CRN Introduction

Canada's system for registering pressure vessels and fittings is confusing to people encountering it for the first time. It is more restrictive, more expensive, slower and more difficult than any other system. This introduction covers the basics.

Quick Links

What Gets Registered?

Both Canada and the United States use the ASME Section VIII-1 code for pressure vessel construction but Canada has a CSA B51 standard that provides a more restrictive definition of what a PRESSURE VESSEL is. Canada also registers FITTINGS - items that in other countries would be considered too small to need registering. Likewise we also register many PIPING SYSTEMS in Canada. All vessels, fittings and piping systems need to be built under appropriate quality control programs.

Key Point: Canada's system is more restrictive than other countries.

Who Does The Registration?

Each province does its own registration and provides a CRN number which is put on the vessel nameplate. The Atlantic Canada provinces and the northern territories have joined together to use one registration organization, ACI Central. We have 13 provinces and territories, but to register across all of Canada, you must register with 7 Organizations or Jurisdictions.

Key Point: Canada's system is really a series of provincial systems. Calling the registration system a Provincial Registration System would be more appropriate.

Key Point: You must register in EACH and EVERY province you will be using your equipment in.

What about National Board?

Saskatchewan is the only province that recognizes the internationally recognized National Board registration system as an acceptable alternative to CRNs, although an additional Saskatchewan filing fee also has to be paid per vessel. Vessels that are CRN registered can also be National Board Registered if desired. If a vessel is built outside of Canada for Canadian use, it must be both CRN registered and National Board registered.

From B51-97 page 20 4.11:

Manufacturers in the USA who manufacture and export boilers or pressure vessels to Canada shall hold an ASME Certificate of Authorization and ensure that all boilers and pressure vessels are stamped with the appropriate ASME Symbol and registered with the National Board.

Key Point: Fabricators outside of Canada must also register with National Board.

Those who take a historical interest in rules and regulations would find strong correlation between Canada's current system and the American system before the development of the National Board registration system in 1919-1921. History of National Board

What does the CRN Number Look Like?

CRNs take various forms - 5AN0123.5, 357.1, M0123.2, OH9999.3 could all be legitimate CRNs registered in one jurisdiction only - the number after the decimal point. For example AN0123.5 is registered in Ontario (5).

A design can be registered in more than one jurisdiction - ie 357.12 - a design first registered in B.C. and then in Alberta. The first digit after the decimal is important. 357.21 would be a different vessel first registered in Alberta, then in B.C. A design can be registered in all the jurisdictions which would look like this - 357.2134567890NYT and can be shortened to 357.2C. The first jurisdiction of registration is always shown (2 or Alberta in this case). The C indicates that every jurisdiction has been registered.

Note: piping registration numbers do not always indicate which province they are registered in: P30337 is a piping system registered in Ontario.

Note: Fitting registration numbers often start with a zero and follow with the category. Example 0A357.2 for a category A fitting and 0B357.2 for a category B fitting. See "Do I Have a Vessel or a Fitting?" for more information on fittings.

Map of Canada showing where National Board is accepted.

When Should I Apply for a CRN?

The CRN should be applied for before construction begins. To quote B51 -

Acceptance and registration shall be obtained before construction is commenced.

For a foreign manufacturer who has a finished vessel, and has been told on the shipping date that the vessel is bound for Canada, this can be a problem. In reality, this requirement varies by jurisdiction.

The Ontario vessel act offers this alternative:

4.(2) A person who submits a design submission for registration may commence construction of the boiler, pressure vessel, fitting or piping before the submission is registered if the person assumes all risks related to the construction, whether for an installation or alteration.

The CRN can usually be applied for at any point in the construction, the risk is that if any changes are required from the review, the vessel will need to be reworked or scrapped. The earlier the CRN can be applied for, the better. See the Provincial Review Times page. Many Canadian manufacturers really do not wait for their CRN before starting production - it takes too long.

Key Point: Register as early as possible! Allow for unusually long "review times" - avoid situations where you can be hurt by liquidated dammages clauses caused by slow CRN reviews.

CRNs - Frequently Asked Questions

Does my product need a CRN? Check here: Do I Have a Vessel or Fitting and here: Piping - Do I Need a Registration.

