NZ Industry acts on steel imports


New Zealand may introduce a European-style compliance regime to ensure the quality of imported steel bolts and components used in construction is maintained.

As reports, this follows concerns that substandard imported parts were being used. The issue was raised with the government by the Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ).

According to the IPENZ, the concern was based only on anecdotal evidence and. "At this stage IPENZ is unaware of the scale of the issue, or whether they were one-off instances," a spokesperson said.

The New Zealand steel construction industry is developing the plan in partnership with the Australian industry.

The European compliance model includes the certification and auditing of "safety critical" steel building components by third parties, as well as random sampling and testing.

According to Alistair Fussell, manager of Steel Construction New Zealand, the system will be first introduced on a voluntary basis and will be incorporated into steel standards over time.

Eventually, imported bolts or prefabricated steel from any non-accredited manufacturers will face costly testing when they arrive in New Zealand.

The problem is not limited to New Zealand. The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) has actually been more outspoken about inferior imported steel bolts and components than the IPENZ.

According to Alan Marshall, a spokesman for the ASI, in the US steel was found to be the most counterfeited building material, while structural bolts were found to be the second most counterfeited.

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