The B31.3 Section Committee responds to all questions on the Code via an inquiry process. Instructions for writing a request for an interpretation are provided in ASME B31.3, Appendix Z. The Committee will provide a strict interpretation of the existing rules. However, as a matter of policy, the Committee will not approve, certify, rate, or endorse anything, nor will it act as a consultant on specific engineering problems or the general understanding or application of Code rules. Further, it will not provide explanations as to background or reasons for Code rules. If you need one of these to be done, you should take a course, read this book, or hire a consultant, as appropriate.
The Section Committee will answer any request for interpretation with a literal interpretation of the Code. It will not create rules that do not exist in the Code, and will state that the Code does not address an item if it is not specifically covered by rules written into the Code. Even if the Section Committee disagrees with how the Code is written, it will answer in accordance with how it is written, and then possibly consider changes in the Code.
This strict procedure is considered to be necessary, because interpretations are often asked due to disagreements that may be subject to contractual terms or litigation. If the Code is the binding document, it must be taken as it was written at the time, not how one may prefer it to have been written. Answering requests for interpretations is one of the highest priorities in the Section Committee meetings. The response is almost always prepared at the first Section Committee meeting following receipt of the request, and is then forwarded to the inquirer by ASME staff. Interpretations are published and posted on the website for the benefit of all Code users.
New interpretations, as well as errata and Code Cases, are posted on the ASME B31.3 website, http://cstools.asme.org/csconnect/CommitteePages.cfmCommittee=N10020400. Alternatively, you can go to the ASME website, www.asme.org; click on Codes and Standards, click on Committee Pages; click on B31 Code for Pressure Piping; then click on B31.3 Process Piping Section Committee. #Little_PEng