New regulations that come into force today make it mandatory to use CE marked firms for fabricated steelwork and aluminium structures.
Firms failing to comply are committing a criminal offence and risk invalidating project insurance and warranties.
The massive shake-up in steelwork construction is set to catch many unawares, despite being in the pipeline for several years, specialist contractors have warned.
The new regulations create a minefield because firms on existing jobs will now need to show they are CE Marked, and many specialist contractors are still not CE certified.
Sarah McCann-Bartlett, Director General of the British Constructional Steelwork Association, said: “Our membership of around 95 steelwork contractors are now required to be CE certified to belong to the BCSA.
“This represents about 20% of UK and Irish steelwork contractors by number and about 60 – 65% of the volume of structural steelwork produced here.
“But clearly firms will have to be on the look-out for those who are not, or are not certified for appropriate execution classes.”
She added: “The use of non-CE Marked products will have serious consequences and may invalidate insurance and warranties.
“Therefore all clients and contractors should ensure that they specify only CE Marked construction products from properly certified contractors.”
One steel balustrade firm told the Enquirer: “This is going to be a real minefield for the industry.
“Firms like Kier are up to speed and have sorted out their supply chain, but many have been burying their heads in the sand and are simply unaware of the impending change which will have a massive impact on their supply chain.”
“There are a lot of specialists out there that are going to find they can no longer win work.”
The harmonised standard covering fabricated structural steelwork is BS EN 1090: Execution of steel structures and aluminium structures.
Clients and main contractors will be required to use steelwork contractors with a specific ‘Execution Class’ suitable for the project, as determined by BS EN 1090-1.
It will not be sufficient to employ a CE marked firm, they will need to have been certified to the specific class of building or structure.
Key CE mark execution classes
- EXC1 – Farm buildings
- EXC2 – Building (similar to the scope of the NSSS)
- EXC3 – Bridges
- EXC4 – Special structures (long-span bridges etc)