News and Updates
9 common considerations for Rebar Processors applying for certification15-Jun-2023
If you are a Rebar Processer applying for ACRS Certification, or trying to ensure you meet AS/NZS 4671:2019, the following article will help you understand some of the commonly missed or misunderstood sections of the Standard.
ACRS is seeing a welcomed growth in certification applications from Rebar Processors – both long-term established companies, and new players in the market. Rebar Processors seek ACRS Product Certification as a recognition of their ability to process reinforcement to AS/NZS 4671:2019. ACRS Certification gives buyers independentally-verified peace of mind that their product meets necessary Standards.
Have you provided all the necessary documentation?
When Rebar Processors apply for ACRS Certification, there is a list of documentation that must be supplied (this is listed on the application form). When we receive your application, we review the documentation and follow up with a list of questions needed to progress the application. Below are a number of questions we often have to follow up with, and why they matter – you may find it helpful to read these before sending in your application:
- Do you (the processor) have a full document of the Standard: AS/NZS 4671:2019 ‘Steel for the reinforcement of concrete’ to refer to?
Invariably the answer is ‘No, we don’t’, so we request the Processor purchase a copy, review it, and seek any needed clarification. ACRS’ assessments are made against the clauses of the Standard exactly (we do not add additional requirements), so this is the document both sides have to work to.
- Do you test off coil products?
Again, the answer in most cases is ‘no’, and ACRS is often asked why this testing is required if the Processor purchases ACRS-certified feed.
We explain why: we cannot certify a site unless they have a testing program since it is a requirement of the Standard. Test results should be reviewed monthly as required by the Standard, and are reviewed to determine if any action is needed.
- Do you measure Rib Heights and how do you do so?
In many instances rib heights are not measured as required by the Standard, and if they are measured, accurate records may not be being kept.
- Do you have a functional Quality Management System?
‘Yes’: Processors often think they have a QMS, however their QMS documentation may be specifically aimed at management and safety procedures and not focused on the product procedures needed to meet the requirements of Factory Production Control required by the Standard.
- Can you trace the product you are putting out in the market back to the feed material purchased?
‘Yes’: most Processors have traceability systems in place. Documented evidence and examples are required to provide us with the confidence of this occuring.
- Do you have a recall procedure if testing indicates a manufacturing problem?
In most cases ‘no’, Processors don’t have a recall procedure in place since off-coil testing is not being undertaken but they are instead relying on the incoming feed test certificate. This is an essential part of the traceability systems and needs to be addressed in order to meet the Standard.
- For bending – whether in Bar or off–coil – do you have operational procedures stipulating pin diameters based on rebar diameter?
- How are your Operators trained, and do you have records?
- Does the site have a complaint system, and how are complaints reviewed and the learnings actioned?
What happens next?
As a certification body, ACRS is unable to assist the site with preparing necessary documentation or consulting on the same. We can, however, discuss in technical detail the relevant clauses in the Standard and why they are relevant. We will not undertake an assessment until a site can demonstrate that they meet the testing requirements of the Standard. But this does not preclude sites with recently-established testing programmes and procedures to continue testing and evaluation, from securing approval.
ACRS reviews every certified site’s LTQ (Long Term Quality) data quarterly, to determine if the established testing system is maintained and functional. If it is not, certification will be revoked. All non-conformances (NC’s) issued at the assessment are followed up to ensure verifiable close out. It may require an additional onsite assessment to verify NC closure before certification is issued, depending on the nature of the NC. We will not issue a certificate to a site that has product-related issues.
Raising the standard of steel
When supplying product into the Australian New Zealand markets, all reinforcing steel requires tags stating that it complies to AS/NZS 4671:2019. Compliance includes a documented testing program that meets the requirements of Appendix A for “Type testing and inspection” if new processing equipment has been installed, or Appendix B for “Production testing and inspection” when using Decoiled or straight product. Without the relevant testing programs, product does not demonstrate compliance to the Standard, despite any tagging to the contrary.
ACRS will not issue a certificate for Processing if a site doesn’t purchase their feed from ACRS-certified sites, as the only way ACRS can confirm the supplier’s performance is to assess that site and confirm those suppliers meet the requirements of the Standard. Note that certification to another country’s rebar standard does not mean it meets the requirements of AS/NZS 4671.
So far, all sites we’ve assessed that don’t at first meet all requirements of the Standard, have been eager to learn and understand, ensuring their rebar product going into the market does in fact meet all requirements of the Standard. ACRS assesses every site to a common level, and in doing so raises the standard on reinforcing products across the market.