In the first article in our series on government regulations, we took a comprehensive look at planning and seeking government approval for leak repair in Ontario. For those in Alberta, on the other hand, obtaining approval for leak repair requiring pressurized enclosures is another story. Here, regulations can stall certain types of leak repairs, resulting in significant downtime and thus costing facility owners. Although technicians perform repairs in the same way with the same outcome in both provinces, the approval process in Alberta is quite different.
As in Ontario, a regulatory board outlines the repair standard.
“In Alberta, it’s ABSA, the Alberta Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Association,” Coombs said
The big difference
The process in Alberta is different from that in Ontario. ASBA does not issue a Certificate of Approval (CofA) for Online Leak Sealing; a different set of guidelines regulates this process: AB-521 — Requirements for Engineered Pressure Enclosures. This document spells out a very detailed submission process that places a lot of responsibility on the facility owner or operator. This is new to the industry and where the two jurations differ the most. It’s not that the owner or operator is any less responsible in one versus the other; they now just play a more prominent role in the application process.
Those in Alberta also need to plan a bit further in advance.
“There’s quite a bit of difference in the turnaround time between provinces,” Coombs explains. “If you were planning to do a leak repair job in Ontario, the registration process typically takes anywhere from three to five days. You can plan your resources accordingly, like your enclosure fabrication, in that time frame. In Alberta, you’re looking at 10 to 15 days.
Lengthy turnaround times, however, could soon become obstacles of the past due to a new process — and it may potentially not even require ABSA submissions.
“The new process at ABSA is called an RRIMR procedure, or Risk assessment, Root cause, Installation procedure, Maintenance and monitoring, and Removal,” Coombs said. “All of that is separate from the engineering of the enclosure. ABSA has allowed facility owners to develop a quality program that revolves around this type of structure. Once that’s approved, they can do a streamlined process in which they can utilize a catalogue of fittings, and that 15-day process can be significantly reduced. One of the problems is the owners haven’t developed that program yet, so we’re always battling a longer lead time than the 10 to 15 days.”
While this isn’t unexpected due to the RRIMR being introduced only a short time ago and considering the depth of work these leaders must do to complete it, especially in larger facilities, it’s an opportunity to save days — even a full week. This can make an enormous impact in turnaround times and cost savings when leaks requiring pressurized enclosures occur.
The Alberta leak repair advantage
“At Innovator, we design our enclosures and register them so, when the time comes to use them, you don’t have to wait. With the introduction of AB-521, ABSA implemented more stringent controls on the use of these enclosures. They recognized that an equal portion of the risk, if not higher, was in the application compared to the enclosure design,” Coombs said. “What does this mean for our catalogues? Well, they are not irrelevant or obsolete. It’s just that, for an end user to take advantage of my catalogue, in a way he must create a catalogue of his own. He’s got to be able to write a procedure that says, ‘Hey, ABSA! When I have this leak that’s caused by this failure, I’m going to use this enclosure from Innovator.’ If it fits exactly within their parameters, we can go ahead and install it for them in what’s called the Streamlined Acceptance Process.”
RRIMR and the Streamlined Acceptance Process are causing buzz.
“There’s a lot of conversation, and a lot of people will reach out to me and ask me for different details from my catalogue and what types of fittings are available, but we’ve yet to do an installation through the streamlined process,” Coombs said.
These preregistered fittings can save facility leaders time on leak repair, but the experts at Innovator don’t stop there. In the third and final part of our series on provincial regulations, we’ll review the advantages Innovator professionals offer those seeking hot taps.