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Steel Fabrication and CE marking

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Our Winter Garden - outside the heated envelope of the house - is a steel-framed construction. It will be open to the elements, and intended as a filter for the light from the south: all the rooms open into it or have a window onto it (except two). Debbie's keen on gardening. Me? Hmmm.

 

WinterGardenIllustrationAsJPG.jpg.910707143eb2582f68a836c33387e9b5.jpg

 

Lots of people have been round to poke and stare at the build, among them a couple of local builders.....

 

Talking about the Winter Garden, I mention we have been told that the steel frame for the garden needs to be built by a CE marked and Certified company. Cue snorts of derision, sucking of teeth and pithy Lancastrian.

 

Who's correct? The builders or the ones with PII (Professional Indemnity) cover?

 

WinterGardenIllustration.pdf

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AFAIK, it just needs to comply with Part A, in terms of the structure, same as the house.  CE marking applies to materials and products, not companies, so as long as the steel is supplied to the spec the SE has provided any competent steel erector can put it up.

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1 minute ago, JSHarris said:

AFAIK, it just needs to comply with Part A, in terms of the structure, same as the house.  CE marking applies to materials and products, not companies, so as long as the steel is supplied to the spec the SE has provided any competent steel erector can put it up.

Yep, +1 to that. You will be able to get the CE paperwork for all the bits, steel, bolts, welding rods etc but you won't need one for a one off winter garden, or at least I can see no reasonable path through the CE process that would be usable unless the whole winter garden was a product in its own right. If you think about it the CE process was designed to ensure that products arriving and circulating around the EU met the various standards. Your product is being built to a local standard (building standards) and is not destined for resale as a retail product so I cannot see how it might apply although the last time I had to take a product through CE marking was 2003 I think.

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I put the steels in for my wrap around window. Only had to show the spec sheet for the L shape steel catnic to BC. He just looked at the support post and seen it was heavy wall box section and went on his way.

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I got this from my fabricator if it helps:

 

"...Proudly announces its compliance with the new BS EN 1090 standard for structural steelwork to Execution Class level 2.
Communaute Europeenne ('CE' or 'European Community') was introduced in 1995 and CE Marking was created to stimulate the free circulation of goods within the European Community by removing barriers created by differing standards in member states.
When applied to any product or equipment indicates that the manufacturer or its authorised EU representative has declared that the product of equipment compiles with all applicable European Directives.
Certification will become mandatory in the UK in July 2014 from which time it will become illegal to sell structural steelwork in the UK or the Republic of Ireland that does not carry the CE Mark.
CE Marking is not allowed unless the Factory Production Control (FPC) system under which they are produced has been assessed by a suitable certification body that has been approved to the European Commission.
Steelwork has been divided into four categories for certification and a steelwork contractor may not produce steel in a higher category than it is certified. The categories are:
•    Execution Class 1 
•    Execution Class 2 
•    Execution Class 3 
•    Execution Class 4
Proudly announces its compliance with the new BS EN 1090 standard for structural steelwork to Execution Class level 2.
Communaute Europeenne ('CE' or 'European Community') was introduced in 1995 and CE Marking was created to stimulate the free circulation of goods within the European Community by removing barriers created by differing standards in member states.
When applied to any product or equipment indicates that the manufacturer or its authorised EU representative has declared that the product of equipment compiles with all applicable European Directives.
Certification will become mandatory in the UK in July 2014 from which time it will become illegal to sell structural steelwork in the UK or the Republic of Ireland that does not carry the CE Mark.
CE Marking is not allowed unless the Factory Production Control (FPC) system under which they are produced has been assessed by a suitable certification body that has been approved to the European Commission.
Steelwork has been divided into four categories for certification and a steelwork contractor may not produce steel in a higher category than it is certified. The categories are:
•    Execution Class 1 
•    Execution Class 2 
•    Execution Class 3 
•    Execution Class 4
"

Edited by Onoff

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and FPC includes traceable calibration of welding equipment and suchlike things.

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2 hours ago, Onoff said:

Certification will become mandatory in the UK in July 2014 from which time it will become illegal to sell structural steelwork in the UK or the Republic of Ireland that does not carry the CE Mark.

