Audit success opens up new opportunities for ECS
ECS Engineering Services is celebrating a timely triple audit success, putting it at the forefront of its competition for new contracts. The company has had its existing approvals to BS EN 1090 and BS EN 3834 reconfirmed, as well as successfully upgrading its CE marking accreditation from Execution Class 3 to Execution Class 4 allowing it to deliver the most demanding, zero tolerance projects.
BS EN 1090 is for the design and manufacture of structural steel and aluminium, while BS EN 3834 sets out the quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials. ECS has managed to gain these approvals all on the same day, even though they were assessed by two different auditors.
Managing Director, Stephen Iles, states: “Two sizeable enquiries that require EXC4 certification came into the company within a week of the audit approvals, so the timing of this couldn’t be better.”
ECS is well-known for its structural and fabrication capabilities, having completed many jobs for major buildings and other projects, both in the UK and overseas. It has held BS EN 1090 certification since its introduction in 2014 and BS EN ISO 3834 certification since 2012, both of which have to be renewed regularly through successful audits. The recent audits required a review of all relevant management systems, assessment of procedures and processes, plus a thorough workshop inspection.
BS EN 1090 and BS EN 3834 are both part of the Construction Products Regulations (CPR) which cover structural metalwork in UK and across Europe. Collectively, the CPR define principles for: mechanical resistance and stability; fire safety and safety in use; hygiene, health and noise, and environmental protection and energy efficiency.
Quality Manager Rebecca Murfin realised that having two audits close together created an opportunity for ECS to apply for EXC4 and thus expand the capabilities it can offer to clients. She explains: “There are four EXC classes and contracts state which ones must be met for a project. As we now have all four, we are able to meet all possible requirements, so new opportunities are now opening up for us too.”
Details of the Execution Classes are as follows:
* Execution Class EXC1 comprises structural components made of steel up to strength class S275 and structural components made of aluminium alloys. This includes buildings with up to two floors (four floors if detached), bending beams up to 5m in length, projection beams up to 2m in length and stair railings in residential buildings. It also covers agricultural buildings such as barns.
* Execution Class EXC2 comprises all supporting structures made of steel up to strength class S700 and structural components made of aluminium alloys. This typically includes buildings with between two and 15 floors.
* Execution Class EXC3 refers to supporting structures made of steel up to strength class S700 and structural components made of aluminium alloys. Typical examples include buildings with more than 15 floors, pedestrian, bicycle, road and railway bridges, and crane tracks.
* Execution Class EXC4 comprises all structural components with extreme consequences for people and/or the environment in the event of failure. This refers, for instance, to football stadia, to rail and road bridges over densely populated residential areas and to industrial plants with hazardous potential such as the safety tanks in nuclear power plants.
Rebecca again: “We have held Execution Classes 3 for some time, but now with EXC4 certification for our production management procedures we are confirmed as being able to work on the most demanding projects, even where zero tolerance is the standard that has to be achieved.”
The ECS Fabrication Division has a reputation for being able to undertake a wide variety of steel fabrication work, including structural steel frames up to 1500 tonnes and precision jigs and frames up to 25 tonnes. It has a well-equipped 50,000 sq. ft. workshop where highly skilled fabricators regularly complete primary structural steelwork, secondary metalwork, welded engineering assemblies, water industry structures, bridges and walkways. ECS is located in the North Midlands at the heart of the national motorway network and is complemented by an adjacent stockyard with overhead cranage, ample storage facilities and a pre-assembly area.
Services available include laser, plasma and CNC cutting, welding, milling, drilling and both off and on-site assembly. All of these can be offered on a 24/7, supply-only, turnkey or bespoke basis to suit the needs of the project and client.
Stephen Iles sums up: “We already have a track record in such demanding industries as nuclear power generation, renewable energy and CHP, road and rail infrastructure and have even supplied steelwork to the British Antarctic Survey. Our renewed and extended certifications mean clients can be confident that we work to the very highest standards.”