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Unfortunately there are no pipe divining rods, pipe whisperers or cast iron pipe-sniffing dogs that can determine if your soil pipe and fittings meet the standards specified by the codes or the engineer's job specifications.

According to the ASTM and CISPI standards, only the foundry that casts the pipes and fittings can assure the purchaser that the quality control procedures required by the product standards were complied with at the time the material was cast. The standards prohibit examination or test of the physical, chemical or raw material properties after the time of manufacture as proof of compliance. Third party certifiers or inspectors claiming to certify compliance must conduct these examinations at the point of manufacture as the products are made.

However, many sellers of Chinese-made products insist they meet the applicable manufacturing standards simply because they were listed with a third party certifier. To protect the consumer, new revisions to the ASTM A888, ASTM A74 and CISPI 301 standards added specific requirements for sellers or manufacturers who choose to employ third party certifiers or inspectors.

The revisions include:

  • Physical inspection of at least 10 different sizes or types of pipe, measuring every applicable dimension found in the tables in the ASTM or CISPI standards to ensure interchangeability between different manufacturers and compliance with the product standards.
  • A review of test reports that substantiate that physical, chemical and radiation screening tests are being performed and that the products are compliant with the requirements of the product standards. Dimensional and marking inspection reports by the manufacturer are part of this review.
  • A requirement that sellers or manufacturers who rely on third party certifiers or inspectors as proof of compliance provide the third party inspection reports as part of their certification package. The standard requires that these foundry inspection reports be provided to the design professional and authority having jurisdiction when requested.

What if re-sellers can’t provide manufacturer certification reports or detailed third party product inspection reports? Then the product standards have not been met. Even with the product inspection reports, there are a few questions you can ask that help assure compliance.

Questions like:

  • Where was the pipe manufactured and who is the manufacturer?
  • What was the date of manufacture? This information must be marked on each pipe and must include the day, month and year. This is important since it enables the test reports to be matched with the products provided on the project.
  • Who owns the producing foundry? Can the seller verify any claims to owning the producing foundry overseas?
  • Are the pipes and fittings marked in such a manner that it readily identifies the manufacturer to the end user of the product? Sellers can go out of business. The end user should have some method to identify who made the product if there is a problem in the future.
  • Were the raw materials screened for radioactive material? How were they screened? Was the method and equipment suitable for the purpose?
  • Were tests performed to determine the significant chemical constituents of the iron?
  • Were tensile bars poured and tested at least every four hours? Were the bars compliant with the dimensions and the tensile strength requirements found in the standards?
  • Were dimensional inspections made every 12 hours during the course of production?
  • Are records kept for seven years?

These are all questions a manufacturer or seller of cast iron soil pipe and fittings should be able to easily answer.



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