1982 Specification for approval testing of welders when welding procedure approval is not
required.
o IS EN 287-1:2011 Qualification test of welders - Fusion welding - Steels
o IS EN 9606-1:2013 Qualification test of welders - Fusion welding Steels
Whilst NDT examination might not be required visual examination of completed welding is mandatory.
Subcontractors and welders should be advised of the acceptance criteria (outlined below) of this
specification prior to the commencement of any welding.
o All welds require a visual examination of the outside surface to ensure they;
do not have cracks, porosity, cavities or excessive scale
have a weld cap height between 1.5mm and 5mm
have a generally smooth and symmetrical weld profile
do not have undercutting or overlapping at the weld toe in excess of 25mm in 100mm
o

The internal bore of welds should be examined where practical to ensure they;
do not have lack of penetration or lack of root fusion not exceeding 25mm in 100mm of weld
have root penetration not exceeding 3.0mm
Undercutting

Excess Root Penetration

Smooth transition is required

If poor welding practice is evident then a representative should notify the Quality Department for further
guidance or assistance.

Action
Review the Project Specifications &
ensure the project team know &
understand the project requirements. If
the project requirements are not clear,
please submit an RFI.
Obtain Welder Qualification Certificates
from piping subcontractors prior to
commencement.
Monitor completed welding to ensure
acceptable and consistent weld quality.

To Do
Who
Estimating Department
Project Managers
Site Supervisors

When
Prior to commencement

Project Managers
Site Supervisors

Prior to commencement

Project Managers
Site Supervisors

Immediately