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An ASME IX Question?
A Coded Welder Training Question?
.....My answers are probably not what you expected!
Here's Two of the Most Popular Questions.....
.....& my best Coded Welding answers!

I answer this question almost Daily:


>Enquirer Name: James Bxxxxxx


>phone: 07xxxxxxxx

>your email: jamesaxxxxxxxxx@hotmail.co.uk

>repeat email: jamesaxxxxxxxxx@hotmail.co.uk

>town: Wareham

>phone or email: email


>Your-Question: where could I go to get the codings for off shore work such as rig work, asme XI and BS EN 287-1.

>Thank you

>James Bxxxxxx



This is no problem, as I currently hold these & I was trained & certified years ago at Mitsui Babcock near Glasgow.

This massive world class company was taken over last year & is now called Doosan Babcock.


The welder training & certification is actually conducted by real welders that have a working lifetime of practical skill & they have the ability to ‘hold your hand’ & teach the things that your average college welding lecturer has no idea about!


These are real people from the welding industry that actually ‘know the score’ with training & I have to admit that it was the best value welder training that I have ever had, & I’ve had plenty!


There are also colleges that offer the training, but I don’t wish to pass comment upon any that I have personally used, as the majority of ‘trainers’ were ‘respectfully graduated university people’ & not my idea of the best people for the job.

The best colleges will have real lecturers that are properly qualified to train you.

For example, at Leeds college of building, all the welding instructors/examiners have at least 10 years on-site class 1 welding experience and teaching degrees in this particular field.

The colleges that i have personally used, represented the biggest hassle & longest timescales of training available, however, in fairness, the cost of them was remarkably low in comparison to any other professional training establishment. Therefore they offer superb value for money and first class training resources for anyone learning to weld.


There are also private training facilities that normally trade as ‘providers of welder training’ under the guise of independent welder training specialists, but it is usual that they are the suppliers of ‘temp’ welders or ‘agency’ welders to large corporations that need people on short term contracts only & not as paye employees.(known as books-in).

This kind of training establishment makes large profits from the welder training alone & advertises with slogans such as “start a new career as an off shore welder & earn thousands a week”, when in reality the chances of getting a job at the end of the (paid in advance) training are between zero & none!


So beware whom you choose & stick to my first suggestion, (or similar company) as this is the only facility that has an unbiased interest in your welfare, & offers unrivalled value for money.


The last thing you want to hear at the end of an expensive week of training is that you are not good enough to take the Lloyds Examination & that you need another week to ‘practice the overhead root’. This is the downside of non-industrial training shops so please select carefully.


At the end of your training & test, you should be saying ‘thank you Sir’ to the Lloyds Examiner, not ‘see you next week, hang on until I go back to the cashline for more money!


Unfortunately James, Dorset is a fair drive from Glasgow & I don’t have connections at your end of the country, so I’m afraid your best option is to find maximum info from the  website link posted below, & use this as a ‘really professional benchmark’ to select your ideal nearest welder training place.


& just a tip: always ask the cost of training & certification at every opportunity as it varies widely, especially the re-training or training refreshers.


Welder Training and Qualifications - Doosan Babcock


 BS-EN 287-1 welder approval will get you a stick welding job anywhere in the world, but the hard part is getting a start as an employed welder in the first place, because without real practical experience, you will probably not get even the offer of an interview unless the prospective employer is stuck for welders in Holland or somewhere! 



Before you throw the best part of a thousand quid away, please do your homework as regards the availability of a job that pays the rate of a genuine coded welder & don’t go to Holland or anywhere without knowing exactly & in writing how much you will be paid when you get there!


Any further questions James, just ask.




& Daniel asked the following Question:

>I would like to know what kind of welding methods you need to be coded in, to start a welding career on off-shore platforms, as it would qualify as industrial welding I guess?

What path of studying would you recommend for a prospective welder with above mentioned aspirations?

I would be very grateful for any info you can provide me with.


My best answer:

& I started typing as usual.....


Welding for the offshore Gas and Oil industries is top spec stuff.

In the main, it applies directly to Stick Welding, as this is the main mode of welding employed.

Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) which is MIG, is also used, but not to the same extent as stick.

MIG welding is the favorite of on-shore fabricator’s for nearly all industry, due to its speed and cost efficiency.

The important factor, whether stick welded or mig welded, is the simple fact that all welds produced must be of the highest standard, therefore all finished welded products are rigorously tested using xray, ultrasonic, magnetic particle (non-destructive testing (NDT) ) & various destructive testing where required.

