The Commerce Commission has lifted its advice to Euro Corporation Limited (Euro Corporation) not to sell ductile steel mesh represented as grade 500E after reaching an interim agreement.

The agreement, which has been reached after consultation with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), allows Euro Corporation to sell batches of steel mesh provided they pass specific independent testing and have never failed testing in the past.

As part of the agreement, Euro Corporation has signed court enforceable undertakings that require each current and future batch of 500E grade steel mesh to be tested at an IANZ accredited laboratory. The steel mesh must pass 18 tests per batch (3 sheets, 6 tests per sheet) before being offered for sale as 500E mesh, and all test results must be provided to the Commission.

The testing requirements are in line with an expected clarification to the standard that MBIE is currently developing, after convening a technical advisory meeting with industry and technical experts last week. The clarification will be designed to ensure a uniform approach to testing steel mesh under the standard (AS/NZ 4671:2001) and remove any confusion over the appropriate testing methodology.

The Commission will reassess the need for court enforceable undertakings when MBIE has clarified or amended the standard. A copy of the undertakings is available shortly on the Enforcement Response Register.

The Commission’s investigation into historical non-compliance with the standard is ongoing and any batches of steel mesh that failed the Commission’s testing or any other testing will not be sold.

The Commission’s investigation into steel mesh is focused on possible misrepresentations as to the performance characteristics of the mesh. Misrepresenting a product as complying with the standard when it does not is a breach of the Fair Trading Act 1986 for which companies can be fined up to $600,000 per offence.

MBIE sets and enforces building standards in New Zealand. The Commission’s role under the Fair Trading Act relates to misleading statements and misrepresentations.