Shining example of certification: CARES

Monday, 16 May 2016 17:00:40 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul
       

How can you define the link between certification and steel business considering your company's services to steel business?

The benefits of certification to steel suppliers are:

  • The marketing advantage of independent certification of its management system. CARES-approval has the potential to open up new markets and business opportunities for reinforcing steel suppliers.
  • A reduction in internal rejections and rework items, reduced customer complaints, and easier identification of areas for improvement, all of which lead to operating cost reductions and improvements in company performance.
  • Independent auditing, to industry agreed best practice standards, of management systems and manufacturing processes, including product testing facilities, by industry professionals.

CARES-approved companies also have the opportunity to benefit from CARES' own on-going publicity programme and to take part in joint promotional campaigns. CARES provides free marketing support to promote successful approval and allows manufacturers to display its certification marks on publicity and stationery. All approved companies are listed on the CARES website - www.ukcares.com.


Could you inform us about the company and its operations? Can you clarify its position for our readers?

CARES is an independent, not-for-profit certification body, established in 1983 to provide confidence to the users, purchasers and specifiers of constructional steels through a regime of regulation, testing and inspection. It operates for the benefit of the construction industry offering certification schemes for companies that produce materials, components or offer services, primarily to the reinforced concrete industry. Clients and specifiers can specify CARES-approved reinforcement suppliers with confidence that the product will comply with the relevant reinforcement standard without the need for costly, on-site testing.

CARES is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO Guide 17065 (product certification), ISO 17021 (management systems certification using ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001) and BS 8902:2009 (responsible sourcing sector certification schemes for construction products). UKAS accredits and monitors certification bodies on behalf of the UK government.

CARES was the second certification body to achieve accreditation in the UK and CARES has over thirty years' experience providing UKAS-accredited product certification services.  We strongly believe that independent accreditation, by UKAS, is the preferred means of demonstrating the competence, impartiality and integrity of a certification body.

CARES currently operates certification schemes in five areas:

1) Steel for the Reinforcement of Concrete (SRC) scheme

This scheme covers the entire chain of production and supply from hot metal, through billet and bar/coil production, material processing stocking and distribution to installation on-site.

2) Sustainable Constructional Steel (SCS) scheme

This scheme covers sustainable production of reinforcing carbon steel, reinforcing stainless steel, structural steel and hot rolled flat steel. The scheme is internationally recognised as the preferred certification system for sustainable constructional steel.

3) Post-Tensioning (PT) scheme

This scheme covers the supply and installation of materials including anchors, bar and strand and grout and ducting. It includes quality planning and operative and supervisor training.

4) Construction Products and Associated Services (CPAS) scheme

This scheme includes the manufacture of pre-cast concrete products as well as stocking and distribution of reinforcing and prestressing steel and associated accessories.

5) Technical Approvals (TA) scheme

This scheme covers the assessment of products against the fitness for purpose declarations of producers of products for which there are no national or international standards.

Which markets do UK Cares certification is needed? What is the border of UK Cares?

The overall aim of certifying products is to give confidence to all interested parties that a product fulfils specified requirements.  The value of certification is the degree of confidence and trust that is established by an impartial and competent demonstration of fulfilment of specified requirements by a third party.

CARES has been running for over 30 years and has a strong track record in assuring the quality of reinforcing steel produced around the world including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, China, Luxembourg and Turkey. We currently certify over 70 manufacturers from more than 40 countries and each is assessed against an identical set of criteria.

CARES certification is required by construction clients and specifiers in the UK, Middle East and Far East. In the UK, CARES certification is a requirement in the UK Specification for Highway Works, County Councils specifications, Network Rail specifications, the National Building Specification and the National Structural Concrete Specification (NSCS).

What can you tell our readers green buildings, certification for long steel products?

The CARES SCS scheme certification helps to achieve credits in green building rating systems such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), ESTIDAMA and GSAS (Global Sustainability Assessment System) used in different regions. The CARES SCS scheme has been assessed by various building rating systems and has been awarded with the best available credits (e.g. BREEAM, ESTIDAMA). 

The scheme certification processes and schedules align well with the green building rating systems. The scheme provides a means by which approved firms in the constructional steel supply chain are able to declare product and organisational level sustainability performance. All companies in the CARES-approved supply chain have an environmental management system certified to ISO 14001, a quality management system certified to ISO 9001 and an independently verified environmental product declaration (EPD to EN 15804) or validated carbon footprint data.

Some traders from Far East markets criticize UK Cares certification for handling protectionism. What would you like to comment on this? For UK and Ireland and other involved markets, can you clarify for such comments with tendency of critics?
 
CARES introduced an amendment to its existing Steel for the Reinforcement of Concrete (SRC) scheme in January 2015 making it obligatory for any trader handling CARES-approved material to be CARES-approved. Prior to this date, traders could voluntarily become CARES-approved. The amendment was made to the scheme in 2014 following an investigation into the loss of identity and traceability of imported rebar to the UK.

The amendment was motivated by the desire to improve product quality and cast traceability. It strengthens the ability of users to trace the source, cast and test documentation of the reinforcing steel they use and was motivated by our mandate to provide confidence that reinforcing steel products will comply with the relevant reinforcement standard without the need for costly, on-site testing.

CARES rejects the allegation that this move was motivated by a desire to create trade barriers. CARES is an independent, not-for-profit certification body that operates for the benefit of the construction industry. As explained above, we have a strong track record in assuring the quality of reinforcing steel produced around the world including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, China, Luxembourg and Turkey. We currently certify over 70 manufacturers from more than 40 countries and our SRC scheme is open to traders wherever they are based in the world.

Any last words to our readers?

Achieving CARES certification requires considerable effort and commitment. Any reinforcing steel supplier approved by CARES has been through the strictest of quality management system audits and product testing including independent tests at UKAS accredited laboratories. Each manufacturer that receives certification does so because it is found to produce reinforcing steel to the highest quality, as defined in BS 4449, with robust quality management systems in place.

Holding CARES approval status is a continuous process and requires at least two audits per year. Product samples are selected by the CARES auditor and witness tested in the manufacturers' laboratory and duplicates samples are tested at selected UKAS accredited laboratories.


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