For a number of industries knowing what they have been supplied is really important particularly if the material is going into a safety critical component or fabrication or when a grade has been specified by a designer because it conforms to whatever characteristics their design requires.

To make sure you have been supplied what you ordered you can request a test certificate with your material. To ensure consistency in the industry the standard BS EN 10204 lays out the various types of inspection documents for steel products. There are two categories of certificate the first is referred to as documents based on non specific inspection and the second is documents based on specific inspection.

The inspection element of a test certificate is critical to ensuring you get what you want. Non specific relies on the manufacturer inspecting material to their own procedure material that is the same grade made in the same way as the material that’s been ordered and then saying whether the material complies with the order. The important thing to bear in mind is that the material inspected not necessarily the material that is actually supplied.

Whereas specific inspection certificates require a manufacturer to test the actual material or test units from the material being supplied.

The two types of non specific inspection certificates are 2.1 and 2.2

2.1 is a statement of compliance with an order by the manufacturer, so if a customer orders s355 the manufacturer tells them that’s what they have supplied.

2.2 is a document in which the manufacturer declares that the steel supplied are in compliance with the requirements of the order and in which he supplies test results based on non-specific inspection. So that means they may have tested some steel which complied and is the same grade as the steel that’s been order and they are sending those results with material that’s been ordered.

Again the key thing to bear in mind is the material that’s been inspected is not always going to be the material that’s supplied. The risk with this is that for whatever reason the manufacturer could mislead the customer either intentionally or unintentionally.

The two types of certificate where specific inspection of the steel takes place are referred to as is 3.1 and 3.2.

A 3.1 Certificate is issued by the manufacturer in which he declares that the steel supplied is in compliance with the order and in which he supplies test results. The test are carried out on the actually steel being supplied. The certificate is then validated by the manufacturer’s authorized inspection representative.

3.2 Certificate documents are prepared by the manufacture and either a purchasers authorized inspector or an inspector designated by official regulations and supply test results.

The specific inspection test certificates are clearly a more thorough way of ensuring the steel thats been supplied complies with whats been ordered. We know how important it is for customers to know they have the right material and that’s why all of our steel comes with a 3.1 certificate. We work with outside firms to provide 3.2 certification and welcome any 3rd parties that customers appoint to conduct testing on site if required. For information or a quote for flame cutting, lumsden grinding, heat treatment or fabrication please email To learn more about Flame Cutting go to our what is flame cutting post.