Do you know what is required of you?


Whenever a company starts a new project, whether as a subcontractor or a direct vendor (manufacturer), it is essential that they understand what they are required to have for compliance prior to taking on the project. It is not just how much steel is required, how many welders and what coatings are needed. It also involves quality management, qualifications, testing and documentation.


What are the risks of non-compliance?


Welding and fabrication can involve significant risks if not performed in compliance with the relevant standards, specifications and regulations.

Some of the key risks associated with non-compliance are:

  • Compromised structural integrity – welding and fabrication standards are written and implemented to ensure that the final product has the necessary strength and durability for its intended application.
  • Material failure – inadequate welding techniques or materials can lead to the final product failing during service.
  • Poor quality of work – the standards give you the minimum requirements for quality. Non-compliance can result in poor workmanship. This leads to increased maintenance costs, shorter lifespan of the product and a potential loss of business reputation.
  • Reduced efficiency and increased costs – non-compliance often leads to rework, repairs and delays to the project. These can also have a big financial impact causing increased costs and potentially penalty clauses being implemented in contracts.
  • Legal and financial consequences – failing to comply with standards and regulations can result in legal penalties. In the case of product failures, this can be financial and/or custodial penalties depending on the severity of the incident. If there is a fatality due to a product failure, corporate manslaughter carries huge fines and potential imprisonment for company directors and anyone involved found to be negligent. Lack of understanding or knowledge is not a defence.
  • Safety – non-compliance with standards can put your workforce at risk as well as the general public, again this can have legal and financial consequences.


Do I really need it?


As a specialist welding consultancy and training company, we often see companies that have been caught out and penalised because they failed to understand what the quality obligations for the project are.

Getting accredited for relevant standards such as AS/NZS 5131 or ISO 3834 can dramatically reduce the risks involved with non-compliance for companies.

However, as a sub-contractor, accreditation is not always viable, but compliance is mandatory.

As a minimum, to protect yourself, you should have:

  • Qualified welding procedures – covering the types, processes, material grades and thickness’s and positions you intend to weld with.
  • Suitable welder qualificationsqualification to the correct standards that cover the welding procedures you use.
  • A basic quality management system and plan – to ensure that all fabrications, welds, consumables and materials are traceable and compliant with the relevant standards and acceptance criteria as well as being correct to the intended design and are fit for purpose.


Even if you are subcontracting


When working on projects that have a construction category or construction class, the client (or Principal) should provide you with the correct and relevant information and procedures to comply with THEIR quality systems. They should be treating your company like an extension of their own.

You should be aware of all the project requirements along with any potential contract financial penalties should you not meet the due dates etc.

Accreditation to AS/NZS 5131 is only required for companies involved in structural fabrications. The standard covers the MINIMUM requirements for fabrication, welding, coatings and erection of steel structures.


Structural steel categories


Within the standard, the requirements are broken down into construction categories, with increasing requirements for each level depending on the risks and complexities involved in the fabrication:

  • CC1 – the lowest category, used for general fabrications with low complexity and risk.
  • CC2 – used for fabrications with a moderate level of complexity and risk.
  • CC3 – used for fabrication that are complex and have a high level of risk.
  • CC4 – the highest category, is generally only used in specific circumstances where additional requirements that exceed the CC3 category are required. This is usually for extremely complex and/or high-risk fabrications.

For the quality management of welding, AS/NZS 5131 requires compliance with ISO 3834.

(AS/NZS 5131 Appendix B Table B4 section 7.1.1 recommended quality requirements for welding)

ISO 3834.4 Elementary ISO 3834.3 Standard ISO 3834.2 Comprehensive ISO 3834.2 Comprehensive


ISO 3834 is a 6-part international standard for welding quality management which is applicable to ALL sectors involving welding.



Welding as a specific category within the standards


The international standards organisation has deemed welding as a specialist subject and in doing so it requires its own separate standards.

Working within the ISO standards, you will notice that they are not specific structural or pressure welding standards like AS/NZS 1554.1 (structural) or AS/NZS 4041 (Pressure). Welding is its own category and the standards used to control welding and welding activities are applicable to all sectors of the industry and are not sector specific.

As an international standard, ISO 3834 is used internationally to confirm quality fusion welding. This welding certification offers a key advantage in proving control, the professionalism and integrity of your welds.


By following this standard, welding companies can obtain globally accredited certifications that offer commercial value by demonstrating experience and expertise.


Many clients want proof of quality welding procedures, and ISO 3834 and similar certifications show how welding work meets widely recognised international standards.


What do you actually need for your project? Don’t wait to get caught out


Both AS/NZS 5131 and ISO 3834 require that a technical review is completed at the tender stage of a new job or project.

The technical review is where you look at the standards, specifications and design as well as your own quality systems and assess them against the needs of the job.

It is always good practice to complete a technical review, even if you don’t have accreditation.

The technical review will highlight any areas where there are specification or design discrepancies, extra requirements or where the current systems are lacking.

Some essential items that are needed for a technical review:

  • Applicable standards – what standards are required for the project
  • Regulatory requirements – are there any regulations that need to be adhered to?
  • Additional requirements – does the client spec have additional requirements that exceed the stated standards?
  • Construction category or class – what level of the given standards are required? CC1, 2, 3 or 4 etc.
  • Capability of the company – does the company have sufficient resources and systems to complete the project? Do they have the capacity to undertake the project?
  • Document templates – Some clients will request that certain documents are completed using their templates
  • Drawings and design – have you reviewed the drawings? Is all the relevant information present and correct? Are there any issues that need to be resolved?
  • Materials – what type and grade of materials are to be used are there any additional requirements due to material type, such as PWHT (post-weld heat treatment) ferrite testing for stainless steels?
  • Quality and acceptance criteria – going back to the applicable standards, what is the quality level, for example AS/NZS 1554.1 GP or SP
  • Traceability – what does the client want, does that conform to, or exceed the relevant standard?
  • Location and sequence of welds – does the location and sequence of the welds impact NDT or inspection?
  • Welding procedures, welder qualifications – do your current procedures cover the required processes, materials and positions? Are the welders suitably qualified?
  • NDT – what are the requirements? Percentages of inspection and testing? Reporting requirements? Notification periods?
  • Sub-contracting – is there a need to subcontract out any part of the job? Coatings, welding, erection etc
  • Coating requirements – type of coatings, thickness of coatings, any special requirements
  • Documentary requirements – does the job require any specific documentation such as regulatory documents, client-specific templates such as ITP’s & MDR’s etc
  • Dispatch requirements – does the product require any special transport requirements (oversize load etc)
  • Site delivery and erecting requirements – is a crane required, will road closures be needed to offload, or are there any site-specific details?

The list is not exhaustive and can be added to depending on the complexity and size of the project.

Using the above items will give you a good idea of whether, as a company, you are capable and set up sufficiently to take on the project.


How can Technoweld help your company avoid unnecessary pain


As a leader in welding consultancy, management and supervision, Technoweld is here to assist with all your welding management system questions.

We offer consultation services where we review your existing quality management systems to determine gaps or issues and provide solutions for fixing them.

Technoweld have developed a standard format document system for implementing AS/NZS 5131 and ISO 3834 to CC3 and below levels which has been accredited with various companies throughout Australia.

Where required, we can assist your company in implementing the systems we have developed and help train and educate your staff on how and why they should be used.

We can also provide RWC, Welding Supervision and Inspection services whilst your staff undergo the relevant training required for the roles.


For more information on how Technoweld can assist you, call us at 1300 00 9353 or email