This paper presents a brief history of the evolution of the Central Electricity Generating Board’s (CEGB) R-6 failure assessment diagram (FAD) procedure used in assessing defects in structural components. The reader is taken from the original CEGB R-6 FAD strip yield model to the deformation plastic failure assessment diagram (DPFAD), which is dependent on Ramberg-Osgood (R-O) materials to general stress-strain curves. An extension of the DPFAD approach is given which allows the use of material stress-strain data which do not follow the R-O equation such as stainless steel or carbon manganese steel. The validity of the new approach coined piecewise failure assessment diagram (PWFAD) is demonstrated through comparisons with the J-integral responses (expressed in terms of failure assessment diagram curves) for several cracked configurations of non-R-O materials. The examples were taken from both finite element and experimental results. The comparisons with these test cases demonstrate the accuracy of PWFAD. The use of PWFAD requires the availability of deformation plasticity J-integral solutions for several values of the strain-hardening exponent as well as uniaxial tensile stress-strain data at the temperature of interest. Lacking this information, the original R-O DPFAD approach using known engineering yield and ultimate strengths would give the best available approximation. However, it is strongly recommended that actual uniaxial tensile stress-strain data be used when available.