 

In which case just about any fabricator of structural steel will be able to do it - or they won't be in business.

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15 minutes ago, Temp said:

 

 

In which case just about any fabricator of structural steel will be able to do it - or they won't be in business.

 

Say a company's business is not, on the face it structural steel fabrication. Maybe they repair HGV trailers, agricultural equipment of even make long range fuel tanks to take advantage of Continental prices. Just examples of companies I've dealt with.

 

Nothing to stop them buying in I beams for you and "fabricating" whatever. They probably won't be compliant I'm guessing. Their core business is simply NOT structural steel.

Edited by Onoff

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without belittling the project i am struggling to see the complication, you have 2 steels sitting on top of a column with another column sitting on top of that???

I can't see where any structural welds would be. only to hold the plates in the right place.

 

how well do you get on with your LBCO? 

I asked similar questions  (about certified welds, not so much being CE marked) when i was looking into my steelwork, turns out not many people cared, as long as the steels being used had been specced by a SE, the actual fabrication and purchasing of the steel never got questioned, 

as I'm sure you know in the end i welded and cut all my steel myself and i have still not been asked where i purchased it from, 

 

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55 minutes ago, Construction Channel said:

without belittling the project i am struggling to see the complication, you have 2 steels sitting on top of a column with another column sitting on top of that???

I can't see where any structural welds would be. only to hold the plates in the right place.

 

how well do you get on with your LBCO? 

I asked similar questions  (about certified welds, not so much being CE marked) when i was looking into my steelwork, turns out not many people cared, as long as the steels being used had been specced by a SE, the actual fabrication and purchasing of the steel never got questioned, 

as I'm sure you know in the end i welded and cut all my steel myself and i have still not been asked where i purchased it from, 

 

Wot he says- don't create a rod for your own back! Unless you think Jean Claude Juncker is going to visit... 

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yup. Get it fab'd on site by yourself or others and you're good.

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8 hours ago, Construction Channel said:

Without belittling the project i am struggling to see the complication, you have 2 steels sitting on top of a column with another column sitting on top of that???

[...]

 

I was also struggling to see what was complicated about it. But then, I'm only a Domestic Client ....

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I think a big part is to ensure that anything deemed structural is welded by a coded welder to try and ensure a quality and ultimately safe weld. The Excecution Class is I think related to risk. There's a very long thread on it on the mig welding forum

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Hmm, I have to say I'm divided by this topic. One the one hand a few years ago I fabricated my own steel overroof for a double detached garage. I did all the cutting and welding myself on that one and nobody asked any questions. But it was a detached building. With my current build, the steel frame was a substantial part of the structural design and there was no way that I'd be digging out any of my welding equipment to put it together.

 

The steel fabricators I used produced and erected the steel frame to Execution Class 2 (for general buildings) which covers the design, fabrication and erection of the structure. The structural design was by SE. The Execution Class specifies minimum steel grades for the purpose, welds etc. and even end cuts. Looking at some of the plate welds on my frame, they're definitely not something I'd be confident cutting and welding DIY and then there's getting it all true and aligned during the fabrication...

 

I've attached the GA of the steel frame and one detail drawing and an example. I have a feeling your garden room would likely need some similar designs for the size of frame you're looking at.

SK02_730GE_Steel_fabrication_check.pdf 667GE - Structural drawings revB-S40.pdf

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Two different points of view here.

 

I can see both sides of the equation. On the one hand you have folk that have welding certificates (grandfathers rights) and loads of experience, play by the rules. On the other you have those that don't.

 

For example you may get a price for box a section fabricated steel frame. There are two types of box section.. cold formed and hot finished.. they are two different animals but there are very few folk that know how to distinguish between the two. This is can be a big safety issue.. you find that the cowboys often substitute a cold formed section for a hot finished one as they (cold formed) are cheeper.. and that is where the trouble can start.

 

It's also to do with the provenance of the material. I have surveyed buildings for extension and found some really odd steel sections. Turns out that these were basically fakes from elsewhere, they look like BS sections but when you put the mircometer on them the flanges are thinner! Then you have the quality of the steel to contend with.

