The Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) Welding Fabricator Certification Scheme, known as ISO 3834, is operated by independent company SAIW Certification, which is authorised by the International Institute of Welding (IIW) as South Africa’s Authorised National Body for Company Certification.
SAIW Certification is the first organisation outside Europe to receive this authorisation.
SAIW Certification CEO Herman Potgieter says the number of companies applying for and getting ISO 3834 accreditation continues to grow in South Africa. “This is excellent as compliance with ISO 3834 ensures that our fabricators are working to the best possible standards. It also makes the process of choosing suppliers easier for large end-users.”
However, he adds that a company certification scheme is only as good as the credibility and reputation of the certification scheme itself. He assures that SAIW Certification is committed to operating a scheme which upholds a high standard for the manufacture of fusion welded products. He further explains that a company with ISO 3834 implies that the fabricator uses a system which enables it to produce a welder product that conforms to the product’s manufacturing standards.
SAIW Certification also runs an IIW Manufacturer Certification Scheme in accordance with the requirements of ISO 17021, which stipulates additional competence requirements for personnel involved in the audit and certification process.
“When SAIW Certification undertakes an audit of a company, a sample of the work is checked to confirm compliance with the requirements of the standard. Further, in order to maintain a credible scheme, one of the fundamental requirements is a channel whereby the public and users of the manufactured products can raise their concerns and complaints with respect to potential noncompliance to the required standards,” Potgieter explains.
SAIW Certification has a complaints and appeals procedure, which Potgieter explains entails a written submission sent to the SAIW Certification secretariat, whereby a complainant officially lodges a complaint in respect of the competence, integrity or quality of work of any certified company. An appeal is defined as a written request made by any interested party for the reconsideration of any substantive decision made as a result of a complaint, by an inquiry panel or other body of SAIW Certification.
On receipt of a complaint or appeal, SAIW Certification is obliged to acknowledge receipt in writing within 15 working days, also informing the respondent of the complaint. The respondent is then required to submit a written response to the SAIW Certification secretariat within 20 working days. SAIW Certification then appoints a Complaints Panel, consisting of at least two members from the Welding Fabricator Board, to consider the complaint.
The panel then decides if the complaint has any merit. If no merit is found, it will be dismissed. If the complaint has merit or the panel is not in a position to make a decision, further investigation will be required.