‘The missing link, cooperatively placed’
The Australian Technical Infrastructure Committee (ATIC) is a technical group from across government agencies in Australia, with strong representation from Austroads members. ATIC co-ordinates an agenda of issues relevant to the technical procurement of strategic construction products that are used across public infrastructure, thus ensuring technical competence, safety and longevity. This includes standard technical specifications, a cementitious materials registration scheme for concrete and the development of conformity assessment schemes generally. The documents are being developed primarily for use by government agencies, but are also made available to the general public free-of-charge.
The documents are intended to address a number of issues at a national level, including:
– The huge array of construction product now sourced from a global marketplace;
– The expected increase in overseas product resulting from several free trade agreements;
– Frequency of ‘non-conforming’ and ‘non-compliant’ regulated construction products;
– Plus some two thirds of Australian Standards are not referenced in legislation;
– Untested product ‘conforming but non-compliant’ with intent and hence not fit-for-purpose;
– The lack of normative compliance requirements in Aust Stds for unregulated product;
– Compliance with ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, to separately specify conformity assessment;
– Alignment with Australia’s technical infrastructure, for international trade and credibility;
– A national requirement to adopt International Standards wherever possible;
– The absence of a construction products directive in Australia.
The master specification or suite of standard technical specifications called ATIC-SPEC, works in parallel with the older Water Services Specification (WS-SPEC). Also being developed for conformity assessment, is the ‘ATIC Suite of Schemes’. As an example, Section SP43 specifies the cementitious materials and includes requirements for both ‘product conformity’ and ‘conformity assessment’. Currently ‘conformity assessment’ can be addressed by pre-registration of cementitious materials with the 2nd party Cementitious Materials Registration Scheme (CMRS), administered by the Materials Technology Unit, RMS, on behalf of ATIC. Also CMRS maintains a Registered Products List which is regularly updated.
The format and style of the master specs reflects current best practice, with a range of industry sectors throughout the world adopting the system, including NATSPEC, the national building and services specification. They are Reference Specifications, that allow the Project Specifics table to be copied and inserted in project specifications and/or purchase orders. Users select from, add to, or modify the specs to suit the project needs.