This month the 2011 edition of our most widely-used welding standard AS/NZS 1554.1 was superseded by the published 2014 edition.

The expectation is that the new edition of the standard will now be implemented by all users.

Standards are periodically reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date with developments in technology, to take account of changes to other Standards and specifications that are referenced in the Standard, and to clarify clauses that for whatever reason may not be clear to users.

While in the 2014 Edition there are no major changes, there are some updates that users will need to heed.

Summary of changes

1. Consumable standards

For GMAW the long-used AS/NZS 2717.1 has now been superceded by the ISO based AS/NZS 14341, and likewise for submerged arc welding AS 1858.1 has been superceded by AS/NZS ISO 14171.

2. Parent materials

It is now a requirement that test certificates must include total boron, and that should a steel sample contain equal or greater than 0.0008%, it is deemed non-prequalifed. For weld heat-affected zone (HAZ), Charpy testing shall be performed in lieu of the parent plate Charpy tests.

3. Lamellar tearing

More attention is paid to this with Section requiring consideration of parent material through-thickness loading. New Appendix H provides guidance on the selection of materials for the avoidance of lamellar tearing.

4. NZS 3404.1

Clarification is provided in 4.1.1 for New Zealand users where welding procedures are required to be approved by the design engineer or their representative (the “Principal”) prior to the commencement of welding.

5. ISO Terminology for welding positions

Now added in Table 4.1.3 and 4.1.4.

6. Consumables

  • Clarification is provided for consumables with both T grading and M grading (i.e. TM grading) is added to Section
  • Guidance on the selection of welding consumables suitable for weathering steel not listed in Table 4.6.1(C) should be sought from the steel manufacturer.
  • Self-shielded flux cored consumables: where used in combination with other consumable types, test specimens shall be taken from the zone of intermixing.
  • Appendix F now provides new guidance on how establish equivalence with ISO-based consumable standards; this is useful when revising older WPSs to take account of current standards.

7. Welding procedures

  • Required extent of testing. Table 4.7.1 now specifically requires completed welds to be visually examined; this was not a specific requirement previously.
  • For non-prequalified parent materials, the required extent of testing is the same as for non-prequalified welding consumables; previously this was only a recommendation.
  • The welding procedure specification must now be made available to the welder at the workplace.
  • The permitted heat input range (see Clauses 4.11 and 5.3) should be shown on WPS documents and be calculated using low-low-high (amps-volts-welding speed) parameters for the minimum arc energy and high-high-low (amps-volts-welding speed) parameters for the maximum arc energy.
  • Test reports that may be used for revalidation or prolongation of welder qualification should include WPS number, date welded and welder identification (section 6.8).
  • Section 4.2(b) clarifies what constitutes “Production of documentary evidence of relevant prior experience by the fabricator’ as a qualification method for procedures.
  • Prequalified joints for hollow sections in Table E4 have had joint identifications re-numbered and root gap dimensions revised. A prequalified joint for hollow sections (Figure Note 2) now requires that the values for the width of the root gap shall be established using welding procedure qualification tests.
  • The definition of GMAW now includes waveform controlled welding such as ‘synergic’, ‘programmable’, and ‘microprocessor controlled’ processes (e.g. pulsed spray transfer or controlled short circuit transfer).

8. Welder Qualification Tests

The welder is now allowed to remove minor imperfections by grinding, except for the capping run for which only to stop and restart may be ground; see

9. Fabrication

To prevent melt-through permanent steel backing materials must be of sufficient thickness. Recommended minimum nominal thickness of backing bars is shown in Table 5.2.4.

10. Inspection

  • Qualification options in Section 7.2 for the welding inspector in addition to the existing formal qualifications now include “other qualifications and experience acceptable to the principal”
  • Parent metal discontinuities which interfere with the examination should be reported to the principal and included in the test report.

11. Qualifications and responsibilities of Welding Supervisor (Section 4.12.1)

There are significant changes from the previous Edition and this reflects the increased emphasis on quality management in current welding related standards. Also the new requirements are quite specific in setting out what is included in welding supervision.

  • The qualification requirements now place a greater emphasis on the need for a formal qualification such as AS 2214 or higher; experience alone is generally not going to be sufficient for the role of welding supervisor.
  • The welding supervisor shall ensure that all welding is carried out in accordance with the drawings, plans, the qualified WPS, any other documents, and the requirements of the Standard.
  • Checks and tests shall be conducted as necessary prior to assembly, during assembly, during welding, and after welding to ensure that materials and workmanship meet these requirements.
  • The welding supervisor shall take remedial measures in cases of imperfections.
  • The welding supervisor may undertake welder qualification tests for those welders under their supervision during the welding, and may also issue and prolong welder qualification test certificates.
  • Completed welds shall be visually examined.


With the release of the new Edition users need to be aware that keeping things up-to-date will mean some updating of documentation such as procedure qualification records and welding procedure specifications.

The summary above is provided as an overview only and users will need to obtain the current edition and make the necessary changes to their systems and documentation. To assist users of the Standard, upcoming HERA News will include further articles on the more topical items.

The changes in the qualifications and clarification of the responsibilities of the welding supervisor will mean some fabricators will need to consider formal training for staff performing this role.

Procedures and record keeping may need to be upgraded to ensure that it can readily be demonstrated that supervision tasks are being carried out. HERA’s Welding Supervisor Course is on again this March in Christchurch and Auckland.

This provides an ideal opportunity to get up to speed with the new requirements for supervisors in AS/NZS 1554.1:2014 with the benefit of obtaining a qualification in welding supervision that can lead onto welding inspection for those looking for on-going professional development.


Five parts updated and published

  • AS/NZS 1554.1:2014 Structural steel welding Part 1: Welding of steel structures
  • AS/NZS 1554.3:2014 Structural steel welding Part 3: Welding of reinforcing steel
  • AS/NZS 1554.4:2014 Structural steel welding Part 4: Welding of high strength quenched and tempered steels
  • AS/NZS 1554.5:2014 Structural steel welding Part 5: Welding of steel structures subject to high levels of fatigue loading
  • AS/NZS 1554.7:2014 Structural steel welding Part 7: Welding of sheet steel structures

Some of the parts include some important changes the users should be aware of. Therefore always make sure that the latest version of the standard is used.

Update shared by our General Manager Welding Centre Dr Michail Karpenko & Senior Welding Engineer Alan McClintock