Alarm raised over fake rebar safety certificates

Aaron Morby 3 years ago

Firms seeking to source scarce rebar supplies for projects are facing an outbreak of fake reinforcing bar safety certificates claiming products are fully tested.

Fraudulent documents claiming safety-critical reinforcing steel has been independently tested and approved are being found in routine checks, according to the reinforcing steel certification body CARES.

The trade body is now urging users to check documentation carefully and newly introduced QR code labels which cannot be tampered with.

Inspectors from the rebar certification body CARES have just found an unscrupulous trader that had deliberately tampered with a genuine certificate in an attempt to mislead project managers that the material they were trading had passed CARES’ stringent certification tests.

The latest fake document was spotted during a routine inspection of product paperwork from rebar originating in Asia, and they follow similar fakes found in the supply chain in the UK.

CARES’ chief executive Lee Brankley said: “Sadly, the construction industry is being targeted by those who put commercial gain above public safety – with potentially catastrophic consequences if substandard material gets through.

“We are fortunate to work closely with extremely vigilant stakeholders who are alert to risks posed by any information which seems odd. They now use our digital authenticity tools for protection.”

The global pandemic has accelerated the inspection authority’s adoption of digital assurance tools to tackle fake certificates.

All CARES’ documents of approval now contain a static QR code that allows users and buyers to scan and verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of each certificate, and whether it contains all relevant data, by checking into an online database.

Brankley warned that false data circulating in the supply chain threatened to undermine further confidence in the industry just as the Building Safety Bill brings in tougher checks following the Grenfell tragedy.

He said that if the certificate was not showing a QR code then there were real grounds for concern, and he urge users tyo contact CARES if there were any doubts.

Brankley said: “Product provenance is a critical element in major infrastructure project decisions and clients rightly demand assurance about the quality and sustainability performance of materials they choose.

“They are entitled to seek security and confidence, and we are fortunate in now having the digital tools to hand to offer the protection this industry needs – and public safety demands.”

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