2 Jun 2016

Calls for steel inquiry go international

8:31 pm on 2 June 2016

A top international testing organisation has been alerted to the Huntly steel failures and wants them investigated.

Sixteen hundred tonnes of seismic steel intended to hold up four bridges on the Waikato Expressway failed tests in New Zealand, despite passing tests in China.

A photo posted by NZTA to Facebook in May 2016 shows the Huntly northern interchange, looking south.

A photo posted by NZTA to Facebook in May 2016 shows part of the $450 million Huntly section of the $2 billion Waikato Expressway. Photo: NZTA / Facebook

International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) has alerted the international network of accreditation authorities - International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) - after Steel & Tube said some of those tests were by an ILAC-accredited lab.

IANZ said it was difficult to proceed with inquiries because it had not been told which mill in China made the steel, whether the mill's own lab or another tested it, and whether the lab was properly accredited.

It was also not known which steel the lab was given to test.

Steel & Tube and the contractors, Fulton Hogan and HEB Construction, have refused to release this information to RNZ News.

IANZ has also alerted the Chinese National Accreditation Service.

The government said earlier today that it would not investigate the importation of the weak steel, which it described as a one-off.

The steel should have been used to hold up four bridges on the $450 million Huntly Bypass, which forms part of the $2 billion Waikato Expressway.

It was still used in two of the bridges, alongside concrete reinforcement, and the contractors have asked Steel & Tube for replacement tube piles for the two others.

The New Zealand Transport Agency said there were no safety issues with any of the bridges.

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