There are many pump standards used in the pump industry today. These standards may be national, international, industry specific, company specific or project specific. This is the first of a two part article in which we will attempt to outline the more commonly used pump specifications within Australia; specifically the organisations that either prepare or certify pump specifications.

Industry standards set protocols on design, material, methods, performance, testing and much more.

Standards are critical to efficient and effective specification and product development, saving time and money and ensuring reliability and safety.

There are many national specifications e.g. Japanese, British, Australian, etc., however the vast majority are based on ISO standards or reference other standards such as API. Project specific specifications would generally reference other standards.

The following should be noted:

1. Many pumps available on the market today do not comply with any documented standard. This does not mean that these pumps are not of excellent quality or fit for purpose.

2. If the intention of a buyer is to define compliance with a specific standard, ensure that it is relevant to the application. For example, specifying API compliance for a building services application does not make any sense.

3. Any pump specifier should take care that defining compliance with a particular specification does not disqualify other suitable pumps. For example, specifying ANSI B73.1 may disqualify offers of very suitable pumps complying with ISO 5199.

4. There have been a number of instances where compliance with more than one pump specification is detailed. This may appear to be a safe process however this often causes confusion for a pump supplier as there may be contradictions between the two standards.


Standards Australia – AS

Standards Australia is the nation’s peak non-government Standards organisation. It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia’s need for contemporary, internationally aligned Standards and related services.

It leads and promotes a respected and unbiased Standards development process ensuring all competing interests are heard, their points of view considered and consensus reached.

International Organisation for Standardisation – ISO

The International Organisation for Standardisation, widely known as ISO, is an international-standard setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organisations.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organisation promulgates worldwide proprietary industrial and commercial standards.

It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. While ISO defines itself as a non-governmental organisation, its ability to set standards that often become law, either through treaties or national standards, makes it more powerful than most non-governmental organisations.

In practice, ISO acts as a consortium with strong links to governments.

ISO classifies pumps as Class I, II and III, with Class I having the most stringent requirements. The selection of class is determined by the application and the intention is that it is agreed between purchaser and supplier.

It is impossible to standardise the class of technical requirements, however, the criteria for class determination may include reliability, required operating life, operating conditions, environmental conditions and local ambient conditions

It is possible that pumps built in accordance with Classes I, II and III may work beside one another in the same plant.

American Petroleum Institute – API

The American Petroleum Institute, commonly referred to as API, is the main US trade association for the oil and natural gas industry, representing about 400 corporations involved in production, refinement, distribution, and many other aspects of the petroleum industry.

The association’s chief functions on behalf of the industry include advocacy and negotiation with governmental, legal, and regulatory agencies; research into economic, toxicological, and environmental effects; establishment and certification of industry standards; and education outreach.

API both funds and conducts research related to many aspects of the petroleum industry.

In the next article, we’ll continue our look at organisations that prepare and certify pump specifications, covering the American National Standards Institute, the Hydraulics Institute, the National Fire Protection Association, FM Global and Deutsches Institut für Normung.

Article courtesy of Kelair Pumps Australia “When Pump Knowledge Matters”. Phone: 1300 789 466 or visit

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