Civilcast recently achieved the coveted Global-Mark Certification for its steel and ductile iron products. As Ajit Pujari, Head of Compliance, Sustainability & Quality explains, compliance is integral to more than just product quality.
Compliance in many ways can be considered an under-appreciated aspect of infrastructure product development.
Covers and grates are just two of a wide range of infrastructure components that are subject to product quality assurance and compliance.
These products make up one of the most important aspects of infrastructure in stormwater management, a key cog in enabling the overall drainage network to function properly, to reduce the chances of hazards such as flooding.
Ajit Pujari is the Head of Compliance, Sustainability & Quality at Civilcast, a manufacturer and distributor of a range of products for civil construction and infrastructure applications.
For Pujari, product compliance is more important than just a desire to achieve industry works and contracts. He says quality assurance is essential across the entire industry.
“It’s not just about quality issues, any defects can also lead to safety issues, which could result in an accident or even a fatality in extreme incidents,” he says.
The use of non-compliant ductile iron and steel covers and grates can heighten risks associated with environmental and load conditions, as well as potential property damage caused by poorly designed drainage systems.
Pujari says compliance can also contribute to the overall sustainability of infrastructure products, with a product’s longevity able to create both financial and environmental savings by reducing the need for re-manufacturing and disposing of faulty products.
“Sustainability is more about education. We need to make sure we comply with Australian Standards too because of Australia’s commitment goals to reach net zero by 2030. We need to start somewhere, so this is a journey,” he says.
“It’s not only about your processes, but also your suppliers. We need [to ask questions] around the processes that they follow, and their impact environmentally with emissions. There’s quite a bit of work that we are doing in the background.
“This includes looking into materials like sustainable concrete, to make our manufacturing as sustainable as possible.”
Civilcast’s expertise and passion towards product compliance and quality has recently been reinforced after it received a Global-Mark Certification for its range of ductile iron and steel covers and grate products.
The Global-Mark Certification signifies a company or products’ compliance with specific requirements within Australia, New Zealand and international standards.
Every product within Civilcast’s ductile and steel covers and grates range complies with AS3996-2019 and has received the Global-Mark Certification.
“I believe we’re the first company that specialises in the supply of steel and ductile iron products to achieve this Global-Mark Certification confirming compliance. This certification involved an external independent third party, reviewing and assessing our suppliers, internal systems our processes and of course, our products,” Pujari says.
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Pujari says attaining the certification has been one of the biggest highlights during his time at Civilcast. He adds that the certification will only help to drive further improvement and manufacturing of high-quality infrastructure products by the business.
“We are very much a pioneer in the industry by achieving this certification. It’s one of the biggest achievements for me personally as well as for Civilcast,” Pujari says.
“We wanted to make sure that every product that we are bringing onto site is 100 per cent compliant. We can be confident of that as independent third parties were testing our products in an independent NATA accredited lab. As a result of this you can have 100 per cent confidence in the product that you’re supplying to the market.
“Overall, it’s been a great achievement.”
Despite attaining the Global-Mark Certification, Civilcast is not resting on its laurels, with constant internal quality assurance checks on its custom-made products.
“What we’re doing is different to many of our competitors,” says Pujari. “We have warehouses across the country, we are guided by checks of our products. We have developed our own product specification for every product that pretty much covers how we’re going to make a compliant product, the expectations around the product and how we’re going to deliver that to the customer. That’s a big point of difference for us.”
Pujari adds that valuable lessons learned throughout third-party and internal audits have highlighted potential growth areas for Civilcast, on what is an on-going journey towards quality and compliance.
“It’s not a ‘one-off’ process. Just because we’ve got the certification, doesn’t mean we’ve stopped,” he says.
“The independent third parties will continue to visit and audit, so we want to make sure every year that we’re testing our products in NATA accredited labs. On top of the Global-Mark Certification, another great achievement will be the completion of our own quality lab, where we’re going to test each and every product.
“All of these combined efforts are going to help us grow our business and make an even [greater] impact on the market. I’m really pleased to see that this approach is working so well.”
This NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities)-accredited lab will also guide future product development, as Pujari explains.
“It’s always about continuous improvement. There’re always new ideas coming into the business depending on what our customers require, so any new product designs have to follow our process,” he says.
This process includes incorporating the needs of the customer against industry and internal specifications. New drawings for new products are required to be checked by certified engineers before manufacturing begins.
Civilcast’s reputation as a certified and quality provider of infrastructure products has led to successful tenders on projects such as the Pacific Highway, Snowy 2.0 Expansion and the Western Sydney International Airport Project.
“We haven’t seen anyone go into quality on a level like this. Even for the manufacturing of our precast products, which is very much a manual process, we’ve gone to that next level to make it as automated as possible with the state-of-the-art technology that we’re continuing to develop,” Pujari says.