In this section
Meeting the quality benchmark
Ensuring compliance to minimise risk
The National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme (NSSCS) supports quality infrastructure for Australian construction by providing a quality compliance and certification system for the supply, fabrication and erection of structural steelwork.
The new Standard AS/NZS 5131 Structural steelwork – Fabrication and erection defines good practice for fabrication and erection of structural steelwork for projects in Australia, using a risk-based fit-for-purpose approach. It provides the technical basis for the NSSCS and establishes a Quality Benchmark responsive to the needs of your project and client.
Steelwork Compliance Australia (SCA) is an independent third-party certification body for fabricators seeking certification to AS/NZS 5131 under the NSSCS.
SCA provides a list of all certified fabricators to the construction industry.
Non-compliant steel product and fabricated steelwork
The supply of an unacceptable degree of non-compliant, unsuitable and often faulty structural steel and fabricated steelwork is increasingly being seen in major development projects in Australia. The repercussions of resultant structural failures have been experienced across the construction industry, causing costly rework and greater public safety risks. A recent Australian Industry Group (AiG) survey (PDF)alarmingly reported that 95 percent of respondents surveyed in the Steel Product sector reported non-conforming product in their supply chain.
There is currently little regulatory pressure in Australia for the independent testing of materials in construction contracts or on design professionals or procurers to take responsibility for construction products meeting specifications. This contrasts with comparable countries such as the USA, Canada, and the EU.
In contrast to the lack of regulatory pressure for third-party testing and certification, the harmonised Work, Health and Safety Act 2011 puts more significant shared
responsibility on all parties in the construction value chain, specifically including manufacturers, importers, suppliers, designers and constructors. A fundamental question that impacts on all stakeholders in the industry and is implicit in
conformance to the Act and Regulations is:
How can you warrant the safety of a structure if you cannot confirm that the safety-critical components utilised in that structure are compliant?
A recently released guide published by the Australasian Procurement Construction Council (APCC) entitled Procurement of Construction Products – A guide to achieving compliance (PDF) (1 Mb) addresses procurement concerns by providing informed understanding and a set of guiding principles which all procurers should reference.
Third-party steel product certification
ASI supports third-party certification schemes for steel at the mill level. Refer Technical Note TN010 Third-party steel product certification. The Australian Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steels (ACRS) offers third-party product certification to manufacturers of structural steel materials who wish to demonstrate conformity to Australian/New Zealand structural steel material standards 1163, 3678 and 3679.1.
National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme - Third-party fabricated steelwork certification
Addressing the question of steelwork compliance for quality and safety goes to the core of the ASI’s efforts to support industry on this journey.