ACRS

ACRS - Frequently Asked Question

  1 Why have ACRS?
   

In the Australian and New Zealand construction industries, local builders have come to expect construction materials to comply with all relevant Australian/New Zealand Standards. However, with reinforcing, prestressing and structural steels now sourced from many suppliers, both within Australia and from other parts of the world, this is no longer necessarily the case.

 
  2 What is the aim of ACRS?
   

The aim of ACRS is to provide specifiers, builders and final owners with independent assurance that all reinforcing, prestressing and structural steel materials delivered to sites throughout Australia and New Zealand meet the relevant standards and are fit for the purpose intended by the user.

 
  3 Is ACRS independent?
   

We are transparent & completely open about this – ACRS is an independent body, completely self-funded by its activities. It is not beholden to any interest group or other party. Yet, we understand that we must not just be impartial - we must also be seen to be impartial. And we work constantly to maintain this stance through our member companies and the board of directors.

 
  4 So, who runs ACRS?
   

ACRS was set up as an independent, non-profit organisation by a number of industry groups and associations. Further groups have since joined and now the number of ACRS member companies stands at 15.

To maintain our impartiality, a member company may not be a company that is, or might be, certified by ACRS.

Member companies include associations representing building contractors, academics, engineers, government bodies and specifiers. Steel manufacturer and processor groups are restricted to a minority and currently number 4 of the 14 members.

We are currently in discussions to bring further building industry groups into ACRS to ensure we are as representative of the industry as possible.

ACRS daily operation is managed and overseen by an independent Board of directors through the Executive Director.

(For further information see "Board")
 
  5 Does ACRS set the “standard”?
   

Standards Australia, Standards New Zealand and other recognised bodies set the “Standard” in published documents (for instance, AS/NZS 4671 for reinforcing steels, or AS/NZS 3679.1 for structural steel bars and sections). ACRS independently monitors and certifies steel manufacturers and processors to the requirements of these Standards.

 
  6 Is ACRS the only product certification system?
    No.  There are similar 3rd-party product certification schemes in place in many parts of the world and in many industries.  Other Australian industries (some in the construction sector) also operate such systems.
 
  7 Is ACRS compulsory?
    ACRS is a voluntary 3rd party accreditation system – it is not compulsory. However, ACRS accreditation (or another independent system for certification, such as the UK “CARES” system) may be one option demanded by users or specifiers to provide certainty of materials quality for their projects.
 
  8 How much of the reinforcing steel and mesh used in Australia is ACRS certified? What about structural steels?
   

We believe that approximately 70% of steel reinforcing materials and 40% of structural bars, sections and hollow sections supplied into the Australian market is ACRS certified.  We are obviously looking for this to rise to 100%.

 
  9 Does an ACRS certificate cover all the materials and processes of a certificate holder?
   

Yes.  ACRS operates a policy of "All Products: All Locations". Although ACRS certificates are issued specifically for certain materials: Straight or coil bar, or wire or strand, or hollow or structural sections (or a combination of these) and for reinforcement materials processing (bar or mesh),  a supplier who is ACRS certified MUST be certified by ACRS for all the products they supply to Australian and New Zealand Standards, from all the locations they supply them from, for all the Standards for construction steels that ACRS certifies to.

Should a supplier holding ACRS certification provide materials that are not ACRS certified, but that should be, that supplier would be in breach of their conditions of certification and could face cancellation of their certificates. 

Specifiers and purchasers should acquaint themselves with the different certification categories available in the ACRS Scheme and the extent of and any limitations to the firm's certification under the Scheme.

You should immediately contact ACRS if you find any discrepancies in your supplier's ACRS certification, or if you find you have been supplied any non-certified products.

 
  10 Does ACRS do the same thing as a QA system?
    Compliance with ISO 9000 quality systems guarantees that consistent processes developed by a company are being followed.  It is therefore an important part of any manufacturing or supply system.  However, ACRS is not QA reinvented or merely rebadged. Independent, third-party certification, such as ACRS, is a completely separate, yet complimentary system, required by many Australian and international Standards.  

ACRS formats the tests in a particular manner to the appropriate existing Australian and New Zealand Standards to achieve a uniformity of output. This gives certificate holders and their customers the ability to compare product offerings as well as the confidence that comes from our independence.

 
  11 Is certification restrictive?
    ACRS is not a threat to manufacturers and suppliers, and certainly not to importers – many of whom are already used to such systems in other markets around the world. We certify suppliers from Asia, Europe,  South Africa and New Zealand and we are in regular discussion with entities from still other countries, whom we hope will choose to join us. Locate our certified firms here.
 
  12 Does ACRS increase costs?
    There is no evidence whatsoever in Australia or overseas that such certification systems increase costs to manufacturers, suppliers or consumers as they are already following quality procedures and testing as required by Standards anyway.
 

ACRS compliance costs are measured in cents per tonne, not dollars (i.e. a fraction of 1% of input costs), making ACRS a highly cost effective means of ensuring and advertising product quality and consistency!

Additionally, there is increasing evidence that compliance costs can actually be lowered through ACRS certification in the longer-term, as companies refine their quality processes through ACRS practice.
 
  13 How long does it take to get ACRS certification?
    The time that may elapse between the receipt by ACRS of a complete application form with all necessary supporting documentation and assessment fees and the conclusion of the certification process will vary depending upon the number of sites, products and Standards to be assessed and the number of non-conformances that may be identified. However, 3- to 6- months is a reasonable estimate.
 

About ACRS

The Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels (“ACRS”) owns and administers three consumer-oriented, independent, expert, not-for-profit, third-party steel certification schemes: Product Conformity; Product Traceability, and; Quality Systems.

Our Contacts

Suite 118, 133 Alexander St
Crows Nest NSW Australia
+61 2 9965 7216
Email: info@steelcertification.com
Post: PO Box 1369 CROWS NEST NSW 1585 AUSTRALIA
ACRS Member Companies

ACRS member companies support and represent a balanced range of interests, including government, specifiers, builders certifiers and suppliers. ACRS members endorse ACRS certification though their organisations and practice.