Prioritizing Fired Equipment Upgrades Using Screening Checklists

By Ted Hoffman, PE (AK, SC)


A challenge in industry is prioritizing operating issues or the potential for an incident with fired equipment without incurring substantial assessment costs. A conceptual level compliance screening checklist is a cost-effective solution that systematically prioritizes fired equipment upgrade projects. This assessment tool determines conceptual compliance of a facility’s Burner Management System (BMS) with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or American Petroleum Institute (API) standards. It highlights important findings for a facility’s fired equipment system.


A conceptual compliance screening checklist is particularly beneficial for:

  • Companies who recently invested in a new facility or purchased an existing facility

  • Aging fired equipment that has not undergone recent upgrades

  • Fired equipment with an uncertain adherence to codes and standards

  • Personnel who are unfamiliar with the operation or condition of the fired equipment or want a better understanding of the unit

Company managers are often faced with deciding which projects and actions items should take precedence at their facilities. If no action is taken or there are unknown issues, unaware personnel could be at risk. On the other hand, a full gap assessment on every piece of equipment can be an enormous undertaking and significant expenditure, and this level of detail may be premature. A screening checklist provides a balanced solution for identifying potential areas of deficiency and prioritizing those areas. It can also serve as a conceptual Basis of Design (BOD) for a potential upgrade/replacement project and may support an order of magnitude cost estimate for the subsequent project stage.


As fired equipment ages and codes and standards evolve, companies may be completely unaware of a serious issue. A screening checklist allows companies to make informed decisions on their fired equipment and prioritize potential upgrades. It is the first step to being proactive to potential fired equipment hazards.




Fired Equipment, NFPA 85, 86, 87API 538, 556 Gap Assessment Risk Combustion