Last year, the Australian steel industry introduced a dedicated scheme to enable building design professionals and specifiers to assure steelwork for construction works is fit for purpose and aligned to address potential risk factors.

Australia now has a strong compliance scheme in place, which will provide third party certification of fabricated steelwork, similar to schemes operating in many other countries.

In recent years Australia has become exposed to the full ramifications of a global market in construction product supply. Traders are sourcing steel and steel components on price from anywhere in the world market. The lack of rigour in current Australian compliance regimes (compared with our equivalents overseas like the USA, Canada, UK etc.) covering the supply of structural steel, has led to an unacceptable degree of unsuitable and often faulty steelwork for major development projects in Australia. This issue is compounded as supply chains become ever more globalised.

In a recent survey from the Federal Government sponsored Australian Industry Group, 50 percent of Australian building construction products are non-compliant.

Aside from the safety aspects, the building and construction industries are becoming aware of the cost of rework, disruption and commercial risk associated with non-compliance of construction products. The scheme aims to eliminate these risks to all involved.

The National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme (NSSCS) is based on the European/UK CE Marking scheme as a risk based fit-for-purpose approach to steelwork compliance. Similar to the European scheme the compliance assessment requirements are based on construction categories determined through a simple risk matrix at the time of design. The new independent body, Steelwork Compliance Australia (SCA) was established mid-2014 and has commenced auditing fabricators for compliance.

 

The NSSCS is supported by four pillars: NSSCS Pillars

Fabrication Standard: 

The Australian Steel Institute, Heavy Engineering Research Association (NZ) and Steel Construction New Zealand have commissioned the writing of a Fabrication Code of Practice. This document is a forerunner of an Australia/New Zealand Standard designated AS/NZS 5131 and this provides the basis for capability assessment for the various risk categories determined by the consulting engineers as part of their design.

Conformity Assessment: 

This is the requirement for the fabricator to produce evidence that the project has been supplied in accordance with the client or engineer’s specifications. It consists of a declaration of conformity, valid and compliant material test certificates (steel and bolts) and any welding or other documentation required by the client.

Construction Categories: 

Covered by ASI Technote TN011, this establishes the risk, use and complexity of construction of the project. The basis of the NSSCS is that conformity and capability assessment should be proportionate to the risk categorisation of the structure as is universally accepted across similar compliance schemes worldwide.

Steelwork Compliance Australia (SCA): The auditing authority to ensure that the fabricator is certified with the capability for the required construction category. Fabricators as well as developers, builders, contractors and engineers can access information via the SCA website at http://www.scacompliance.com.au/.