Basis for sharing Welder qualifications

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Migrant Welder Information

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Most fabrication codes allow fabricators to use welder qualifications ("codings") that were qualified by other fabricators, as long as certain controls can be shown to be in place. The specific controls are different for different codes, but as a general rule, if inspectors are convinced that proper control of welders and their qualifications have been maintained, then they can allow the codings to be used without further testing of the welders. Welderpassport gives the parties involved in welder qualification and approval the necessary systems and tools to ensure that such control is indeed in place.

By having an on-line depository of information regarding the welders' qualifications, which is accessible by all the necessary parties, the following becomes clear:

  • What the welder's codings are.
  • What the current validation status of those codings are.
  • The welder's employment history.
  • The welder's history regarding revocations of codings.

With this as a basis, along with common sense controls by fabricators in controlling their welders and work, most code requirements can be met.

Despite any other steps that are taken to ensure that welders are suitably qualified for the work to be performed, Welderpassport recommends that all fabricators perform radiography or ultrasonic testing on the first production joint welded by a new migrant welder, to ensure that the welder will meet the code and fabricator's requirements. It still remains the fabricator's responsibility to ensure that the welders employed by him is competent and suitably qualified. In this endeavour, Welderpassport can be a great help.

Below are examples of the basis for migrating welder qualifications, based on some national and international standards. This list is by no means exhaustive.

ASME B31.3:

ASME B31.3 is probably the most widely used process industry pipeline code in the world. With regards transferrability of welder qualifications, this code states in Chapter V, paragraph 328.2.3:

"Performance Qualification by Others: To avoid duplication of effort, an employer may accept a performance qualification made for another employer, provided that the Inspector specifically approves. Acceptance is limited to qualification on piping using the same or equivalent procedure wherein the essential variables are within the limits in Section IX. The employer shall obtain a copy from the previous employer of the performance qualification test record, showing the name of the employer, name of the welder or welding operator, procedure identification, date of successful qualification, and the date that the individual last used the procedure on pressure piping."

By using the migrant welder qualifications as administered on Welderpassport, these code requirements can be met. The requirements given by ASME B31.3 is less onerous than that specified in ASME IX, (the welding code referenced in ASME B31.3) but as the referencing code, the ASME B31.3 requirements take precedence.

AWS D1.1:

AWS D1.1 is probably the most widely used structural welding code in the world. With regards the transferrability of welder qualifications, this code states in paragraph

"Previous Performance Qualification. Previous performance qualification tests of welders, welding operators, and tack welders that are properly documented are acceptable with the approval of the Engineer. The acceptability of performance qualifications to other standards is the Engineer's responsibility, to be exercised based upon the specific structure, or service conditions, or both."

By using the migrant welder qualifications as administered on Welderpassport, these code requirements can be met.

Australian Standard AS/NZS 3992:

This is the standard used in Australia and New Zealand when performing welding to pressure equipment fabricated in accordance with AS/NZS standards. Paragraph 9.2 deals with methods of qualification of welders. Point 9.2(b) states as one of the means of qualification:

"Presentation of documentary evidence of having satisfactorily welded a production joint which has complied with the appropriate requirements of the pressure equipment Standard for radiographic or ultrasonic testing within the previous six months."

By using the migrant welder qualifications as administered on Welderpassport, these code requirements can be met.

Australian Standard AS 2885 Part 2:

This is the standard used in Australia when performing welding to petroleum and gas distribution pipelines. Within paragraph 7.4, entitled "Qualification By Testing", the following paragraph appears:

Part or all of the welder or operator qualification tests may be waived on production of evidence that similar welds, within the limits of the essential variables (Table 7.5) have been made within the previous 12 months.

In addition, paragraph 8.7, entitled: "Portability Of a Welder's or Operator's Qualification" reads as follows:

It is recommended that, subject to the approval of the pipeline licensee, welder or operator qualification tests undertaken by others be accepted provided these tests have been—

(a) carried out in accordance with this Standard or the appropriate previous edition of this Standard; and

(b) fully documented.

 By using the migrant welder qualifications as administered on Welderpassport, these code requirements can be met.


The requirements stated in section QW-300.3 of ASME IX, for welder qualifications to be transferrable between fabricators are rather onerous. The use of Welderpassport will in itself not be enough to meet all these requirements. Further agreements between fabricators participating in a "mutual recognition" scheme are required. Welderpassport can however aid organisations in the difficult task of making such shared qualifications and validation status available to all the participating fabricators. For completeness sake, the relevant extract from ASME IX is given below:

"QW-300.3: More than one manufacturer, contractor, assembler, or installer may simultaneously qualify one or more welders or welding operators. When simultaneous qualifications are conducted, each participating organization shall be represented during welding of test coupons by an employee who is responsible for welder performance qualification. The welding procedure specifications (WPS) that are followed during simultaneous qualifications shall be compared by the participating organizations. The WPSs shall be identical for all the essential variables, except for the preheat temperature and PWHT requirements. The qualified thickness ranges for base metal and deposited weld metal need not be identical, but these thicknesses shall be adequate to permit welding of the test coupons. Alternatively, the participating organizations shall agree upon the use of a single WPS provided each participating organization has a PQR(s) to support the WPS covering the range of variables to be followed in the performance qualification. When a single WPS is to be followed, each participating organization shall review and accept that WPS. Each participating organization’s representative shall positively identify each welder or welding operator who is being tested. Each organizational representative shall also verify marking of the test coupon with the welder’s or welding operator’s identification, and marking of the top of the test coupon when the orientation must be known in order to remove test specimens. Each organization’s representative shall perform a visual examination of each completed test coupon and shall examine each test specimen to determine its acceptability. Alternatively, after visual examination, when the test coupon(s) are prepared and tested by an independent laboratory, that laboratory’s report may be used as the basis for accepting the test results. When the test coupon(s) is radiographically examined (QW-302.2), the radiographic testing facility’s report may be used as the basis for acceptance of the radiographic test. Each organizational representative shall complete and certify a Welder/Welding Operator Performance Qualification (WPQ) Record for each welder or welding operator. Forms QW-484A/QW-484B (see Nonmandatory Appendix B) have been provided as a guide for the WPQ. When a welder or welding operator changes employers between participating organizations, the employing organization shall verify that the welder’s continuity of qualifications has been maintained as required by QW-322 by previous employers since his qualification date. If the welder or welding operator has had his qualification withdrawn for specific reasons, the employing organization shall notify all other participating organizations that the welder’s or welding operator’s qualification(s) has been revoked in accordance with QW-322.1(b). The remaining participating organizations shall determine that the welder or welding operator can perform satisfactory work in accordance with this Section. When a welder’s or welding operator’s qualifications are renewed in accordance with the provisions of QW-322.2, each renewing organization shall be represented by an employee who is responsible for welder performance qualification. The testing procedures shall follow the rules of this paragraph."



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