Top 5 "RAGAGEP Deviations" in New Construction

Posted by Dustin Smith, P.E. on Aug 28, 2018 10:51:00 AM
Dustin Smith, P.E.

Anyone tasked to start up a unit knows the engineers who designed it rarely miss a thing...

Every bleeder valve is in the right place, spectacle blind turned correctly, and bypass line scrutinized. So why would the flare and relief systems design be any different? The truth is that they are not. Engineering Firms today have perfected the art of throwing waves of engineers on design-build projects. Unfortunately for those engineers, relief and flare system designs are governed by a maze of regulations, codes, standards, and guidelines (collectively known as Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice or RAGAGEP). Experienced Project Managers understand that relief and flare specialists are needed to ensure their projects are safely and properly designed before any construction occurs.

Top 5 Most Common New Construction Deviations from RAGAGEP:

#1) Unprotected Equipment:

When required to build and install a pressure vessel to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, engineers need to understand that each vessel needs some form of overpressure protection. We have found countless instances where our client's capital project vessels were not safely protected or installed per ASME requirements.

#2)  Inlet/Outlet Pressure Drop Concerns:

Regulation agencies have recently increased their scrutiny surrounding relief valve piping and their "designed to meet standard installation requirements." Some 40% of relief devices we audit have initial piping designs that may require modification down the road.

#3) Undersized:

Whether the relief device was selected on a partial list of the required overpressure scenarios, or calculations have been based on optimistic assumptions, the third most common concern we see is that relief devices are just not big enough for the requirements of the upgraded process.

#4)  Code Issues:

Code Issues are the "catch-all" bucket for the details of design that tend to go unnoticed by EPC companies. The most common code issues include problems with discharge locations being un-safe, use of the wrong type of relief device, piping that causes problems with relief device operation, and relief devices not set appropriately. This includes deviations from company standards as well as regulatory industry standards.

#5) Documentation Discrepancies:

Documentation discrepancies occur when the totality of the PSI is inconsistent. This problem may seem small at the beginning of the project because of clear boundaries between project scope and facility documentation; however, fast forward a few years and these inconsistencies dramatically drive errors in maintenance and engineering decisions. This leads to lack of trust in the validity of the documentation. The concept of "if this number is wrong, what else is incorrect" can lead to every widening scope in future studies.

The engineers at Smith & Burgess evaluate Relief Systems day in and day out. When our staff review facilities in the engineering phase prior to being built, we routinely catch costly errors prior to construction. Therefore, the cost of hiring a firm that specializes in the design of relief systems consistently has a significant ROI due to the relative ease in fixing problems prior to construction. Basically, we help avoid "It's going to COST HOW MUCH to fix? But, its brand new!" when it comes to projects and relief systems.

Topics: Did You Know?, Process Safety Optimization, Maintenance Operation Studies, Relief System Documentation, Detailed Engineering, Process Safety Management

 Safety Knowledge Should be Share...

“It should not be necessary for each generation to rediscover the principles of process safety which the generation before discovered. We must learn from the experience of others rather than learn the hard way. We must pass on to the next generation a record of what we have learned.” - Jesse C. Ducommun, Safety Pioneer
As Process Safety engineers and consultants, we believe our unique position creates a responsibility for Smith & Burgess to share our years of accumulated safety knowledge.

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