ACRS Continuation of Certification and Assessment Services During COVID-19 Emergency


ACRS Executive Director, Philip Sanders, confirms continuation of ACRS product certification for conforming steel producers and suppliers, and the maintenance of verified steel supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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From the Executive Director,

As you will be aware, we all face considerable challenges in the coming weeks and months as restrictions put in place to limit the further spread of COVID-19 impact businesses and supply.

ACRS has received enquiries recently from certificate holders, specifiers and purchasing bodies regarding how restrictions on ACRS ability to visit sites domestically and overseas may impact the validity and continuance of the ACRS certificates that they rely on for independent confirmation of steel conformity to AS/NZS Standards.

I am pleased to confirm that ACRS operations have not been interrupted by the current crisis, and ACRS certificates remain fully valid. We are working closely with our institutional stakeholders to deliver ongoing assurance that the wide range of manufactured and processed steels supplied under ACRS certification continue to meet the requirements of both applicable AS/NZS Standards and related Government-based specifications, and meet, or exceed where required, the minimum international benchmarks for continuing certification during extraordinary events.

Fortunately, most ACRS site assessments due for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 have been completed, and the continuing certification of these sites post 1 July is therefore not affected by the current travel restrictions.

At this time, steel mills, rebar processors and fabricators of structural welded sections, supply depots, and construction sites in Australia are not subject to lockdown and wherever possible ACRS assessments at domestic sites will continue as an essential service.

However, restrictions on travel and general movement, together with social distancing policies will have some impact on ACRS scheduling. Due to the current restrictions there will be some domestic sites that we will be unable to assess physically before 30 June 2020. It is also increasingly possible that restrictions may extend longer. If so, assessment of sites due during this time will be also affected. Additionally, ACRS is currently unable to conduct any site assessment outside Australia until we are assured our staff can travel safely.

Regrettably therefore, ACRS will be required to postpone a number of site assessments. Other site assessments remain under review as we continually monitor the situation and respond to developments.

To limit the effects of the current restrictions and speedily resume normal operations upon the lifting of travel restrictions, ACRS has developed detailed, emergency provisions which allow ACRS to continue remote assessment of some site processes and systems coupled with increased market testing of materials, where required, to maintain rigorous and effective certification at the levels expected and required by users of ACRS certificates for the duration of this emergency.

Once travel restrictions are lifted, those sites impacted by the restrictions will be the first ones that we arrange for on-site assessment.

If your organisation is due for a site assessment now, or in the coming few months, your ACRS lead assessor will soon be in contact to discuss which aspects of your site assessment will be conducted remotely, and what levels of reporting and testing will be required to maintain your certification.

All non-site aspects of ACRS assessment such as submission of production data to ACRS for independent analysis, independent sampling and laboratory testing will continue as integral parts of ACRS evaluation and continued certification. Invoices for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 will therefore be issued to Certificate holders in July for payment to the normal schedule.

For all involved in the supply chain, we fully understand every company has its own sourcing policies and requirements, and ACRS will be working closely with you to maintain the highest possible levels of purchasing flexibility, yet not reduce the rigour of the ACRS certification system and its value to certificate users.

ACRS’ temporary emergency measures allow steel purchasers, specifiers and consumers relying upon ACRS certificates to remain assured that the manufacturers and suppliers currently supplying to their projects remain ACRS Certified.

ACRS uninterrupted certification services mean that you will continue to enjoy the maximum possible choice of independently verified conforming steels. Similarly, ACRS certification will continue to assist suppliers, steel users, and consumers avoid receipt of non-ACRS Approved materials, or mixed supply of ACRS Approved and non-ACRS Approved materials through this difficult time, and you can continue to verify this is the usual way via the ACRS website.

I understand that the current situation has created some significant challenges. However, it is important that ACRS continues to deliver its services such that it maintains the trust and confidence of both the Australian and New Zealand construction communities and of the general public. Your understanding, support, cooperation, and patience in enabling this are appreciated.

If you have any enquiries, please contact ACRS office directly.

Yours sincerely

Philip Sanders
Executive Director

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