What 95% of Structural Steel Fabrication Companies don’t want you to know!

The below blog will potentially enlighten a number of structural and construction manufacturers and service providers, who really should be aware of the below required accreditation, their chosen and preferred suppliers should be able to demonstrate

In July 2014 a new EU regulation came into force which meant there was a legal requirement for all structural steel fabricators to have an accreditation in place that enables them to “CE Mark” any of the 71 products covered by the regulation that they may sell for structural purposes. (C.E. are the abbreviations of the French phrase ‘Conformite Europeen’, which literally means European Conformity)

This standard is known as ISO 1090 and if steel manufacturers do not have this accreditation, they are “technically” selling steel for structural use illegally. The industry has been very slow on the uptake with this regulation and most seemed to hope it would just fizzle out. However, the larger fabricators have put this system in place and QuTec has chosen to follow suit, in pursuit of new market opportunities in construction & structural steel fabrication.

There are around 9,000 fabricators in the UK and less than 5% currently have this accreditation. Even less are actively pursuing implementing this requirement into their businesses, as the cost is around £15,000. Therefore trading standards has agreed there would be an additional period of grace to allow steel fabricators to attain this accreditation.

The main areas concerned with achieving accreditation are:

  • All welders have the correct qualifications
  • The company appoints a “responsible welding coordinator” to monitor and sign off the quality of the welding on a regular basis
  • Welding consumables are themselves CE marked – the idea being, that all aspects of the production of a structural component are traceable and controlled.

What is CE Marking?

CE Marking of construction products was introduced in the Construction Products Directive (CPD) in 1988. The CPD is a European Directive that seeks to remove barriers to trade and applies to all construction products permanently incorporated in ‘construction works’. This includes steel products such as steel sections, structural bolts, welding consumables and fabricated steel components that are used in buildings, bridges, highways and other civil engineering structures.

On 1st July 2013 the Construction Products Directive (CPD) was replaced by another piece of EU legislation called the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The main change is that unlike a European directive a European regulation is mandatory in all member states including the UK.

What are companies doing to get ISO 1090; CE Marking?

1. ISO 9001 – the organisation will have implemented quality management system requirements for all areas of the business including:

  • Facilities
  • People
  • Training
  • Services
  • Equipment

2. Welding Qualifications – all welders who weld structural steel will need to have the qualification BS EN 287-1 or ISO 9601-1. And the company will have its own in house Responsible Welding Coordinator (RWC).

3. UKAS Certification – finally, an examining body (in QuTec’s case; BSI) registered with UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) audits the standard, which involves three main stages:-

  1. An audit of the Factory Production Control (FPC) System.
  2. A design evaluation – carried out as a desktop assessment & involves assessment of the mfrs. design protocol and associated calculations by a structural engineer.
  3. The assessment of welding and welding requirements (usually carried out at the same time as the FPC audit)

4. Surveillance audits (only applicable once CE certified). An initial audit in the first year then a surveillance visit the following year, then 2 years later, then three years later.

Having successfully passed our full audit process, which followed a 12 month lead in, QuTec has now been issued with the EN 1090-1 accreditation. We are now qualified to certificate our packaging and products.

In parallel with ISO 1090, QuTec Pershore LTD are also upgrading our ISO 9001:2008 accreditation to ISO 9001:2015 standard and expect to be fully accredited by September 2018.

So if you want to ensure your steel component or fabrication requirements are fully covered by this new regulation, look no further and please contact us.

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QuTec Pershore Ltd Metal Pressings & Fabrication Specialists

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