The ASI has welcomed the Western Australian Government’s commitment to supporting steel related businesses in the State to become independently certified to the new Australian Standard covering structural steelwork.

WA Commerce Minister, Michael Mischin announced on 2 December that the latest round of the Government’s Industry Facilitation and Support Program is being devoted to making funding available to support steel fabricators, galvanizers and finishers to meet new national requirements for the fabrication of structural steelwork.

The new National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme (NSSCS) instigated by the ASI brings Australia into line with other advanced markets such as the US, Canada, the EU and UK which rely on established third party verified certification schemes to ensure steel fabrication is fit for purpose.

Companies will be eligible for up to $10,000 in funding or 75 percent of certification costs for the new requirements.

The NSSCS is underpinned by the new Australian Standard AS/NZS 5131 due to be released on 8 December with steel businesses independently audited and certified by the independent body, Steelwork Compliance Australia (SCA) to a range of Construction Categories that link directly to the structure importance levels from the National Construction Code (NCC).

ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said the move demonstrated the WA Government understood the importance of public safety and compliance with quality standards, especially with the global steel glut flooding local markets and non-conforming building products now a major national issue.

“Clearly, the Government appreciates the value of the new NSSCS as the quality benchmark to recognise those members of the steel fabrication community capable of supplying specific quality outcomes,” he said.

“It’s all about lowering project risk, which is ultimately in the public interest, by helping manage exposure and facilitate proper duty of care considerations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act (Safe Design of Structures).

“Certification is in effect a national technical prequalification scheme which in time should also result in enormous efficiency gains in the tendering process for both procurers and fabricators.”

The AS/NZS 5131 funding round closes 31 January 2017.