Steel Fabrication Certification
Steel Fabrication Certification (SFC) is a certification scheme to ensure participating steel fabricators and component manufacturers have the capability to manufacture product to the requirements of AS/NZS 5131 (Structural Steelwork – Fabrication and Erection). SFC provides procurers and specifiers with not only greater certainty of product quality, but that they are dealing with a company who has proven procedures and personnel that, together, represent international best practice.

SFC’s focus is on quality assurance and reducing risk for procurers and specifiers. As with many construction materials, the current compliance regime for structural steelwork relies, for the most part, on self-inspection and self-certification. But 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 and component manufacturing companies to ensure they have the appropriate quality management systems in place that enables them to consistently produce compliant fabricated product of the required standard.

The SFC scheme will be a key point of difference for local fabricators in the face of competition from imported pre-fabricated structural steel, which can be of uncertain provenance and quality. To begin, the scheme will focus on structural steel fabrication; in the future, modules will be added to include site erection and coatings.

Developed by the Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) and Steel Construction New Zealand (SCNZ), SFC is based on the European system, which forms part of the CE marking regulatory environment and represents international best practice. And while a number of similar steel quality management programmes exist internationally, the European scheme is the only mandatory certification system for structural steel worldwide.

Initially the SFC scheme will be voluntary, relying on market forces to drive its uptake. SCNZ and HERA have worked with the Australian Steel Institute to develop a Code of Practice in the hope that it is adopted as an AS/NZS standard and integrate the SFC’s technical and quality requirements into a regulatory framework.