Steel standard effectively law

22 May 2019

The Australian Standard for Structural Steelwork – Fabrication and Erection (AS/NSS 5131) will effectively become law.

How? It will be referenced in the steel design standard AS 4100 Steel Structures in the National Construction Code. And, as a result, AS/NZS 5131 will be equivalent to law.  
Why? In Queensland, support is increasing for the inclusion of AS/NZS 5131 in Queensland Government contracts. This is backed by more engineers specifying the ‘Construction Category’ as detailed in the standard
and references AS/NZS 5131 in project documentation.
In Queensland we also have the non-conforming products ‘Chain of Responsibility’ legislation, which means if you’re part of the building product chain, you’re required to take responsibility for conformance of your product.
What’s this mean for you?
Given the increased reliance on AS/NZS 5131 by government and engineers alike,as a builder, you should be aware of your obligations under the Standard.
Are there benefits?
AS/NZS 5131 and the National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme substantially minimise the level of risk to your projects. How? They greatly reduce the likelihood
of failure and non-compliant steelwork. It is fit-for-purpose and risk based, making
it cost effective compared to specific prequalification. Basically, the scheme removes the guess-work for builders.
How does it work?
Steel fabricators are certified and audited by the independent Steelwork Compliance Australia according to the Construction Categories set out in the Standard.
Engineers confirm the necessary steel fabrication Construction Category in their project specifications.  This sets the correct level of quality and assurance controls to ensure the structure meets their design assumptions and level of risk mitigation under obligations under the federal Workplace Health and Safety Act (2011).
Fabricators certified under the Scheme and contracted for a specific project must have the processes in place to satisfy the Construction Category specified. They must employ trained staff, demonstrate material traceability, and have welding and document controls in place throughout the fabrication process.
The Scheme prequalifies your steel fabricator for you, ensuring you only receive compliant steelwork.
What’s the cost
While using non-certified fabricators may seem cost-effective initially, it is worth investigating how (and why) these fabricators are able to offer reduced quotes.
If you have any questions, a member of our team is here for you, call 1300 30 50 10.

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