During the early 1980s the standard for welding procedure qualifications was the BS 4870 series of standards. During the 1990s it was superseded by the BS EN 288 series of standards. BS EN 288 parts 3 and 4 were used to qualify standardised test pieces. Following on from this we saw the withdrawal of the BS EN 288 series of standards as they were replaced by BS EN ISO 15164.

What is the purpose of a Welding Procedure Qualification Test (WPQR)?

A WPQR is a record of a test weld performed and tested to ensure that the procedure will produce a sound / acceptable weld. The WPQR demonstrates that the manufacturer has selected suitable welding conditions – these include variables such as amps / volts, pre-heat, shielding gas, correct coating of electrodes, heat input etc.

If the manufacturer doesn’t select the above variables correctly this could result in the fail of the Welding Procedure Test resulting in no WPQR.


  • WPQR Welding Procedure Qualification Record (EN ISO)
  • PQR Procedure Qualification Record (AWS / ASME)
  • WPS Welding Procedure Specification

The BS EN ISO system as an overarching general rule standard that is BS EN ISO 15607, this defines general rules for the specification and qualification of welding procedures.

Below is a non-exhaustive list for BS EN ISO standards related to Welding Procedure qualifications for Arc Welding:

BS EN ISO 15607 Qualification of Welding Procedures – General Rules
PD / CEN / TR 15608 Guidelines for a metallic materials grouping system. (Welding)
PD / CEN / TR 20172 Grouping systems for materials. European Steels
PD / CEN / TR 20173 Grouping systems for materials. American Steels
BS EN ISO 15609 – 1 Welding Procedure Specification – Arc Welding
BS EN ISO 15613 Pre-Production Welding (Non-Standard Test)
BS EN ISO 15614 – 1 Welding Procedure Test. Arc and gas welding of steels and arc welding of nickel and nickel alloys
BS EN ISO 15614 – 2 Welding procedure test. Arc welding of aluminium and its alloys
BS EN ISO 15614 – 3 Welding procedure test. Fusion welding of non-alloyed and low-alloyed cast irons
BS EN ISO 15614 – 4 Welding procedure test. Finishing welding of aluminium castings
BS EN ISO 15614-05 Welding procedure test. Arc welding of titanium, zirconium and their alloys
BS EN ISO 15614-06 Welding procedure test. Arc and gas welding of copper and its alloys
BS EN ISO 15614-07 Welding procedure test. Overlay welding
BS EN ISO 15614-08 Welding procedure test. Welding of tubes to tube-plate joints
BS EN ISO 15614-10 Welding procedure test. Hyperbaric dry welding
BS EN ISO 15614-11 Welding procedure test. Electron and laser beam welding
BS EN ISO 15614-12 Welding procedure test. Spot, seam and projection welding
BS EN ISO 15614-13 Welding procedure test. Upset (resistance butt) and flash welding
BS EN ISO 15614-14 Welding procedure test. Laser-arc hybrid welding of steels, nickel and nickel alloys

Welder and Welding Operator Qualifications

  • The definition of a welder is a person that holds and manipulates the electrode or torch by hand
  • The definition of a welding operator is a person who operates welding equipment (not held by hand) but still has the ability to manovere the torch by mechanical means

Welder Qualification

The purpose of welder qualifications is to test the skill of the welder and the ability to follow a verbal or written instruction (WPS). The welder qualification test condition will give a range of qualifications dependent on the chosen test condition, the more difficult the condition (e.g. welding position, joint type, filler material) the greater the range of qualification given by the relevant standard.

The BS EN ISO 9606 series also identifies the possibility of the welder undergoing a job knowledge test – this is not mandatory unless otherwise specified in a contract/application standard.

Welding Operator Qualification

The purpose of a welding operator qualification is to ensure that they can follow a WPS and demonstrate the ability to operate the equipment they are using in production. Under BS EN ISO 14732 there is a mandatory functional knowledge test and optional job knowledge test.

The USA have their own qualification standards, these are ASME 1X for pressure related products i.e. piping and pressure vessels. For the structural industry they utilise AWS D1.1