Constructional steel accreditation and certification body UK CARES must boost its engagement with industry clients to ensure the organisation maintains its global influence over steel quality testing and assurance, its new chairman has said.
According to Professor Les Clark, who took over as chairman of CARES this month, to maintain its reputation for quality and service to the industry, it would be crucial to engage with new clients in emerging sectors such as nuclear new build.
“We need to expand our influence with clients such as those from the nuclear industry,”
The not-for-profit organisation was set up initially to provide independent certification for steel products and services primarily in the reinforced concrete industry. The certification gives clients satisfaction that companies and products comply with the relevant standards the need for additional verification testing.
Members include professional bodies, trade associations representing users, specifiers, contractors and manufacturers, and clients owning major reinforced concrete infrastructure.
Clark, a former president of the Institution of Structural Engineers, took over as CARES chairman of the CARES management board following the retirement of George Somerville. Until the end of 2009 he was pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Birmingham
Clark also highlighted his objective to increase the international reach of CARES accreditation and products, particularly in the growing Chinese market, of which he has huge experience.
He described the growing influence of such international markets on the construction industry as “not a threat but an opportunity” for CARES but pointed out that it had to demonstrate its value to new global clients.
With the development of Eurocodes and the phasing out of British Standards he highlighted the risk that the historic link with the body as the natural standard for constructional steel could be broken.
“We have to make sure that the affinity with CARES continues,” he said. “CARES doesn’t have the monopoly on certification. We have to demonstrate [its value and benefit] through quality of people and quality of services provided to clients.”