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President’s Column: July/August 2020

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My predecessor, Tim Outteridge, introduced the ‘President’s Column’ as a new item in New Steel Construction in his president’s profile in the July/August 2017 edition of New Steel Construction and I’m very pleased to continue with this popular column.

I believe that the members of the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) bring added value to a project and are amongst the most knowledgeable, professional, and competent steelwork contractors in the world. I have been a member of the association for 20 years and I’ve been the chairman of the BCSA’s Process and Technical Committee since 2011. During this time, I’ve seen the quality and competence of BCSA’s steelwork contractors increase in line with issue of the various versions of the National Structural Steelwork Specification and with the introduction of CE marking. Responsible Welding Co-ordinators (RWC) were introduced as part of CE marking to make one person accountable for the welding processes from the pre-contract stage through to final production and any work done on site. Many initially thought that CE marking was just an additional burden but, in most cases, it has improved knowledge of the fabrication process, increasing the quality and reducing the amount of remedial work. The concept of getting it right first time is vitally important and the additional checks required to be undertaken before, during and after welding has built in more quality into our fabricated product. As we all know it’s a lot more difficult to produce a quality product by testing after welding alone. I’m pleased to say that the vast majority of BCSA members have invested in the necessary weld procedure qualification records (WPQR’s) to ensure their welding procedures are up to scratch.

During the pandemic and the lockdown BCSA has further increased the quality of fabrication through the development of the seventh edition of the National Structural Steelwork Specification for buildings. This publication will be issued shortly and represents probably the biggest change in the NSSS since it was first published in 1989.

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower the constructional steelwork industry decided to take ownership of intumescent fire protection systems. The 7th edition of the NSSS includes new sections on the specification, application and inspection of intumescent systems and requires them to be applied in the workshop to better control the quality of application. In addition, BCSA is developing a training course for ‘Responsible Painting Co-ordinators’ – someone with overall responsibility for the application of both intumescent systems and painting systems to structural steelwork. This is new to the industry and will further enhance the quality of paint and intumescent systems.

The improvements in welding quality management systems and in the application of intumescent and painting systems will further enhance the quality and competence of BCSA members and will make it easy for specifiers to select the right steelwork contractor. The NSSS includes a complete list of BCSA steelwork contractors together with contact details.

I am a firm believe that BCSA members are amongst the best in the world at delivering steelwork contracts for a discerning client and that the average BCSA member is better prepared to design, detail, fabricate and safely erect structural steelwork buildings than other non-members.

Mark Denham
BCSA President

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