The supply of an unacceptable degree of non-compliant, unsuitable and often-faulty building products is increasingly being seen in building, infrastructure and resources projects in Australia, ranging from small local developments to major projects involving international teams.
Alarmingly, a recent Australian Industry Group (AiG) survey reported that 95% of respondents surveyed in the steel product sector reported non-conforming product in their supply chain.
While our Standards suite in general, and AS/NZS 5131 in particular, provide a technically sound foundation, and the National Structural Steelwork Specification (NSSS) provides a robust implementation of AS/NZS 5131 in project process, the checking and auditing of deliverables is vitally important to achieve the quality and risk-minimised outcomes our community expects and our regulatory system requires.
Unfortunately, it is not straightforward to properly check the deliverables from the steel fabrication or erection process. Documentation requirements are substantial (as would be expected) and many processes such as welding are considered ‘special processes’, meaning the outputs cannot be readily checked without destroying the component. Hence, the inputs must be controlled and managed to ensure fit-for-purpose outcomes.
The ASI developed the National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme (NSSCS) to help manage and control the fabrication and erection process, hence ensuring fit-for-purpose deliverables. Industry association-led compliance schemes are commonplace in the UK, US, Canada and Europe. In Europe there is, in addition, a legislated mandatory construction products regulation.
New Zealand has joined Australia in developing an industry-led compliance scheme based on AS/NZS 5131.
The ASI NSSCS is an independent third-party quality compliance and certification system for supply, fabrication and erection of structural steelwork in Australia. The technical basis for the NSSCS is founded on AS/NZS 5131 Structural steelwork – Fabrication and erection and is applicable to structures designed to AS 4100 (structural steelwork), AS 5100.6 (bridges) and supporting Australian Standards, including those for welding, bolting and corrosion protection.
The NSSCS comprises four supporting pillars:
Responding to market demands particularly in the Government sector, for independent accreditation of the Scheme, ASI is working towards having the Scheme accredited under JAS ANZ.
Update March 2019: We are pleased to announce that the Scheme itself has been reviewed and approved by JAS ANZ – see the acknowledgement.
Links to UK and USA compliance schemes: