Fourth Class Power Engineer Syllabus - 2012

Reference Syllabus: Effective October 2012

General Information                             


The following syllabus has been approved by the Standardization of Power Engineer Examinations Committee(SOPEEC) and adopted by Technical Safety BC.

This syllabus is intended to assist applicants studying for the Fourth Class Engineer’s Certificate of Qualification Examination in 2012 syllabus which will be offered until October 31, 2020. Examination applicants who complete the Fourth Class Power Engineering course after November 1, 2017 will only be eligible to write the examinations under the new syllabus.

The requirements to qualify for a Fourth Class Engineer’s Examination are outlined in the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation.

Course material: 

Before undertaking a Fourth Class Engineer’s Certificate of Qualification Examination, the applicant must complete a Fourth Class Power Engineering course offered through an approved course provider. The course completion is mandatory before taking the examination. Applicants holding a degree in mechanical engineering (Canadian equivalent) or marine engineer certificate of competency (3rd class or higher) may be exempted from completing a Fourth Class Power Engineering course.


Applicants should review the curriculum document located on the SOPEEC website for more detailed information on the covered materials. It is also recommended that the applicant becomes familiar with the publications listed in the reference material posted on the SOPEEC web site.

Application to undertake examination:

Submit the completed application along with clear copies of prerequisites. Exam application (FRM-1004) and fees must be received and approved before the registration cut-off date in order to reserve an examination date, subject to seating availability. Learn more about the examination scheduling policy

Examination instructions:

There are two examinations (4A1 and 4B1) which are each 3.5 hours long. Each examination consists of 150 multiple-choice questions.

To pass a Fourth Class Power Engineers Certificate of Qualification examination, an applicant must obtain at least 65% of the total marks allotted for each examination.

The following items are allowed in the examination room:

  • Academic supplement containing the Handbook of Formulae and Physical Constants, steam tables and refrigeration tables
  • Extract of CSA standards containing subset of materials from:
    - B51 Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Pressure Piping Code
    - B52 Mechanical Refrigeration Code 
  • ASME Extract containing a subset of materials from sections I, II, IV and VIII of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code
  • ASME Extract Supplement containing subset of materials from sections VIII-UW, IX, B31.1 and B31.3 of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code
  • Safety Standards Act
  • Safety Standards General Regulation
  • Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation;
  • Pens and pencils
  • A non-technical English language dictionary
  • Non-programmable calculator
  • Drawing instruments and drawing templates

Examination applicant’s rules:

  • The applicant must provide valid, current government-issued photo identification to the exam invigilator prior to the examination.
  • Examinees must leave all bags and electronic devices (e.g., cameras, cell phones, digital watches, electronic pens, Google glasses, etc.) in the area assigned for personal belongings before taking a seat. Hats must be removed. No bags and electronic devices (e.g., cameras, cell phones, digital watches, electronic pens, Google glasses, etc.) are allowed to be brought into the examination room.
  • See more details on the examination applicant rules.
  • Any breaches of the rules may result in cancellation of your examination mark, restrictions on your ability to write future examinations or obtain qualifications, assessment of pre-existing qualifications, and suspension or revocation of existing qualifications.




  1. Applied mathematics
    Involves S.I. units; basic arithmetical operations; fractions, decimals and percentages; ratio and proportion;simple algebra; mensuration, length; lines and simple plane figures; and area and volumes.
  2. Elementary mechanics and dynamics
    Definitions of mechanical properties; moments and forces; simple machines; mechanical advantage; scalars and vectors; linear velocity and acceleration; force, work, pressure, power and energy; friction, stress and strain; factor of safety; and power transmission.
  3. Elementary thermodynamics
    Includes basic thermodynamic concepts; temperature and thermal expansion; specific, sensible and latentheat; thermodynamics of steam; steam tables; interpolation; and basic chemical and physical properties.
  4. Mechanical drawing, administration
    Includes mechanical drawing fundamentals, various views, drawing instruments, writing fundamentals; andsentence, paragraph, and memo composition.
  5. Industrial legislation
    -ASME Section VI Thorough knowledge of the Safety Codes Act, Occupational Health & Safety Act, and applicable regulations

