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Steel & Tube puts hold on mesh supply

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/04/2016
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Steel & Tube has halted the supply of its seismic reinforcing steel mesh until it can prove the product meets industry standards.

They join Euro Corp and Brilliance Steel, who last month agreed to stop selling their steel mesh after it failed stretch tests. The moves could put the earthquake reinforcing product in short supply.

The Commerce Commission launched an investigation into Steel & Tube last month after the company admitted selling "many thousands of sheets" of earthquake reinforcing mesh incorrectly labelled as being independently certified.

It used the logo of Christchurch-based independent testing laboratory Holmes Solutions on its steel mesh for four years despite it not having carried out the tests.

Steel & Tube's in-house laboratory, which is not independently accredited by national accreditation body IANZ, had instead been used to test the mesh.

Steel & Tube on Wednesday announced it would only sell mesh shown to be compliant by an external testing agent in order to reassure customers.

"We wanted to provide our customers with the same assurances we have in our testing regime," said chief executive Dave Taylor.

However, it had taken a while to get an external lab capable of doing the work and the supply could be disrupted in the short term.

The Commerce Commission said it had had seismic steel mesh from various companies tested and the Steel & Tube sample, like Euro Corp and Brilliance, had failed the test for elongation. However, that alone did not mean it was non-compliant with building standards.

A Fletcher Building sample was tested as part of the investigation, with no concerns raised.

Steel & Tube, a listed company, made a statement to the NZX on the testing, saying the company had been surprised by the variability in the laboratory results.

Mr Taylor suggested it could be time to review the standards regime because there was significant ambiguity around interpreting the testing standards.

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