The new European standard for the CE Marking of structural steelwork, EN 1090-1, came into force in January 2011. Steelwork contractors now have to CE Mark their fabricated steelwork. Since 1st July 2014, it has become a legal requirement to CE Mark all structural steelwork. In order to be able to CE Mark their steelwork, contractors have to implement a certified Factory Production Control (FPC) system.
Factory Production Control (FPC)
An FPC system for structural steelwork is similar to EN ISO 9001, with the exception that incorporated within it the steelwork contractor is required to have a documented Welding Quality Management System (WQMS) and nominate a person responsible for all welding related activities i.e. a Responsible Welding Coordinator (RWC).
Welding Quality Management System (WQMS)
The relevant part, and consequently the stringency of requirements is determined by the Execution Class (EXC) declared by the steelwork contractor for its fabricated steelwork. The following parts of EN ISO 3834 apply:
- EXC1 Part 4 “Elementary quality requirements”
- EXC2 Part 3 “Standard quality requirements”
- EXC3 & EXC4 Part 2 “Comprehensive quality requirements”
Execution Class (EXC)
For any project, the required quality of fabrication or Execution Class must be specified. EN 1090-2 requires the Execution Class to be specified for the works as a whole, an individual component and a detail of a component. In some cases, the Execution Class for the structure, the components and the details will be the same while in other cases the Execution Class for the component and the details may be different to that for the whole structure. There are 4 Execution Classes which range from Execution Class 1 (EXC1), which is the least onerous through to Execution Class 4 (EXC4), which is the most onerous.
It is down to the designer / specifier to select the Execution Class (EXC) required for the structure, an individual component or a particular detail of a component. The choice of EXC is a design issue where each class is based on the criticality of a structure in terms of its service conditions and consequence of its failure.
Whilst each building needs to be considered on its own merits, Execution Class 2 (EXC2) will be appropriate for the majority of buildings constructed in Ireland. If the Execution Class is not specified on a project, Clause 4.1.2 of IS EN 1090-2 states that EXC2 shall apply.
Responsible Welding Coordinator (RWC)
The term RWC is used to identify the person who is competent to control and supervise a steelwork contractor’s welding activities. EN 1090-2 sets out the technical knowledge requirements for the RWC based on a steelwork contractor’s declared Execution Class and materials used. It makes reference to the standard for Welding Coordination (EN ISO 14731), which specifies three categories of technical knowledge.
- B – Basic – International Welding Specialist
- S – Specific – International Welding Technologist
- C – Comprehensive – International Welding Engineer
Practical experience in the range of processes/products may also be used as an avenue for becoming an RWC for those processes/products.
When all the components of the FPC are in place, the steelwork contractor will require to be audited by a notified body for the standard EN 1090-1. If the audit is successful, the notified body will issue two certificates to the steelwork contractor, a Factory Production Control (FPC) Certificate and a Welding Certificate. The steelwork contractor will then have to produce a Declaration of Performance (DoP) for the products it produces and also develop a system for CE Marking its products.