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Heat exchanger standards

There are various standards, codes and quality control guidelines that apply to the design and manufacture of heat exchangers. These include industry codes such as ASME, PD500 and EN13445, manufacturing standards like TEMA and API, plus standards such as ISOs. Find out more about the various heat exchanger standards below.

Interested in a custom heat exchanger? Learn more about the key considerations for a bespoke heat exchanger.

ASME codes for heat exchangers

ASME is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, founded in 1880. They work in various sectors and have produced over 500 different standards for manufacturing. This includes codes for boilers and pressure vessels, under which heat exchangers fall.

What are the ASME codes?

The ASME’s International Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) contains 11 sections, with over 15 divisions and sub-sections. It’s a comprehensive document that covers a wide range of different boilers and pressure vessels.

See ASME’s brochure on the International Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.

The section that applies to most heat exchangers is ASME VIII.

It includes rules and recommendations for:

  • Materials (ASME II-A, B, C, D)
  • Design (ASME VIII Div I & Div II)
  • Testing & Inspection (ASME V)
  • Welding (ASME IX)

The codes cover almost all areas of the construction of heat exchangers. The only exception is the type of service loads (other than pressure) and the thermal design. Each heat exchanger manufacturer will use its own thermal model to design the heat exchangers.

You can read more information about how heat exchangers are made on our blog.

European Standards

There are a variety of additional heat exchanger standards used in European manufacturing.

PD 5500

The PD 5500:2021 standard is for unfired, fusion-welded pressure vessels. Like other similar standards, it includes specifications relating to the design, fabrication, and inspection of pressure vessels, including heat exchangers.

It was formerly a British standard called BS 5500.

EN 13445 Standards

The BS EN 13445 series includes all parts of the European pressure vessels standards. It’s written to go with the PED.

A new version was released in 2021 and covers:

  1. General information on the design and manufacturing
  2. Materials
  3. Design
  4. Fabrication
  5. Inspecting and testing
  6. Cast iron vessels
  7. Aluminium
  8. Nickel


CODAP (Code de construction des Appareils à Pression) is the French code for the manufacturing of unfired pressure equipment, such as heat exchangers. Similar to other heat exchanger standards around the world, the CODAP code ensures that heat exchangers are safe and of high quality.


Pressure Equipment Safety Regulations 2016 (PER)

These are UK only regulations that came into force when the UK left the European Union. They apply to the design and manufacture of pressure equipment exceeding maximum allowable pressures of 0.5 bar. It also applies to accessory equipment used in pressure equipment that fits this scope, such as a safety temperature switch.

The Pressure Equipment Safety Regulations work in conjunction with designated standards for PER.

Pressure Equipment Directive

The Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) is mandatory in the European Union when manufacturing pressure equipment, or selling it into the EU. It applies to equipment with a maximum allowable pressure greater than 0.5 bar gauge.

PED is designed to streamline and speed up the legal process so a manufacturer doesn’t need to go through a local approval regime in every country member of the EU.

Once you meet the requirements of the Directive, you can apply the CE marking to the products.

CE vs UKCA marking

The difference between CE and UKCA marking is simply whether the product is approved for sale in the EU or the UK.

CE marking is used on a wide variety of products within the Single Market in the European Economic Area (EEA). If a product has CE marking, it indicates that the product has been assessed and meets the standards for safety, health and environmental protection in the EU.

The UK is no longer part of the EU and, since 2021, uses UKCA – although most products can still use CE until 2023 to aid with the transition. It stands for UK Conformity Assessment and is used for goods sold within Great Britain.

The requirements for both are much the same, as are the conformity assessment processes and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity.


NORSOK standards were created by the Norwegian petroleum industry and are essential for manufacturing heat exchangers to sell in Norway.

There are various standards within NORSOK. For example, the R-001 describes the technical requirements for mechanical equipment, including pressure equipment such as heat exchangers. The M-001 describes the material selection, and the P-001 describes the process design.

TEMA Standards

TEMA standards are perhaps the most widely used heat exchanger standard for manufacturing shell and tube heat exchanger designs. TEMA is the Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers Association, an association of manufacturers of shell and tube heat exchangers. This would complement the industry Code or be the first protocol called upon when no industry Code is being used to design a heat exchanger.

TEMA have produced a set of standards to ensure the quality of shell and tube heat exchanger design and manufacture.

Most shell and tube heat exchangers manufactured around the world are done so to TEMA standards. The TEMA Standard includes 10 sections covering nomenclature through to the physical properties of fluids used in heat exchangers.


API standards relate to the manufacturing of equipment and parts for the oil and gas industry. The two API standards that most relate to the manufacturing of heat exchangers are API 12 and API 560 (Fired Heaters for General Refinery Service) – both of which we use at Sterling TT.

  • API 660 is used on Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers
  • API 661 is used on Air-cooled Heat Exchangers / Air blast / Fin Fan Coolers
  • API 560 is used for air preheaters, for example.

ISO Certification

Manufacturing sites of heat exchangers should be certified with ISO 9001:2015. This ensures consistent quality of heat exchanger products.

Both of our manufacturing sites at Sterling TT (in Aylesbury and Birmingham) are ISO 9001:2015 certified.

Sterling TT is based in the UK but designs and manufactures bespoke heat exchangers internationally. Our heat exchangers adhere to international standards, and we have experience working to national standards around the globe. We regularly work with NKK (Japan), ABS (US) and DNV (Norway) to name just a few.

If you’re looking for a reliable industrial heat exchanger manufacturer, get in touch with us today.