AENOR can provide alternative product certification

AENOR can provide alternative product certification

By Polymer Hot and Cold Technology Association

Ricardo Galan from AENOR recently visited South Africa to meet with the Polymer Hot and Cold Technology Association (PHACT), as well as the Joint Acceptance Scheme for Water Installation Components (JASWIC).

This was the outcome of several years of effort to create a workable product certification service for local manufacturers/distributors to fill the void recently left when sudden changes in the existing certification procedures proved impractical.

Galan answered some points about AENOR, their activities, and future intent in the South African market.

Background to AENOR and what they do

AENOR is primarily a certification facility based in Spain, with branches in 12 more countries, mainly in South America, Europe, and Morocco. For the plastic piping systems certification, we have issued certificates to more than 200 factories in 30 countries. AENOR is also the owner of CEIS, an internationally recognised testing facility for the plastic piping systems with all the accreditations to carry out full testing over products.

<Sub Head> When and why did AENOR get involved in the South African market?

In 2014, two of our local (European) clients who intended to market their PVC-O pipes covered by a certificate in South Africa, asked us to assist with product certification. At approximately the same time, we were approached by PHACT to investigate product certification to South African National Standards (SANS) for hot and cold water polymer pipe systems.

Since we offer such certifications to ISO standards already, and since those same ISO standards form the basis of the respective SANS, it was a relatively simple thing for us to be able to offer the service. Of course, we had to gain accreditation from SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) in order for us to be able to offer valid certification, but all this has been achieved and is currently active.

What certifications are on offer at present?

We have awarded 23 product certificates to SANS and several more are in the process of being adjudicated. At present, we offer certification under the following standards:

  • SANS/ISO 15874 (Polypropylene hot and cold water piping systems)
  • SANS/ISO 15875 (PEX hot and cold water piping systems)
  • SANS/ISO 15876 (Polybutylene hot and cold water piping systems)
  • SANS/ISO 21003 (Multilayer hot and cold water piping systems)
  • SANS/ISO 16422 (Bi-axially oriented) PVC piping for pressure pipe.

Are certifications valid in South Africa in terms of things like the building codes and local by-laws?

Yes. One of the reasons for my visit has been to meet with JASWIC. Some time ago, JASWIC agreed that they would accept product certification awarded by bodies other than the SABS towards JASWIC acceptance, providing such bodies were properly accredited by SANAS. Having achieved this SANAS accreditation, the holder of an AENOR-issued product certificate, on application to JASWIC, can then have their product/system added to the JASWIC accepted list.

My understanding is that almost all the metropolitan areas within South Africa use this list to verify whether a product may or may not be used. Building inspectors can check on this list to ensure only approved products are used. So yes, our certificates are entirely valid and, via JASWIC, the products can be legally used on building sites throughout the country. Additionally, we have just defined during our meeting a direct communication channel with JASWIC to provide them with all the additional technical information they could need to recognise the AENOR certificates.

Manufacturers’ response to being able to gain certification via AENOR

With relief, I think. Many of our new clients have told us that they have lost large contracts because they were unable to offer valid, current product certification. Others have told us that they have been forced to trade without certification and had to argue the merits of their products with specifiers, architects, and building inspectors on a case-by-case basis. So, with that wide list of hot and cold water polymer pipe systems certified, I think everyone is relieved that the situation can now gradually return to normal, not only for manufacturers and distributors of products, but also for the municipalities and their building inspectors.

Plans to expand the range of product certifications for South African companies

The process with SANAS is that we may only apply to become SANAS accredited for a specific SANS once we have granted a certificate to that standard. In other words, SANAS will only accredit once there is a demand from the market. So, as clients approach us, we can expand our offering. Considering that we offer certification to over 65 international standards for plastic piping systems, the opportunity is quite large.

In fact, we are now working on the accreditation of products according to SANS 22391 for PERT pipes and systems, and ending the certification rules according to SANS 14236 for mechanical compression fittings, according to SANS 8070 for PE fittings for discharge and according to SANS 681 for elastomeric O-rings.


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