Imported steel coming out of China may not be what it seems...

David Payne

In an article for the New Civil Engineer, Director General Sarah McCann Bartlett at the British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) raised concerns about some of the steel entering Europe, specifically its conformity with our CE marking standards.

This comes following reports that increasing amounts of steel are being exported to the UK from China, as their currency depreciates against the pound and other currencies.

According to McCann-Bartlett, ‘There’s a little bit of contention about whether the steels that are coming in are alloy or non-alloy.’

This stresses the point that steel intended for structural use must be classified and CE marked in its own right as a raw material in accordance with EN 10025.

Sarah makes the point that the standard needs clarification to accommodate these steels. It is important that clarifications are made to ensure the validity of construction products like steel, especially those that are being exported internationally.

‘Chinese steel with elevated levels of elements such as Boron, Chromium or copper was often unable to be properly classified as either alloy or non-alloy steel due to a discrepancy in the way that European standards could be interpreted’.

An official request has been made to the European Committee to make a clarifying statement about the definition of the standard.

The BCSA also called for improved policing of CE marking along every step of the supply chain.

How to avoid being caught out

I would advise stressing to manufacturers of structural steel products the importance of specifying your raw material purchases correctly and being extra vigilant when steel is delivered, to check that it is indeed what you specified in your order. If you do find an issue with the steel or its specification, the best thing to do is contact your steel supplier and seek clarification.

If you are unsure whether your purchase specs are up to scratch and you are indeed looking for the right information, give us a call and we will be able to help by reviewing your system.

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