Responding to evident need and at the request of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Standards Association initiated Project B31 in March 1926, with ASME as sole administrative sponsor. The breadth of the field involved required that membership of the Sectional Committee be drawn from some 40 engineering societies, industries, government bureaus, institutes, and trade associations.
Initial publication in 1935 was as the American Tentative Standard Code for Pressure Piping. Revisions from 1942 through 1955 were published as American Standard Code for Pressure Piping, ASA B31.1. It was then decided to publish as separate documents the various industry Sections, beginning with ASA B31.8-1955, Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping Systems. The first Petroleum Refinery Piping Code Section was designated ASA B31.3-1959. ASA B31.3 revisions were published in 1962 and 1966.
In 1967–1969, the American Standards Association became first the United States of America Standards Institute, then the American National Standards Institute. The Sectional Committee became American National Standards Committee B31 and the Code was renamed the American National Standard Code for Pressure Piping. The next B31.3 revision was designated ANSI B31.3-1973. Addenda were published through 1975.
A draft Code Section for Chemical Plant Piping, prepared by Section Committee B31.6, was ready for approval in 1974. It was decided, rather than have two closely related Code Sections, to merge the Section Committees and develop a joint Code Section, titled Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping. The first edition was published as ANSI B31.3-1976.
In this Code, responsibility for piping design was conceptually integrated with that for the overall processing facility, with safeguarding recognized as an effective safety measure. Three categories of Fluid Service were identified, with a separate Chapter for Category M Fluid Service. Coverage for nonmetallic piping was introduced. New concepts were better defined in five Addenda, the fourth of which added Appendix M, a graphic aid to selection of the proper Fluid Service category.
The Standards Committee was reorganized in 1978 as a Committee operating under ASME procedures with ANSI accreditation. It is now the ASME Code for Pressure Piping, B31 Committee. Section committee structure remains essentially unchanged.
The second edition of Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping was compiled from the 1976 Edition and its five Addenda, with nonmetal requirements editorially relocated to a separate Chapter. Its new designation was ANSI/ASME B31.3-1980.
Section Committee B31.10 had a draft Code for Cryogenic Piping ready for approval in 1981. Again, it was decided to merge the two Section Committees and develop a more inclusive Code with the same title. The work of consolidation was partially completed in the ANSI/ASME B31.3-1984 Edition.
Significant changes were made in Addenda to the 1984 Edition: integration of cryogenic requirements was completed; a new stand-alone Chapter on high-pressure piping was added; and coverage of fabrication, inspection, testing, and allowable stresses was reorganized. The new Edition was re-designated as ASME/ANSI B31.3-1987 Edition.
Addenda to the subsequent five Editions, published at three-year intervals, were primarily used to keep the Code up to date. New Appendices were added, however, on requirements for bellows expansion joints, estimating service life, submittal of Inquiries, aluminum flanges, and quality control in the 1990, 1993, 1999, and 2002 Editions, all designated as ASME B31.3.
In a program to clarify the application of all Sections of the Code for Pressure Piping, changes were made in the Introduction and Scope statements of the 1996 Edition, and its title was changed to Process Piping.
Under direction of ASME Codes and Standards management, metric units of measurement were emphasized. With certain exceptions, SI metric units were listed first in the 1996 Edition and were designated as the standard. Instructions for conversion were given where metric data were not available. U.S. Customary units also were given. By agreement, either system may have been used.
Beginning with the 2004 Edition, the publication cycle of ASME B31.3 was changed to biennial. Other changes made in the 2004 Edition included the introduction of the weld joint strength reduction factor, W, and the additions of new Appendix P, Alternative Rules for Evaluating Stress Range, and Appendix S, Piping System Stress Analysis Examples.
Changes that were made to the 2006 and 2008 Editions of ASME B31.3 included the requirement that valves have blowout-proof stems and the addition of a definition for elevated temperature fluid service, respectively. The most significant change that was made to the 2010 Edition of ASME B31.3 was the addition of Chapter X, High Purity Piping. In the 2012 Edition, Tables A-1M and A-2M were added to Appendix A that give allowable design values in SI metric units, and Appendix N, Application of ASME B31.3 Internationally, was also added.
For the 2016 Edition, the allowable design values in SI metric units as shown in Tables A-1M and A-2M were changed from for information only to values that may be used to meet the requirements of the Code.
In this Edition, SI metric units are given first, with U.S. Customary units in parentheses. Table K-1 in Appendix K, and Tables C-1 and C-6 in Appendix C, are exceptions, containing only U.S. Customary units. The allowable design values in Tables A-1 and A-2 are given in U.S. Customary units, and the SI metric values are given in Tables A-1M and A-2M. Either the U.S. Customary units or the SI metric units for these allowable design values may be used. Except for Tables A-1, A-1M, A-2, A-2M, C-1, C-6, and K-1, values in SI metric units are to be regarded as the standard, unless otherwise agreed between the contracting parties. Instructions are given in Tables C-1, C-6, and K-1 for converting tabular data in U.S. Customary units to appropriate SI metric units. #Little_PEng.