The integrity of the actual weld deposit & welder training and certification is therefore strictly controlled to ensure defect free joining of metals.

There are several types of ‘welder coding’, and each applies to the specific mode of weld metal deposition (weld process) such as gas shielded mig welding with solid filler wire, or gas shielded with flux cored filler wire, TIG welding or stick welding.

The most popular commonly known coding is ASME IX, (pronounced  asmey nine) (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) ,and is most suitable for high quality pressure vessels, pipe work, and storage tanks etc.

This is the ‘all bells & whistles’ coding that denotes the welding of steelwork in any position, and of all thickness of steel.

My own welder approval is BS EN 287-1 (British Standard European Standard), and this is the equivalent to ASME IX (USA standard).

Just to really confuse you, Welding Procedure Approval and Welder Approval, are two different things.

An ‘application standard’ or ‘code of practice’ will include criteria or guidelines on material, joint design, welding process, welding procedure, welder qualification and inspection & may have other standards, ie welding procedure and welder approval tests.

The fabricator/manufacturer will normally be required to approve the welding procedure and welder qualification.

The difference between a Welding Procedure Approval and a Welder Qualification Test is this:

  • The Welding Procedure Approval Test is carried out by a competent welder and the quality of the weld is tested & assessed using non-destructive and mechanical testing techniques. The intention is to demonstrate & prove that the proposed welding procedure will produce a welded joint which will satisfy the specific requirements of weld quality and mechanical property.
  • The Welder Approval Test examines a welder's skill and ability in producing a satisfactory & suitable Test Weld. The test can be performed with or without a qualified welding procedure, but, without an approved welding procedure, the welding parameters must be recorded.

The requirements & criteria for approvals are determined by the relevant application standard.

As I mentioned above, BS EN 287, BS EN 9606 and ASME IX would be appropriate for welders on high quality work such as pressure vessels, pressure vessel piping and off-shore structures and other critical products where the consequences of failure, stress levels and complexity mean that a high quality welded joint is essential.

In less demanding situations, for example; small to medium steel building frames and general light structural and non- structural work, an approved welding procedure may not be required.

However, to ensure an acceptable level of skill, the welder should be approved to a less stringent standard e.g. BS 4872.

I hope this gives you a small insight into the complexities of being a
‘Coded Welder’

In practice, it goes something like this: you find a job with a steel fabricator or in a workshop that carries out welding; you spend a bit of time studying weld paramaters, ( machine settings) so that you can become an expert at producing a first class weld.

When you are confident and skilful with your finished work (weld deposit)
, your employer can send you to a recognised welder training establishment for ‘Coding’ (Welder Approval).

This basically entails yourself doing a sample test piece under the supervision of a welding instructor, and he will decide if you are skilful enough to take the full Welder Approval Test.

The Welding instructor will call this your ‘assessment day’.

If you don’t quite make the grade, your welder instructor will recommend that you take some extra ‘Welder Training’ and you will probably spend a day doing practice welding on pipe joints, as used for the real welder approval test.

If you manage to impress your welding instructor with your practical welding skills, then you will probably start your Welder Approval Test within minutes.

My actual tests have always been directly supervised by a Lloyds welding inspector, complete with shirt and tie, who hovers around watching you while you weld!

As soon as your ‘test piece’ is complete and has cooled down, the welding inspector records the details on his paperwork, and the test piece is taken away for testing and inspection.

If your welding skill has satisfied the test requirements, you will probably receive a phone call within a day or so, to tell you of your Welder Approval Test results, and your Welder Approval certificate is posted to you.

My main welder approval certificate was authenticated and processed at my welder training centre, and unfortunately it came printed on cheap A4 paper!

Both sides are printed and require renewal stamps and signatures.

The downside of this however, is that after years of renewal ink stamps, the different coloured inks have leached through the paper and made it look vary tatty, & hence it is sometimes difficult to present this vitally important document to new customers.

So when you get your first Welder Approval Certificate, take your own supply of good quality 100g paper for the approval/test centre staff to use!!!!

I’m not sure what happens if you fail your Welder Approval test, as I haven’t failed so far.

The term 'Coded Welder' is often used to describe an ‘Approved Welder’ but the term is not mentioned directly in any of the welding standards that I have detailed so far.

It is however, used throughout the workplace & industry to describe those welders whose practical skill and technical competence have been ‘Approved’ to the specific requirements of an appropriate standard (Coding).

If you can read between the lines here, you can see that you do not have to be a professor of welding to become a coded welder.

