2 Apr 2016

Australia to reform building product industry

9:15 am on 2 April 2016

Australia is looking to clamp down on dodgy building products and is likely to insist on independent testing of critical products such as steel.

A file photo shows a construction worker selecting steel mesh for concrete reinforcement factory

(file photo) Photo: Cultura Creative

The reforms, including a confidential whistleblower system, were being recommended by federal and state government officials, and some could be in place this year.

Construction Product Alliance chairman Lindsay Le Compte, said independent certification would be especially critical for high-hazard products in place of the current system that provided no way of knowing if the steel a customer ordered was what would be received.

"What we have also seen through some of the voluntary certification processes, and in particular through steel, we have seen counterfeit and manipulated certifications from overseas.

"The fact that you have products independently certified ensures a much higher level of compliance," Mr Le Compte said.

Mandatory independent testing could be enforced before the end of the year, he said.

The alliance includes 40 public and private organisations.

Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels was also pushing for New Zealand to adopt Europe's stringent testing, where company heads must sign off steel products to show they were up to standard.

Those who signed the products off could then face jail if they fell short.

The Authority's Stephen Hicks previously said New Zealand's regime was like the wild west.

New Zealand products were being tested as part of an investigation into failures with seismic mesh, according to the Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

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