Since the early 1970’s, the pipeline construction and operation industry has supported the development and implementation of various material standards and specifications. The emphases within the pipeline energy industry was to standardize manufacturing and performance testing processes in the provision of a product which would ensure public safety and reliability of service. The pipeline segment of the energy industry has succeeded in incorporating minimum quality levels by way of industry standards, codes, regulatory requirements and propriety company standards. In addition to these minimum product requirements quality assurance programs have been introduced to enhance the likelihood of conformance to the applicable requirements. In 1975, Canada became the first country to prepare and publish quality system standards for commercial use (Z299 standards). International quality system standards development proliferated in the following years, leading to the establishment of the ISO/TC 176 work team which subsequently led to the issue of the internationally accepted ISO 9000 series of standards.

This paper will review both the concept and stages of development of CSA pipe and coating standards. It will also analyze the impact that international standards for Quality Management Systems are having in establishing systematic approaches to assessing levels of quality during material manufacture. Finally, a vision of the possible road to the future will be drawn and the positive impacts for the pipeline industry will be projected from a full life cycle cost perspective.