NSSCS For Clients and Government

NSSCS for Clients and Government

Australian Standard AS/NZS 5131 and the National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme (NSSCS) can be of significant benefit to clients and government.

The benefits to both clients and government include: 

  • assurance that the steelwork contractor is competent as assessed by an expert process
  • assurance that the tender offer is based on a like-for-like quality comparison and not compromised on quality, therefore minimising likely costly rework and remediation
  • helps to manage risk and demonstrate duty of care under the Workplace Health and Safety Act and the ‘Safe Design of Structures’ Code of Practice
  • provides the tools to help fulfil obligations under emerging non-compliant building product ‘Chain of responsibility’ Regulation
  • utilises a steelwork fabricator who has invested in training, apprenticeships, systems and capability over those who quote on price alone
  • support development of a world-class steelwork fabrication industry in Australia. 

The opportunity

The ASI believes we are on the cusp of significant opportunities, for both clients and government in Australia (federal and state), to make a positive difference and show leadership in the areas of construction product procurement in general and supporting a vibrant steel industry in Australia in particular. 

There are specific opportunities to: 

  • establish a rational risk-based fit-for-purpose procurement framework for safety-critical construction products
  • support third-party certification as a responsive solution where appropriate
  • via the mechanism of the NSSCS, support what is in effect a ‘National Technical Prequalification Scheme’, which must provide significant benefits in terms of construction efficiency and cost effectiveness for our community. 

Achieving the quality benchmark

Implementing AS/NZS 5131 and the NSSCS for projects, whether private or public sector, is a straightforward three-step process:

  1. Configure your procurement specification: to reference AS/NZS 5131 and any particular requirements
  2. Nominate third-party certification: in the case of fabricated steelwork, to the ASI National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme (NSSCS). The ‘Recommended contract wording’ can help secure third-party certified fabricators to meet project schedules.
  3. Implement surveillance: to ensure the intent of your procurement specification has been actioned. 

Various state governments either use or are in the process of assessing the use of third-party steel and steelwork certification as a mechanism to meet the quality benchmark expected by our community, following a plethora of steel material and fabrication failures on recent projects, typically supplied from overseas.

Recommended contract wording

A significant and growing number of fabricators have been certified by Steelwork Compliance Australia under the NSSCS. Fabricator certification can be freely checked here. The process of certification is staged, which provides ample flexibility for incorporating certification of fabricators into the project schedule. 

The recommended contract wording recognises that there will be a period of time after the recent introduction of AS/NZS 5131 where the range of fabricators certified under the NSSCS is less than some stakeholders may ideally require. The recommended contract wording provides flexibility to meet project schedule and requirements, allowing project procurers wanting preferred fabricators or a larger pool of fabricators to support competitive tenders for a project. 

Stage 1 of the certification process is a desktop audit only and should be straightforward and quick for quality fabricators to action. Typically, Stage 1 should be complete within two weeks of the fabricator registering a commitment to proceed. Importantly, Stage 1 provides the information necessary for SCA to undertake a gap analysis against requirements for CC2 or CC3 certification, which will help inform tender assessment. 

For your convenience, download Recommended contract wording (PDF).