News and Updates
ACRS March Newsletter07-Mar-2022
Pre-qualification an important safeguard in current market conditions
ACRS is pleased to see international travel restrictions starting to ease. Unfortunately at this stage, the same cannot be said for disruption across the global supply chains.
With the challenges in supply of steel products over the last eighteen months, ACRS has continued to field numerous enquiries from industry stakeholders, both locally and internationally, as they seek independent verification that the steel they are ordering is pre-qualified to meet the relevant Australian and New Zealand standards.
While ACRS is pleased to see demand for its services continue to grow, in our day-to-day discussions with consultants, builders and authorities we are surprised by the volume of steel supply that fails to demonstrate compliance with the relevant standards.
There has been an observed increase in product suppliers who do not understand the requirements of the standards, thus elevating the risk of supply of nonconforming materials. Specifying and calling up ACRS certified steel provides end users with the confidence that the Standard requirements, whatever they might be, have been pre-qualified and are being met on an ongoing basis.
ACRS Certification is dependent on suppliers meeting the relevant Scheme rules and complying with the relevant Australian/New Zealand standards on a continuous basis. The annual audits and quarterly checks against performance requirements mean ACRS has the ability to issue non-conformance, thus ensuring the expected quality is continually maintained. If necessary, at any time ACRS may suspend or terminate certificate holders due to non-conformances.
Hence, we strongly recommend that procurers/users of ACRS products regularly check the ACRS web site, prior to placement of orders, to ensure that certificate holders are current and certified for the products being supplied. It should also be stressed that these checks should also include processors of steel products as well as the manufacturers of the materials. (https://www.steelcertification.com).
Rapidly growing demand for sustainable steel
Even in the year since ACRS and UK CARES launched the Sustainable Constructional Steel certification scheme in Australia and New Zealand we have been impressed by the increasing rate of demand for sustainable steel. The consulting fraternity along with many of the major builders are now looking closely the sustainable credentials of building materials with structural/reinforcing steels being one of the focal points.
There remains a big range of evidence points for how companies assess sustainable steel. While steel Environmental Product Declaration forms are finally getting the recognition they deserve in Australia and New Zealand, there is still a long way to go to ensure consistency in assessment, scrutiny and presentation of open-source information.
This is where the Sustainable Construction Steel Scheme is an ideal additional resource. As an internationally recognised scheme, independent from the producers, the ACRS SCS Certification scheme is about delivering certainty to industry. Certainty that the sustainability claims being made regarding a steel product have been independently checked and the provider is working towards net zero by 2050, with measures against industry benchmarks.
If you have not already had a look at the scheme, I would recommend it is worth taking the time. (https://www.steelcertification.com/sustainability-certification)
ACRS certification helping small businesses
In my twenty years in the construction industry, I have always stated that a quality system is not about getting a tick in a box, but it is about understanding the systems, implementing checks through the processes to ensure quality. The net result will be the supply of a quality product and a better bottom line.
This was evident for a small, independent rebar processor, in Sydney, who went through the ACRS certification process in 2021. Moving through the application and to progress the audit process they had to ensure they had a good technical understanding of their processes and have tools for measuring and monitoring the quality.
Following the submission of their application, the ACRS’ independent assessors spent a number of days at their facility confirming their processes met the requirements of the standards. With the successful audit the business secured it’s ACRS certificate.
The owner of the business was delighted with the immediate benefits. Not only had his business been able to improve its systems and operations, leading to important efficiencies and cost savings, they had also been able to secure new clients, whom prior to their ACRS certification would not employ their services. They are now supplying to a number of major infrastructure projects.
This is typical of a small business that recognises the benefits of a good quality system. This NSW site has seen so many advantages through being ACRS certified that the business is now looking to ACRS certify its facilities in other states.
Please keep safe and well, and importantly if you have any questions around steel certification please don’t hesitate in contacting me.
Acting Executive Director, ACRS