Since 1st July 2014, it has been a legal requirement for all fabricated structural steelwork delivered to site to be CE Marked. It is now unlawful to place structural steel products or fabricated structural steel on the market if they are not CE Marked. Placing structural steelwork the market that is not CE marked (or incorrectly CE marked) is catered for within the regulations with fines up to €500,000 and/or imprisonment.
Clients and Main contractors should only consider steelwork contractors with the execution class and technical competence required for the project.
Existence of a Factory Production Control Certificate and Welding Certificate does not guarantee competence or compliance for a project. This should be done by audit prior to contract award and subsequent surveillance audits by competent personnel depending on the criticality of the structure/execution class.
If a building is handed over to the client and it is determined that the steelwork has not been fabricated in accordance with the harmonised standard and engineers specification then it cannot be put into service until the steelwork has been replaced. In this case, any claims or penalties imposed on the owner or builder by the HSA would not be covered by insurance and the steelwork contractor (along with whoever else had a role in building the structure) could be found negligent.
Clients, contracting authorities, designers and specifiers should amend their project specifications to include references to the new standards. As structural steelwork is a safety critical product clients, main contractors and engineers should also ensure that the work is performed in accordance with EN 1090-2 and the Project Specification. In certain cases, an independent inspection authority should be appointed to verify compliance with the technical requirements.
Engineers, main contractors, building control officers and farm building inspectors need to gain technical knowledge on how to assess the competencies of steelwork contractors, specifically relating to welding of structural steelwork.
Insurance companies that insure suppliers of structural steel should ensure that these suppliers are fully compliant with the required standards and are working within their technical capability and correctly CE marking their products.
This requirement represents a major development for:
- Steelwork Contractors
- Designers & Specifiers
- Clients & Main Contractors
- Building Control Officers
- Assigned Certifiers
- Insurance Companies
To achieve CE marking certification, companies must have an audited Factory Production Control (FPC) system in place. A key aspect of the FPC system involves a Welding Quality Management System (WQMS) to EN ISO 3834 and the requirement for a Responsible Welding Coordinator.
The approximate costs to achieve CE Certification are as follows:
- Execution Class 1 - Small Steelwork Contractors - €4,000 to €6,000
- Execution Class 2 - Small Steelwork Contractors - €6,000 to €10,000
- Execution Class 2 - Large Steelwork Contractors - €12,000 to €16,000
- Execution Class 3 & 4 - Steelwork Contractors - €20,000 to €22,000