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How can you be certain of your building materials’ source?


Ensuring that steel that’s supplied is exactly what was ordered is critical. There is always a risk in complex supply chains that the specified requirements of steel have not been received or understood. 

From our view across ANZ and global steel markets, we increasingly see steel products being rejected when their traceability can’t be verified. The traceability of reinforcing or structural steels is required for compliance with New Zealand standards, because these materials are safety critical so ensuring they perform as specified by the designer is of utmost importance. 

Making sure steel complies

The ACRS certification process required manufacturers of reinforcing and structural steels to demonstrate traceability for all products. To become ACRS certified, manufacturers and processors of reinforcing and structural steels must demonstrate they have procedures to ensure traceability from point of manufacture to site, and that the product meets the requirements of the relevant Australian/New Zealand Material standards. Fabricators of structural elements also need to demonstrate that the materials utilised are compliant with the relevant New Zealand standards and also have full traceability. Typically this is achieved by purchasing ACRS-certified product and using third-party fabrication schemes such as the SCNZ Steel Fabricator Certification (SFC) scheme to verify compliance with the structural steel fabrication and erection standard.

The role of building officials

Although not involved in the day-to-day processes of procuring and verifying compliance of steel products, building officials have a significant role to play by ensuring that buildings are compliant and fit-for-purpose.

Firstly by ensuring that the specifications delineate materials and processes with third-party certification to demonstrate compliance – such as the ACRS scheme, which includes traceability. 

Secondly, during construction, building officials should ensure that the appropriate documentation from the reinforcing processor of the steel fabrication is provided. This documentation must demonstrate compliance with the material standards and full traceability of products. Specifying ACRS-certified materials and processors assures this is true and easily verifiable.

Everyone is striving for buildings that are durable and fit for purpose. Ensuring that materials used in the built environment are compliant and meet specifications is key. The ACRS scheme – which rigorously audits manufactures and processors of reinforcing steels annually by independent assessors – provides assurance that the products covered by its certificates have been manufactured in a conforming manner, and that traceability of the product back to the mill can be obtained.


By Dr. Andrew Wheeler, Executive Director, ACRS

By Andrew Wheeler, Executive Director, ACRS

This article originally appeared in BOINZ Straight Up Magazine, Summer 2023 Edition. You can access the full edition and past editions here >

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