The Australian steel industry has welcomed the new Inquiry approved by the national Senate on 23 June into non-conforming building products as a step in the right direction towards lowering risk for construction projects and the general public. The motion for the Inquiry was moved by Senator Nick Xenophon and co-sponsored by Senators John Madigan of Victoria and Jacqui Lambie of Tasmania amid rising safety concerns about substandard imported building materials and the lack of appropriate governance processes to ensure that appropriate standards are met. The issue became more prominent recently with the release of a landmark Australian Industry Group study which reported most sectors in the building supply chain encountering sub-standard product with the local steel supply chain reporting the highest percentage of non-compliant product (97 percent). This is in line with other advanced economies such as the US where steel building products have been cited as the most counterfeited. The issue is widespread with Australian industry aware that non-compliant construction products have caused the collapse of structures, affected the integrity of glass panels and windows and through fraudulence resulted in engineered timber product delaminating. In parallel with a number of other industry sectors supplying construction projects, the Australian steel industry has embraced independent certification schemes to help reduce supply risks, most recently introducing a third party compliance scheme for structural steelwork. ASI National Manager – Industry Development and Government Relations, Ian Cairns said industry will continue to fight an uphill battle with the rising tide of shoddy building products entering the country without a strong commitment by Government to a market environment conducive to projects specifying to established compliance schemes and helping to hold global supply chains to account. “We call for a ‘whole of Government’ approach to this important issue and ask all State and Federal Governments to support industry-led compliance schemes,” he said. “As minimising risk on new construction projects helps retain and attract investment and preserve the safety of onsite workers and the general public from building failures, it is in everyone’s interest to support legitimate attempts to limit the use of poor materials. The ASI stands ready to assist the Senate inquiry in any way it can.”