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Concrete standards row hardens

DISPUTE OVER the quality assurance certification of Derry-based readymixed concrete producer City Concrete is set to escal- ate after a key meeting between accreditation bodies this week (NCE 13 November 1997)

Certification standards watchdog the UK Accreditation Service is trying to calm the serious conflict between the Quality Scheme for Ready Mixed Concrete and the British Standards Institution over inconsistencies in accreditation standards.

As both organisations currently certify the quality of ready mixed concrete suppliers across the UK, apparently to different criteria, UKAS will use the meeting to begin work towards agreeing a common standard, before other anomalies come to light.

The problem surfaced when Citys QSRMC certificate was suspended last October with a re-appraisal scheduled for earlier this month. According to QSRMC head Peter Barber, suspension could not be lifted after the appraisal because the company had not demonstrated compliance with QSRMCs regulations.

However, BSI has now reconfirmed the Kitemark it issued to City only two weeks after the QSRMC certificate was suspended.

Announcing the suspension in October, the QSRMC said it was due to a failure to comply with QSRMC regulations which could directly affect the quality or quantity of concrete supplied. Apparently in ignorance of the QSRMC action, BSI issued the depot a Kitemark under a transfer system which allowed companies holding QSRMC certification to be Kitemarked without any inspection by BSI assessors.

After QSRMC complained to UKAS, the transfer system was banned by UKAS, which insisted that no Kitemark could be issued without a prior assessment. But although BSI suspended its Kitemark after the complaint, it is now reinstated.

Dave Parker

(See Commentary page 10).

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