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By Willow Aliento
September 6, 2017
While the Senate inquiry into non-conforming products continues its long, winding and so far inconclusive road, the design and construction industry’s own specification information body has taken action on dodgy materials with a new information resource.
NATSPEC’s new National Construction Products Register is a free, on-line register of construction products used throughout every stage of a job, from preliminaries to final finishings and a fitout.
The first stage is now live, and can be accessed at www.ncpr.com.au or via the NATSPEC website.
It was developed in response to requests from government departments and industry bodies for a means to address the increasing number of reports in recent years of non-conforming products entering the Australian market.
These products have included structural steel bolts, structural plywood products, copper pipe tubing, fire collars and glass sheets. There have also been highly-publicised issues with electrical cable, combustible cladding used inappropriately, products with asbestos, and glass failures.
In some cases, products have been used that have inadequate or even faked evidence of conforming to the applicable Australian or New Zealand standards.
The end result is the safety and quality of Australian buildings is compromised.
NATSPEC CEO Richard Choy said the issue is a complicated one.
“Materials and products move through multiple organisations before they are finished in a built project. Time and cost pressures mean that there is no single body in a position to be responsible for all conformity and compliance checking of the final project,” Mr Choy said.
“The NCPR by itself will not ensure that a product is conforming or compliant. It can only help mitigate some of the risk and provide a focus on the need for product conformity. It will support the great work being done by industry organisations. Everyone in the construction supply chain needs to do their bit. If someone knows conformity will be checked, they will take extra care.”
“The development of the database was slow because the process of checking evidence of conformity includes going back to the party that issued the test certificate/product certification. This has not been as easy as hoped. The database now has over 500 products listed as well as 10 industry schemes that are accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAZ-ANZ). The products listed were tested by a NATA accredited laboratory or provided with a certificate by a JAZ-ANZ accredited body.”
NATSPEC will be adding to the register as products have their evidence verified.
The database information is grouped by product use within the construction process, for example, structure, enclosure, interior, finishes, mechanical and hydraulic. IT also covers general aspects such as documentation, tendering, preliminaries and site and open space requirements.
The register for specific products lists the market name, manufacturer, use, and the evidence of conformity.
Mr Choy said the resource aims to assist industry to mitigate risk in a cost effective way.
The NCPR will eventually have four sections - the freely accessible national products register, a community forum for sharing information, product conformity technical information and technical resources.
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