Resources for boiler codes and standards


The American Boiler Manufacturer's Association (ABMA): This association provides recommended guidelines and technical documents, including summaries and references to other industry standards and guidelines as well as its own design and operation guidelines for boilers and boiler systems.

ASTM International: ASTM International (formerly known as The American Society for Testing and Materials) provides numerous material standards used to define the properties of materials such as metals, pipe, plate, structural steel, and the like used in the construction of boilers and boiler systems. ASTM Fuel Standards define the industry terminology for gaseous, liquid, and solid fuels, as well as the fuel specifications for many liquid and gaseous fuels. ASTM also provides a standard classification for coal. ASTM offers symposia papers and selected technical papers that are relevant to topics related to boiler systems.

NFPA: NFPA provides fire and life safety codes. Most directly applicable to boilers are those covering fuel storage and handling and boiler controls, and the electrical codes. The most widely used are:

  • NFPA 30: Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, 2012 Edition
  • NFPA 31: Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment, 2011 Edition
  • NFPA 54: ANSI Z223.1–2012 National Fuel Gas Code, 2012 Edition
  • NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, 2014 Edition
  • NFPA 85: Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code, 2011 Edition

Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL): The U.S. Dept. of Labor maintains a current list of Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories such as UL and CSA International, which certify products to safety or performance standards. Examples of these standards include:

  • UL 296 Standard for Safety for Oil Burners
  • UL 726 Oil-Fired Boiler Assemblies
  • UL 795 Commercial-Industrial Gas Heating Equipment
  • UL 834 Standard for Safety for Heating, Water Supply, and Power Boilers–Electric
  • UL 2096 Commercial/Industrial Gas and/or Oil-Burning Assemblies With Emission Reduction Equipment
  • UL 2106 Standard for Safety for Field Erected Boiler Assemblies
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has developed the B51, Part 1 Boiler, Pressure Vessel, and Pressure Piping Code.


The U.S. EPA provides national emissions standards in the United States to address the prevention and reduction of atmospheric pollution. These standards began and continue with the Clean Air Act of 1970, which has been amended several times, including 1977 and 1990 amendments. Most recently, the U.S. EPA issued final changes to Clean Air Act standards for major and area source boilers on Dec. 20, 2012, after several iterations including proposed, final, a reproposed version before the present standard.

States are required to implement the requirements of the Clean Air Act through State Implementation Plans (SIPs), which establish emission standards for specific sources including fuel fired boilers. This means that for each significant boiler installation, the individual state environmental department must be consulted to determine the emission and permitting requirements. Typically, there will be limits on the emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), particulate, and opacity for boilers. The recent law additionally regulated emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), and mercury (Hg). For exotic or waste fuels, there may be additional criteria. Additionally, workplace standards requiring periodic inspection and tune-ups have been mandated.

The engineer and owner need to establish the emission requirements up-front when the design and specification is prepared. Environmental requirements will dictate to some extent the burner technology, and may dictate the use of liquid fuels that are low in sulfur. In the case of solid fuel boilers they will also dictate what pollution control technology must be used. Emissions are established by calculation from fuel consumption, initial operational test, and continuous emission monitoring (CEM), or a combination thereof.

Insurance underwriters

Insurance underwriters are an excellent source of engineering standards and product approvals for loss prevention, including many that are applicable to boilers and their components. FM Global is one such organization.


Timothy M. Scruby is senior project manager with Facility Dynamics Engineering. He is a professional mechanical engineer with 33 years of experience in engineering for design and construction. Scruby currently performs all elements of design and construction phase commissioning for mechanical, electrical, controls, boiler, and process systems as well as mentoring others at Facility Dynamics. 

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DHANANJAY , Non-US/Not Applicable, India, 05/22/14 12:37 AM:

Very comprehensive checklist of all the applicable ASME Codes and Standards for Designing Boilers and Boiler Systems.
Mike , VA, United States, 06/03/14 03:53 PM:

As a former state boiler inspector,I wowould recommend contacting your local jurisdiction inspection agency, I still conduct state inspections, though now I work for an Authorized InspectionAAgency (Insurance Company), not all jurisdictions are the same, the codes state that jurisdictional rules prevail.
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