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Concern That Imported Steel Not Up Standard

25 October 2005

Pacific Steel Concerned That Imported Steel Not Up To New Zealand Standards

The Report on Grade 500E Steel Reinforcement released by the Department of Building and Housing raises concerns about the quality of imported steel and recommends that the building and construction industry undertakes education programmes to ensure 500E reinforcing steel is used correctly.

The DBH report was in response to concerns raised by the University of Auckland and other members of industry about the performance of 500E reinforcing steel.

Independent testing from SGS New Zealand Limited showed that almost all 500E samples met AS/NZS 4671 standards. Failure of some imported samples in some tests related to low yield stress, low uniform elongation and incorrect bar markings and configurations.

"Pacific Steel is proud that we were the only manufacturer to show 100 per cent compliance with the New Zealand Reinforcing Steel Standard," said Alan Pearson, General Manager - Pacific Steel Group.

"We undertake rigorous quality testing procedures to ensure we provide our customers with top quality steel that they can trust to do the job. We complete all testing required under the material standard for every batch that we manufacture, including tensile and bend tests, dimensional checks and chemical analysis of the batch. Test certificates are available for all batches, and records of our testing are kept for a period of 10 years."

"We continue to be concerned about the quality of imported steel as independent tests performed by SGS New Zealand Limited found that bars from all of the three sources of imported product failed to fully comply with the standard," said Alan.

"We encourage contractors and consultants to demand and inspect mill certificates so they can be satisfied that the reinforcing steel they use complies with the New Zealand standard."

The Report recommends education of the industry on the properties of Grade 500E and its limitations and benefits to ensure that it is handled correctly.

"The Department states that it is primarily up to industry organisations to educate designers, engineers, reinforcing fabricators, construction companies and steel placers to ensure that it is used and handled correctly," said Alan. "Pacific Steel will work closely with industry to help ensure the limitations and benefits of 500E are well understood."

The DBH's investigation included surveying Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) members on problems with 500E steel; commissioning a report in the compatibility of the various standards covering the manufacturing, design, welding and handling of 500E steel; commissioning a series of tests on bars nominally sold as Grade 500E, both locally manufactured and imported product; reviewing the available evidence of the problems arising from the University of Auckland tests.

Pacific Steel is New Zealand's only producer of concrete reinforcing steel.

ENDS

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