New Zealand’s structural steel fabricators are showing strong support for the industry’s recently launched quality assurance scheme – Steel Fabricator Certification (SFC). One year on, the number of firms who have achieved SFC certification has doubled to 16, with a further 17 lining up to go through the process.
As with many construction materials, the current compliance regime for structural steelwork relies, for the most part, on self-inspection and self-certification. This approach is dependent on the expertise, ethics and quality systems of the fabricator, and on the knowledge and expertise of engineers and welding inspectors to assess if the steel supplied is compliant.
Significantly, the SFC scheme provides independent expert certification of New Zealand fabrication companies to ensure they have the appropriate personnel and procedures to consistently produce work of the required quality.
Steel Construction New Zealand manager Alistair Fussell says the industry-led SFC scheme gives certified New Zealand fabricators an important point of difference, particularly compared with imported prefabricated steelwork.
“Booming construction activity, particularly in Christchurch and Auckland, has led to rising demand for all materials, including structural steel. However, there have been cases of imported steelwork with missing paperwork, or where the steelwork does not meet the required specification, leading to costly project delays.
“SFC, on the other hand, provides procurers and specifiers, such as engineers, architects and contractors, with more certainty of product quality and significantly reduces compliance risk.”
SFC-certified companies now span the entire country from Whangarei to Dunedin.
“The support from fabricators to date shows just how committed they are to providing compliant product of the highest quality for building and infrastructure projects up and down the country,” Mr Fussell says.
Developed jointly by industry bodies Steel Construction New Zealand and the Heavy Engineering Research Association, the SFC scheme is based on the European system, which is based on European system and represents international best-practice.
To begin, the scheme will focus on structural steel fabrication; in the future, modules will be added to include site erection and coatings.
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