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CROSS Safety Report

Verification of inspection documents

Report ID: 226 Published: 1 April 2011 Region: CROSS-UK

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Overview

A reporter raises concern after evidence had recently been received that an increased number of ‘copies’ of the supplier’s inspection certificates for heavy plate products had been modified from the original state or falsified.

Key Learning Outcomes

For steel fabricators and design engineers:

  • It is good practice to check the adequacy, completeness and authenticity of all certifications of structural steelwork, particularly when safety-critical items are involved

For the construction team:

  • It is good practice to have a quality control procedure in place to inspect incoming steelwork to ensure it meets the required standard

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For steel products such as heavy plates, inspection documents/inspection certificates as per EN 10204 represent an important element for ensuring quality control along the different processing stages from the receipt of heavy plates until the finished product. A leading European supplier validates in these documents the delivery specification and the acceptance tests based on this specification, as well as the test results. In addition, conformity to the agreed order specification is also validated.

The supplier provides the original customer for their heavy plates with inspection certificates as original hardcopy documents or as electronic documents. The processing and distribution chain from the receipt of the heavy plates to the finished product is often complex. Therefore, in practice, it is not unusual that inspection certificates are transmitted to an original customer and then forwarded as copies along the distribution/processing chain.

Evidence has recently been received from some members in the chain of an increased number of ‘copies’ of the supplier’s inspection certificates on which one or several items of data have been modified from the original state or falsified. As a consequence, the supplier offers all users of their heavy plates a verification service.

The enquirer will receive a confirmation as to whether or not the supplier originally issued the relevant inspection certificate in the form presented. The supplier explicitly points out that this verification does not represent any authenticity check of heavy plates on the part of the supplier. It is the responsibility of the customer (or user) to ensure that a certificate belongs to the corresponding heavy plate.

Expert Panel Comments

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It is always disturbing to find uncertainty in the quality of building products. In the past, CROSS has received information on defective bolts of dubious origin and has reported uncertainty in concrete block quality (report 174). Users always need to take care that the products they rely on are authentic and ideally should conform to recognised product specification standards such as British Standard’s.

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