You simply must have the correct basic training and practical skill to complete a real practical welding test which comprises of you welding bits of steelwork together, with a welding examiner present.

There is no heavy written examination, so you do not need to study books for years, and you do not have to know a welding machine inside out.

If your employer expects your practical welding skills to be fully approved, then your employer should provide the required welder training.

This is not cheap however, and it does cost a fair bit of money if you are going from scratch to fully approved.

The best way to become a coded welder, is to seek your employment with a company that supplies high quality welded products and has its own in-house welder training program.

Alternatively, some employers send their welders to certified welder training establishments, to ensure that they are trained to the highest specification, and thereby they can supply their welded products having fulfilled quality assurance requirements, as full product traceability and testing etc is essential in the welding industry.

Many years ago, I failed to get a job with a reputable welding company, because I did not have any qualifications for mathematics when I finished school, so I messed about for years until I was in a position to start my own welding company.

I effectively became my own employer, and paid for my own Welder Approval Test out of my own pocket.

But by this time, I was already very experienced with MIG, TIG, STICK & GAS welding, and I realized that I could increase my earnings with the appropriate Welder Approval qualifications.

If you are relatively new to the welding industry, or you are just thinking about starting in this trade, then I would honestly recommend that you specialize in one type of welding or the other.

You will find it much easier to get to grips with any aspect of welding if you are able to concentrate on one process at a time, conquer it, and then move on to the next process of your choice. 

For example: if you wish to pursue STICK welding, then find a job with a mobile or onsite welding company, as this will be the main welding process used.

If you would prefer to be an expert MIG welder, then find any employment with a workshop based general steel fabrication company.

For TIG welding, find an employer such as catering equipment manufacturers, who mainly use the stainless steel TIG process and MIG Welding is secondary, or look under welding & fabrication: Process Pipework.

Once you have the basics under your belt, you can always ask your employer about welder training and qualification, if you are met with a blank stare, immediately look for an alternative employer further up the quality ladder that can help you to gain your welding goals.

I know this might sound like ‘the long way round’ into a common job, but like all trades, you have to start somewhere, and if you don’t personally know someone already working in the industry, then you have very few options to get the right job first time.

I think it’s a case of ‘never give up’!

But remember this Daniel, you are a ideally looking for someone to ‘hold your hand’ and actually show you how to do it, or alternatively, watch an expert doing it and copy him!

I am currently looking at the options of recording ‘Expert  Welding Instruction on DVD’, and if I can get enough feed back for training or instruction requests from my web sites, then I will do this for real, as I think it is much better to learn welding from watching someone rather than reading it in a book.

I found it impossible to get a top spec welding job without relevant experience, but I could not get the experience without having a Welder Approval Test certificate first!

So it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation sometimes I think.

If you want to teach yourself from books, select your favorite Welding Process, be it MIG, TIG or STICK, and study the Welding Process first; to give you a full understanding of how you can apply it, then study the Weld Parameters of the process so that you know how to setup your welding machine and start practicing.

If you are doing this at home and you do not have access to good quality or industrial welding machines, then find some weekend or evening work at your nearest welding fabricator. 

And just as a side note Daniel, avoid old welding books like the plague, although the basic fundamentals of welding process have not changed very much over the years, the actual welding machines and welding consumables have advanced quite a bit. 

I also took an evening college course, many years ago, just to get a bit of paper that said I could actually produce satisfactory MIG TIG & STICK welds, as most prospective welding employers wanted some kind of certificate that stated that I could weld, before they would give me a job.

It took me the best part of two years to complete this, then when I eventually did get a real welding job, I realized that all the studying and ‘paperwork’ side of the course, was of very little real use. 

In reality, I could have been taught the practical skills, by someone experienced like myself, within a matter of weeks, and learned the weld parameters from a book.

As always, it is often a case of ‘who you know’ not ‘what you know’.

I remember being so disappointed with my first welding employer after spending years trying to get a welding job that I decided that I should start my own welding business, and that’s the truth!

I promote myself
as being a ‘Lloyds Approved Coded Welder’, and the majority of my business comes to my own company through STICK Welding onsite (offshore) or specialist workshop weld repairs and fabrication (onshore but may end up offshore).

t does not however, earn me the most money!

If you would like to know which study materials that I can honestly recommend, or you have any other questions, please just ask. 

Best Regards

my desk is manned every evening

Mark Cowen.

OK other Coded Welders.....

.....How did you get started as a Coded Welder?

Interesting Stories will be greatly accepted!

.....& I have another mountain of explanations on this very specialised subject.

It's just a case of getting it all typed up!.....

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