One of the difficult things about being an engineer (…besides everything you’ve just thought of…) is being able to recognise your own competency. 

Knowing your own competency is essential, especially in high-risk industries like pipelines and other potentially hazardous industries.  Similarly, knowing the competency of the others around you is essential too.

Not often contemplated is that there are two kinds of competencies:  knowledge, and behavioural competencies.

A person can be very competent in knowledge, but behave terribly: unethically and without principles.  That makes the knowledge, while useful, perhaps less value. On the other hand, you can have an ethical, principled person who keeps making mistakes.  Neither is a good situation.


The contents of pipelines are, more often than not, flowing under pressure. A factor in the design and operation of pipelines, is whether it is designed to operate at “high” pressure or “low” pressure.  The lines into our houses operate at a very low pressure.  The cross-country transmission lines flow at a high pressure.

Those of us who work with pipelines are also, often, under pressure.  Sometimes low pressure, and sometimes high pressure.  There are budgets, schedules, compliance, and safety issues to face. 

It’s a pressure we are proud to bear: we are serving society and responding to customer needs. But often we’re faced with difficult situation and scenarios, that test our principles, test our ability to handle the pressure.


There’s now a reference resource to help. The Australian Pipeline and Gas Association (APGA), in conjunction with the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre (FFCRC), have published a guidance document to help with the scenarios we face. It was put together by a group of industry leaders – many of whom are part of this wiki and blog.

The publication can be found here: Public Safety in the Pipeline Industry: Engineering Practice Guide.

AS 2885 supporting documents

We have added to some links to potentially important background information, with the relevant page copied verbatim below. The documents were originally published over 10 years ago and became unavailable for a while but remain important.

This is not exactly bedtime reading. In fact parts of it can be quite dense and difficult to digest. But sometimes if you are grappling with the interpretation of AS 2885, or trying to understand why it says what it does, you might find this useful. In fact, you might as well download the two documents right now and file them somewhere handy.

In preparing each revision of AS 2885 the committees have often prepared Issue Papers that discuss a topic in detail and conclude with recommended changes to the Standard. These are working papers that tend to be abandoned when sufficient work has been done to reach a recommendation, even though the document may in some ways be incomplete or unpolished. For this reason most are not suitable for publication. However for the revision of Part 1 in 2007 nearly 80 Issue Papers were prepared and later edited for publication in 2010.

Since 2010 all Parts of AS 2885 have been revised, in some cases very substantially. However each revision of a Standard tends to build on the work of the previous revision. Hence much of the 2010 background documents remains valid as an explanation and justification for current content of Part 1 and to some extent Part 6 (which was split out from Part 1 in 2018). Users who refer to these documents must form their own judgement about the applicability to the current revision of the Standard. Note that the clause numbers referred to in the Issue Papers are for AS 2885.1-2007 and will be different for the 2018 Standards.

This Issue Paper publication project resulted in two large PDF documents:

  • “The APIA Guide to AS 2885”, August 2010
  • Appendix 2 to the Guide, “Issue Papers Prepared as Basis for AS 2885.1, Revision 2007”

APGA members can download them from the APGA Knowledgebase. Due to idiosyncrasies in the Knowledgebase metadata they are best found by searching for the date on which they were added to the Knowledgebase: 12/07/2021.

Some pages in this wiki refer to specific Issue Papers from the 2010 suite.

Over 60 Issue Papers were prepared prior to the 2018 revisions of Parts 1 and 6 but remain in their incomplete and unpolished state. The intellectual property of these papers lies with APGA. They may or may not be made publicly available in future. Requests for background information or copies of particular Issue Papers will be considered and may be granted depending on circumstances.