Many pipe support problems may be minimized or avoided if proper attention is given to the means of support during the piping layout design phase. The piping designer’s familiarity with support problems, accepted practices, and commercially available pipe support components and their applications is extremely important.
Pipe support specifications for individual projects must be written in such a way as to ensure proper support under all operating and environmental conditions and to provide for slope, expansion, anchorage, and insulation protection. Familiarity with standard practices, customs of the trade, and types and functions of commercial component standard supports and an understanding of their individual advantages and limitations, together with knowledge of existing standards, can be of great help in achieving the desired results.
Reference Codes and Standards
● MSS SP-58, Materials and Design of Pipe Supports
● MSS SP-69, Selection and Application of Pipe Supports
● PFI ES-26, Welded Load Bearing Attachments to Pressure Retaining Boundaries
● WRC Bulletin 198
● National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
● American Welding Society (AWS)
● American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)
In Britain the pipe support standards are
● BS 3974, Specification for Pipe Supports, Parts 1, 2, and 3
● BS 5135, Process of Arc Welding of Carbon and Carbon Manganese Steels
In Germany the pipe support standards are
● DIN EN 288, Specification and Approval of Procedures for Welding Metallic Materials
In Japan it is Meeting Notification 501.
Piping systems must comply with the code(s) of jurisdiction.
Unless complete design details are provided by the engineer or piping system layout designer, the final responsibility for selection and design of pipe supports capable of completely satisfying the system requirements and job specifications rests with the pipe support engineer and/or designer. Any piping system is inoperable until the pipe hangers and supports have been selected and installed. Experience shows that a high percentage of pipe support problems cannot be recognized during a cursory examination of the piping drawings but await a detailed analysis by those responsible for the design of the support and the preparation of specific material lists and details. In the interest of properly coordinating support installations with the piping erection schedule, priority should be given to the selection, design, and procurement of pipe support components.
The dollar value of the support system is generally outweighed many times by the value of pipe, valves, and fittings which are to be supported. Failure to allow sufficient time for the design, procurement, and fabrication of the supports can lead to costly erection delays and the use of temporary supports.
Pipe supports are generally identified by a specification type number, such as a type 3 double-bolt pipe clamp, as in MSS SP-58, or by a manufacturer’s part number, a descriptive name, and size. The latter depends upon the type of component; e.g., pipe attachments, such as clamps, are prescribed by pipe size, upper attachments are identified by rod size, and variable springs are sized by the calculated load to be supported. In addition, pipe support components vary in their load-carrying capacity. The load capacity of each type of pipe support component is given in most manufacturers’ catalogs, load capacity data sheets, or design report summaries. Various components and their functions will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent sections.