    - Codes
  • ASME Section VI       - Recommended Rules for the Care and Operation of Heating Boilers
  • ASME Section VII      - Recommended Guidelines for the Care and Operation of Power Boilers
  • CSA Standard B-51   - Boiler, Pressure Vessel, and Pressure Piping Code
  • CSA Standard B-52   - Mechanical Refrigeration Code
  1. Workplace hazardous materials

    - Classification of Controlled Products

    Labelling of Controlled Products
    Material Safety Data Sheets
  1. Plant safety
  • Costs and effects of workplace injuries
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Isolation of mechanical and electrical equipment
  • Confined space entry
  • Handling of gases and hydrocarbon fluids
  • Hydrogen sulphide safety
  • First aid, CPR, and artificial respiration
  • Safety Committees
  1. Plant fire protection
  • Fire fundamentals and procedures
  • Fires and extinguishing methods
  • Portable fire extinguishers: construction and operation
  • Electrical fires
  1. Environment​​
  • Environmental terms and definitions
  • Gas and noise pollution
  • Solid and liquid pollution
  • Potential environmental impact of liquids
  • Potential environmental impact of vapours
  • Potential environmental impact of operating facilities
  1. Material and welding​​​​
  • Engineering materials: selection and properties
  • Heat treatment and case hardening
  • Fabrication and welding methods
  • Welding processes and electrode use and selection
  • Welding terms and inspection
  • Welder qualifications
  1. Piping and valves
  • Materials: sizes and identification
  • Piping, pipe fittings, and connections
  • Expansion joints, bends, support, hangers, and insulation
  • Drainage: separators, traps, water hammer
  • Valve types: construction and application
  1. High pressure boiler design
  • Development of boiler design
  • Boiler terminology
  • Firetube boilers: construction, stays, tubes, tube sheets, shell
  • Watertube boilers: construction, drums, and walls
  • Electric boilers
  • Boiler construction: support, suspension, refractory
  1. High pressure boiler parts and fittings
  • Combustion theory, composition of fuel, fuel heating value
  • Boiler draft equipment: natural, forced, induced, balanced
  • Boiler combustion equipment: coal, oil and gas burners, and safety
  • Fluidized bed and grate systems
  • Safety and relief valves
  • Water columns and gauge glasses
  • Steam Drum Internals
  • Superheaters, reheaters, economizers, air heaters
  • Insulation
  1. High pressure boiler operation
  • Boiler prestart, start-up, operation, and shut-down
  • Emergency boiler operation
  • Soot blowers
  • Continuous and intermittent blowdown
  • Chemical and mechanical cleaning, boil out, and lay-up
  • Hydrostatic testing, inspection, safety precautions
  • Cause and prevention of boiler furnace explosions
  1. Feedwater treatment
  • External feedwater treatment: filtration, lime soda, zeolite, deaeration
  • Internal feedwater treatment, and testing
  • Knowledge and control of: pH, sludge, scale, foaming, caustic embrittlement, blow-down, and corrosion



  1. Prime movers and engines
  • Heat engines, prime mover terminology
  • Simple steam engine: construction, details, operation and maintenance, lubrication
  • Steam turbines: construction, impulse, reaction, governing, overspeed trip, lubrication, startup, operation, shut-down
  • Cooling towers, condensers
  • Basic gas turbines: construction, applications, open cycle, regeneration, steam, and gas turbine plants
  • Internal combustion engines: construction, working cycles, fuels, lubrication, start-up, operation, shut-down

