We tend to think of the computer industry when discussions turn to the rapid rate of technological change, but change is happening in other areas as diverse as health, agriculture and construction, to name just a few. In fact, change is accelerating everywhere as we build on the knowledge bases established in every vocation and profession.
Australian Standards are under Constant Review
The engineering industry is no different. Some years ago, AS (Australian Standard) 2885 was accepted by the industry as the overarching standard for the design, construction, testing, operations and maintenance of gas and petroleum pipelines in Australia. A revised second edition published in 2002 has since has been updated several times with changes and improvements in various aspects of pipeline technology.
The work of the various committee members who keep the standard up to date makes our job much easier. Reay Services Group are pipeline installation specialists and we monitor the revisions or changes to the standard and then use this information to update our procedures and processes.
Latest Technologies Improve Safety
All processes concerning pipeline installation and testing must be kept up-to-date not only to get the best operational result, but also to manage any health and safety issues. For example, changes to welding technology can improve the strength of pipeline joins, which in turn improves the integrity of the overall project.
Pipeline Engineers First Qualify in another Engineering Discipline
An interesting fact not well known outside our industry is that pipeline engineers in Australia first gain their degrees in another engineering discipline such as mechanical or chemical engineering. At this point in time, the pipeline industry in this country is still too small to attract enough students to make a degree course in pipeline engineering viable.
National Standards Provide Consistency
To get the additional skills they need to understand and practice pipeline engineering, they then train under supervision on the job and via short courses to gain the knowledge they need. They are assessed against a set of nationally accredited competency standards, providing consistency in the skills needed across the pipeline industry.
Pipeline Installers Must Keep Up-to-Date
This gives all of us in the industry the confidence to use these and other engineering standards for guidance to ensure that we are working on and completing these projects to the highest recognised standards. It is our role as pipeline installers to know the latest advances and techniques and to check that our staff and contractors have been trained to the levels needed for their specific jobs.
With the expansion of the gas pipeline industry likely to continue across the country, standards like these, compiled by industry experts, are essential to maintaining the enviable safety record we have for pipelines in Australia.