Do I need to hydrostatically test my fitting? Hydrostatic or pneumatic test requirements for a fitting depend on the standard that the fitting is designed to.

For example if B31.3 is used as the design code then: "Prior to initial operation and after completion of the applicable examinations required by para. 341, each piping system shall be tested to ensure leak tightness." (345.1)

For example if B16.5 (pipe flanges and flanged fittings) is used as the design code then: "Flanges are not required to be pressure tested" (8.1) however, if the item is a flanged fitting, then "each flanged fitting shall be given a shell pressure test" (8.2.1)

For example if B16.9 (factory made wrought buttwelding fittings) is used as the design code then: "Hydrostatic testing of wrought fittings is not required by this standard." (10)

For example if B16.34 (valves - flanged, threaded and welding end) is used as the design code then: "Each valve shall be given a shell test..." (7.1)

For example if VIII-1 (pressure vessels) is used as the design code then: "A hydrostatic test shall be conducted on all vessels..." (UG-99(a)).

What happens if I Don't apply for a CRN? There are a large number of fittings, piping systems and pressure vessels in use in Canada that require CRNs but were never registered. These products are often uncovered during authorized inspector visits or insurance audits. If a product is discovered while it is in use, then someone has to go through the effort to get it registered at that point. If it cannot be registered then it must be replaced.

I can't get my jurisdiction to answer my questions - what should I do? First ensure you are giving them all the information they need to answer your question? We suggest submitting the application in writing along with all required information. Include a purchase order and required upfront fees the same as if the product is being registered. Ask for a response in writing. Having a letter on file stating that your vessel does not need registering is useful during an audit. Saying that you talked to someone and they said that your vessel was okay will not work.

What paper work do I need to get a CRN for a Vessel or Fitting? See How to apply for a CRN

Is my Quality Control system acceptable? Pressure Vessels: ASME U stamps are required for pressure vessels. Fittings: various quality control systems are acceptable for fittings such as ASME U stamps and ISO 9001 certificates. There is no standard to determine if the scope of an ISO certificate is acceptable. Acceptability varies by reviewer. Sometimes one reviewer in one province will accept the scope and in another province it is not accepted. The fitting then can only be registered and used in some provinces.

Do I need a professional engineers stamp on my submission? See Provincial Contacts

How long will it take to get a CRN? How much will it cost? Is it worthwhile? See Review Times

Do I need to update my Pressure Vessel calculations with each code revision? Manufacturers have to re-run or review the calculations each year to determine that the design is still valid. The authorized inspector confirms that the calculations are current or reviewed. (This is the same requirement for National Board fabrication.)

What Material can my Fitting be made from? SeeUnlisted Materials

Can I make my Fitting from plastic? Yes - see Registration of Plastic Fittings

Can I use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to design to VIII-1 (Pressure Vessel Code)? SeeNozzle Pro and Evolving Acceptance.

How long can I manufacture Pressure Vessels to my CRN? The CRN for a pressure vessel is valid for the life of the vessel. For a manufacturer, the CRN can be used until the code changes enough to require the design to be changed.

How long can I manufacture Fittings to my CRN? The CRN for a fitting is valid for 10 years. After that time, the design must be re-registered. For a fitting registered across Canada, all the CRNs expire once the first CRN expires. The expiry date is written on the documentation you get back from your jurisdictions.

Do I need to update my Fitting calculations with each code revision? Calculations are not normally updated until it is time to re-register the design.

I manufacture a fitting that will have my customer's name on it, not mine. How do I register it? The logos that will be affixed to the product need to be indicated on the statutory declaration. Multiple logos can be registered. If the logos will not fit on the box on the statutory declaration page, put them on an additional page.

I need to change the design of my vessel. Do I need to get it re-registered? Typically the answer is yes. Some leeway is granted if the change does not alter the calculation set. For example, you add another nozzle to a vessel identical to one that already exists, and the nozzles are far enough apart that they do not interfere - no new CRN is normally required. If the nozzle requires new calculations, then normally the design will need registering. Enquire with your jurisdiction for more info.

Can I change the operating conditions on my vessel without re-registering it? Maybe - if the calculation set does not need to be re-run because of the change, then you might not need to re-register it. Call your jurisdiction.