    Pumps and compressors
  1. Pumps
  • Pumping theory
  • Pump operation and maintenance
  • Reciprocating pumps: simplex, duplex, valves, drivers
  • Centrifugal pumps: volute, diffusers, impellers, wear rings, seals, packing, start-up, operation, and shut-down
  • Turbine pump, rotary pump
  1. Air compression
  • Theory, altitude, barometers
  • Reciprocating compressors: construction, stages, cooling components, valves, control, Lubrication, and operation
  • Axial: construction, components, lubrication, and operation
  • Systems: receivers, intercoolers, aftercoolers, driers, moisture, safety devices
  1. Lubrication
  • Lubrication: principles, lubricants, classes, viscosities, applications, systems
  • Bearing lubrication: operation, maintenance, failure
  1. Electricity
  • Electrical: terms, properties, measurement, and calculations
  • Power and work
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
  • Electrical metering devices: voltmeters, ammeters, wattmeters
  • Conductors, insulators
  • Motors and generators: AC and DC, operation
  • Transformers
  • Electrical distribution circuits, breakers, switches, fuses
  • Safe operation
  1. Controls, instrumentation and computers
  • Instrumentation terms and definitions
  • Methods of process measurement
  • Basic control loop components
  • Basic boiler instrumentation and control systems, gauges
  • Low water fuel cut-offs, mercury switch, thermocouples
  • Boiler programming controls
  • Types of computers: principles, software programs, languages, applications, components
  • Introductory process computer concepts
  • Input and output devices, data recording and storage
  1. Heating boilers
  • Watertube and tubular heating boilers
  • Cast iron sectional and modular heating boilers
  • Firetube heating boilers
  • Oil and gas burners for heating boilers
  • Steam heating boiler fittings, attachments, and auxiliaries
  • Hot water heating boilers; fittings, attachments
  • Hot water and steam heating boiler operation, and maintenance
  • Cleaning, inspection, lay-up, safety
  1. Heating systems
  • Steam heating auxiliaries: radiators, convectors, unit heaters, coils, ventilators, air vents, valves, traps, vacuum pumps
  • Steam heating systems: operation and maintenance
  • Hot water heating auxiliaries: pumps, controls, valves, expansion tanks, converters, radiant panels, snow melt
  • Hot water heating systems: operation and maintenance
  • Warm air heating system equipment
  • Warm air furnace components and maintenance: furnaces, humidifiers, air distribution, troubleshooting
  • Ventilation and air filters
  • Infrared and electric heating
  1. Heating boiler and heating system controls
  • Heating boiler feed water controls
  • Heating boiler operating controls
  • Heating boiler combustion controls
  • Pneumatic controls for heating systems
  • Electric controls for heating systems
  • Electronic controls for heating systems: indoor, outdoor, multi-zone, advantages, disadvantages
  1. Auxiliary building systems
  • Lighting systems: principles, units, incandescent, fluorescent
  • Building water supply systems: operation and maintenance, hot water heaters, controls andprotection, trouble shooting
  • Sanitary drainage systems: maintenance
  • Snow melt systems
  1. Vapour compression refrigeration
  • Safety, CSA B-52
  • Thermodynamics of refrigeration
  • Properties of refrigerants
  • Compression refrigeration systems: components, auxiliaries, relief devices
  • Refrigeration compressor components
  • Heat exchangers for refrigeration systems
  • Refrigeration metering devices and capacity controls
  • Refrigeration cycle controls
  • Refrigeration system accessories
  • Compression refrigeration system: pre-start-up, start-up, operational checks and procedures, shut-down
  • Compression refrigeration system: maintenance, testing, charging, surging, trouble shooting
  1. Absorption refrigeration
  • Absorption refrigeration systems, components, auxiliaries
  • Absorption refrigeration system operation and maintenance
  1. Air conditioning
  • Psychrometric properties of air
  • Applications of the psychrometric chart and comfort conditions
  • Fans for air distribution systems
  • Air conditioning duct systems
  • Coil types
  • Coil operation
  • Humidification, dehumidification
  1. Air conditioning systems
  • Unitary and central air conditioning systems
  • Combined air conditioning systems: components, auxiliaries, operation, maintenance
  • Air conditioning heat recovery systems
  • Air conditioning system controls
  • Heat gains and losses in buildings, system components, auxiliaries
  1. Boiler maintenance
  • Powerhouse maintenance: hand and power tools
  • Powerhouse maintenance: ladders, scaffolding and hoisting
  • Powerhouse maintenance: ropes, cables and fasteners
  • Boiler maintenance: refractory, tubes, stays, safety valves
  • Boiler cleaning, inspection, testing, lay-up, welder qualification
  1. Types of plants
  • Hot oil systems, components, auxiliaries, operation, maintenance
  • Gas plant and pulp mill processes, equipment, operation, and safety
  • Steam related oil, food and sawmill processes