 

So yes, on one hand it seems like we are "controlled" but on the other this scheme has gone a long way towards improving safety. Make no mistake.. there can be a big difference between the person (and the conditions they do it under..factory or out in the rain) that welds up your garden gate from the one that welds up the end plate (with the associated quality control) on your steel beams which could be carrying literally tonnes of load!

 

I would happily go back to the "old days" but you can't turn back the clock. Remember that modern design aims to be more economic.. thinner and lighter steel sections... less margin for error / material quality To achieve more economic design you need to have tighter control on the quality of the material and welding process, the bolts, the actual steel erection, grouting of base plates etc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Big difference between CE marking and quality assurance.  Just as there are coded welders who have passed the coding test but cant weld to save their lives and there are welders without any qualifications who can weld in any position and pass Ultrasonic testing with very few inclusions or defects.

I do agree that the quality of some steel (and to a lesser extent aluminium) sections is a real concern and should be monitored.

45 years of working with steel structures and i have never seen a failure of a section or welded joint in a building structure. I have seen several on construction machine but they are due to heavy handed operators.

 

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22 minutes ago, markc said:

I have seen several on construction machine but they are due to heavy handed operators.

Or after being fixed on site using old metal coat hangers!

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51 minutes ago, SimonD said:

Or after being fixed on site using old metal coat hangers!

 

What's wrong with metal coat hangers? They make excellent cavity ties! 😂

 

SAM_3226

 

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15 minutes ago, Onoff said:

 

What's wrong with metal coat hangers? They make excellent cavity ties! 😂

 

SAM_3226

 

Oh how I mourn their loss! 😢

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+1 dead handy for all sorts of things. 

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On 07/01/2021 at 18:12, StanHansen said:

Omg, this is disgusting. England is turning in such a statist place. You can't even make a steel frame without government involving in it.

 

CE is being replaced by UKCA at some point. Think it stands for "United Kingdom Can't Agree" or something like that. 

 

Was story in the paper recently about a small toy company that makes 39 products and has been told UKCA marking will cost £500 each.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The good the bad / ugly?

Here are some photos from a project that is covered by one of the major home warranty providers.. who have been arguing for some time that there is nothing wrong with the welding. The steels and aluminium sections you see are holding up a substantial glazed structure subject to snow drift loading in addition to the run of the mill design loads.

I think I may have shot myself in the foot earlier by extolling the virtues of CE marking...but there are benefits.

 The fabricator who did the work claimed they were CE marked but on investigation it turned out that they used to be under their old company before they went bust.

Anyway, some key points are: try and avoid site welding unless you have access to a real pro who can over head weld etc. Believe it or not the “goodish” and the “ugly” work was carried out by the same firm.. I cannot explain..

If this sparks some interest then I’ll try if I can post a blog on what to look out for if you are self builder looking to buy and get some steel fabricated and some practical tips I know of to get best bang for your buck and so on.

As always if anyone feels free please comment.

 

The "goodish" Not a bad end plate weld on the box section, it is covered with a galv finish though.. seen worse.

759203903_Borderingonthegoodweld-Copy.thumb.JPG.4c567420477589caf300a14ce2846f0b.JPG

 

 

Oh dear going downhill!

 

2072180219_Gettingworse-Copy.thumb.JPG.1aedfa2f1d77779519a1620400dc9ae0.JPG

 

 

And now we are somewhere else.. how do you classify the quality of the weld when it is kind of not there?

 

241103382_Isthisaweldatall-Copy.thumb.JPG.375d61e7c4ed1d458d0eb0d74b76d470.JPG

Edited by Gus Potter
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I've never had to do anything more than put patches on old cars so I'm no expert by any means but I think that third picture shows very clearly that the company in question are using trained seagulls. ;)

 

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Those welds are incredible. Perhaps they need to be guided to a google image search on "fillet weld." I love the photo showing the alumium profile where they seem to have tried to create brackets with their weld and in one case given up as they've only managed to pool one side of the joint - or should I say large gap! 🙄

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