I need to modify a registered vessel. Do I need to re-register it? If the calculations do not need to be updated then the answer is probably no - example, addition of a nozzle identical to one already on the vessel that is not too close to another nozzle - then you will probably not need to re-register it. You must contact your local authorized inspector. Note: work must be performed by a company with a valid QC certificate like an ASME "R" stamp.

I have a used vessel that was registered in another province. Do I need to re-register it to move it to my province? Yes - you need to submit the original calculations and drawings or re-create calculations and drawings if the originals cannot be found. Requirements vary, but most commonly the calculations need to be re-run using original year of construction stress allowables, but using the latest code rules. A photograph of the nameplate and the manufacturer's data report are required. A used vessel might need some inspection like ultrasonic testing to prove that the vessel is still adequate. The installation location will be required. For typical requirements see Safety Authority. Note: for many older vessels the impact test requirements cannot be met.

I have a new vessel from another country. Can I get it registered in Canada? Maybe - are the calculations and drawings available? Is the code of construction acceptable? The most difficult vessels to register are done in codes other than ASME with non ASME materials.

I am importing a machine from another country that has a piping system that needs registering. Can I do this or do I need to scrap and replace the piping system? The piping system will need to meet all the requirements of a Canadian registered piping system - acceptable quality control program, acceptable materials, CRNs on all the fittings, calculation set, a drawing with identified code materials.

We have been involved in imported machines with piping systems not built to Canadian standards but requiring registration. The process can be very long and expensive (think more than 1 year). It is often easier to start from scratch.

Do I need to label the CRN number on my vessel? Yes - stamp the CRN number on the code nameplate. On my fitting? No, but the manufacturers logo (as shown on the statutory declaration form) must be visible on each part. Per CSA B51 2009-5.4 Fittings: Fittings shall be permanently marked as required by MSS SP-25.

Do I need a CRN for a pump? No.

Do I need a CRN for an air compressor? No - but volume bottles between compressor stages and air receiver cylinders need CRNs.

Do I need a CRN for hydraulic components? No - except in circumstances of high operating temperatures. This varies by province.

Do I need a CRN for pneumatic cylinders? No.

I can't get my product registered but my competitor who makes the same product the same way I do succeeded - is there anything I can do? Plan A - CRNs are not permanent - for a fitting it will expire after 10 years. You can wait until they try to renew and see if they get accepted. Renewal is not a rubber stamping process - full engineering documentation the same as an original submission is required. Plan B - Document and complain. CRNs can be revoked if you prove that a manufacturer is not following the rules of the codes that they claimed when registering. Start with the first province of registration - if that province cancels then all the other provinces will automatically be cancelled. Because we at PVEng Ltd. believe that there already is enough pain built into the whole CRN system by its design, we will not help companies with this un-registering process.

Can I have more than one manufacturer build FITTINGS for me under 1 CRN? Each fabricator would need to declare their own statutory declarations and provide proof of a suitable QC program. If the jurisdictions can register them together they will, otherwise separate numbers will be issued. This is most likely to work if each fabricator was a different branch of the same company.

Can I have more than one manufacturer build VESSELS for me under 1 CRN? Yes, all provinces except Saskatchewan allow this. The registration covers the design and assigns it to an owner. The authorized inspector will determine that an adequate QC program and suitable quality control procedures will be followed during the construction. Note that this assumes that all manufacturers have a legal right to build the vessel granted by the owner of the design. See Move or Name Change for more information.

Can I build more than one PIPING system from my piping registration? No - piping systems are registered to an installed address. Unless the installed address remains the same, then each identical copy would need re-registering.

More Information:

TSSA's guideline for non nuclear fittings.

You can purchase the Canadian B51 standard from CSA (1-800-463-6727 or 1-416-747-4044).

(See the TSSA or Alberta Boilers Safety Association web site for more useful information.)

Disclaimer: While every effort is made to make these pages accurate and up to date as the CRN system changes, this information is only the opinion of Laurence Brundrett P. Eng., President of Pressure Vessel Engineering Ltd. Please consider this an introduction - the first 20% of the information you require to navigate the CRN system.