News and Updates
ACRS 2021 Certificates Are Online With Some Important Changes04-Jan-2021
Welcome to 2021! Whilst 2020 has been a year we would all like to move on from, the effects of the last year have created some perverse effects we all need to be aware of and manage. Together with the pain and disruption to all our lives from the pandemic, most businesses have been severely impacted - few more so than steel traders and suppliers, and steel certifiers due to highly globalised supply chains and associated implications for continued effective verification of product conformance in Australia and New Zealand.
As you’ve read in previous ACRS news releases, new Standards were released during 2019 and 2020, some suppliers left the local market whilst others entered, and numerous projects have found that their basic assumption that materials specified and purchased would consistently meet the required standards and specifications have been severely challenged, including that materials would be supplied to projects under ACRS certification, as required. Additionally and separately, the ACRS traceability scheme supports and enhances ACRS product scheme certification, but care still needs to be taken in a more volatile and changeable supply environment.
This ACRS newsletter therefore covers some important recent developments in construction steels and steel supply, and some adjustments and additions to ACRS certification to reflect the new realities and provide continued confidence that materials supplied meet Standards:
- Further developments in the certification of AS 4671:2019 for steel reinforcing materials;
- ACRS accreditation to AS 4100: 2020 Steel Structures complementing ACRS longstanding JAS-ANZ accredited certification of welded sections to AS/NZS 3679.2 2016 Welded I-Sections and AS/NZS 5131: 2016 Steelwork Fabrication;
- Traceability concerns and use of ACRS certification to effectively manage materials traceability (and awareness of misstatements regarding ACRS certification to avoid effective scrutiny of supply of affected materials), and resultingly;
- Changes to ACRS certification and practice, particularly rebar processing and structural welded sections fabrication, to assist steel customers easily confirm the unbroken chain of ACRS certification required to verify only ACRS certified materials have been supplied.
ACRS Certified Steel Reinforcing Materials Manufacture and Processing
The recent release of AS/NZS 4671:2019 and its product requirements initially caused some confusion in the marketplace particularly whether the 2001 edition of AS/NZS 4671 remains valid, or whether the 2019 edition must apply to any supply delivered under ACRS certification. A transition period of 2-years is currently operating and suppliers are progressively moving to the new Edition.
ACRS early JAS-ANZ accreditation to certify to both AS/NZS 4671:2001 and AS/NZS 4671: 2019 has continued to assist suppliers, building surveyors,
government departments and consumers retain confidence in the uninterrupted supply of compliant materials. ACRS is continuing to issue certificates
to AS/NZS 4671:2001 and seamlessly update suppliers to AS/NZS 4671: 2019 as they complete their transition.
ACRS Certified Structural Steel Manufacture and Fabrication: An Integrated 2-Stage System
AS 4100 2020 Steel Structures was released in August 2020 with ACRS JAS-ANZ accredited to include this new edition in certification from November, providing an important link with ACRS existing JAS-ANZ accredited certification of structural welded sections to AS/NZS 5131:2016 Structural Steelwork Fabrication.
With this latest extension to our accreditation, ACRS provides certification across all the necessary standards and government specifications forcibly ending the false claims by some parties that ACRS certification of structural welded fabricated sections does not cover AS/NZS 5131, leaving customers and government departments without their expected coverage by ACRS certification, with consequent contract problems when this was discovered.
As with steel reinforcing materials manufacture and any subsequent processing or fabrication, ACRS certification of both stage 1 Manufactured Product and stage 2 Fabricated Product (structural welded sections) remains a requirement. Any break in the chain of certification renders the materials uncertified, and materials conformity and compliance to regulations must be demonstrated by other means and approved by the appropriate decisions making body.
If you have any questions about:
- the ACRS integrated 2-stage process, or
- questions about the ACRS chain of certification, or
- where ACRS certification is required and you are told that ACRS does not certify structural welded sections to AS/NZS 5131, please contact ACRS directly (details below).
ACRS Certified Traceability
ACRS certification covers traceability between stage 1 (Manufactured Product) certificate holders and stage 2 (Fabricated Product, e.g. processed rebar, steel mesh, and welded structural sections) certificate holders.
Separately, the stand alone ACRS traceability scheme provides an additional, complementary assessment and verification system for non-producer intermediaries in the increasingly complex steel supply chain.
ACRS Traceability Certification, derived from long-established European best practice, showed its value in both prestressing strand and structural sections supply in Australia and New Zealand during 2020.
For example, in prestressing supply ACRS certification and associated ACRS service to stakeholders assisted a longstanding and valued international supplier maintain its supply to both infrastructure and commercial projects.
In other cases, the break in ACRS chain of certification between ACRS Stage 1 and ACRS stage 2 or ACRS traceability certification alerted engineers, builders and government authorities to structural steels supply breaching purchase and supply conditions. Whilst ACRS has worked with affected parties on several such incidences, regrettably from 2021 due to the sheer increase in these incidences during 2020 and the resulting demand on ACRS resources, from January 2021 ACRS will be unable to provide comment and assistance for parties not holding the necessary ACRS certifications.
Important ACRS Certificate Wording Updates – January 2021
To assist users of ACRS certificates more clearly understand the scope of each certificate there have been some significant wording changes this year that you should be aware of
For the various Manufactured Product categories, wording will be similar to:
“Products listed on this Manufactured Product certificate may be relied upon as having the benefit of ACRS Product Scheme certification after any subsequent processing only where cut, or bent, or welded by an ACRS certified processor. For Approval of processed reinforcing bar, refer to the bar processor’s ACRS Fabricated Product certificate.”
For the various Fabricated Product categories, the new certificate wording will be similar to:
Products listed on this ACRS Fabricated Product certificate may only be relied upon as having the benefit of ACRS Product Scheme certification where fabricated from appropriate Approved Materials manufactured by an ACRS certified Manufacturer with the appropriate Scope of Certification.”
It is therefore a very important part of your risk management process that you ensure you receive an unbroken chain of certification for both the steel manufacturer(s) and the steel processor(s) or fabricator(s).
- Always obtain the ACRS certification from all the sources of steel supply, both manufactured steels and processed/fabricated steels. Where necessary, also demand the ACRS Traceability Scheme Certification from your trader or steel stockist to ensure the steel is traceable to origin and the correct standard of supply;
- Check the scope of each certificate to be sure that what you have ordered is what you have received, and importantly;
- Remember, “ACRS certification” of fabricated materials has always covered more than the just the mill of manufacture: You need an unbroken chain of ACRS certification from source to site. Therefore, you must have the appropriate ACRS stage 2 certification from the rebar processor, mesh manufacturer, or structural welded section fabricator, for those materials to be ACRS certified – not just the ACRS certificate of the mill of origin from which the processor or fabricator sourced their basic steel. If you don’t confirm this, you could be in trouble – as so many projects unfortunately discovered during 2020.
Wishing you all a happy and safe 2021.
Executive Director, ACRS