Not all cast iron soil pipe is created equally. But standards are in place to ensure just that – if they are followed.
Requiring products to conform to applicable manufacturing standards is essential in today’s world of global outsourcing. Customers should have peace of mind of knowing that overseas manufacturers have diligently followed all the necessary quality control requirements embedded in the standards.
ASTM and the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute (CISPI) standards for pipe and fittings require consistent tensile strength, chemical and dimensional testing and radiation testing of raw materials. These tests must be done during the manufacturing process by the manufacturer to ensure consistent quality and to be in compliance with the standard.
CISPI’s Quality Control Program ensures that domestic manufacturers are manufacturing in compliance with the standards. The quality control program was created in the early 1960s.
CISPI technicians make three unannounced inspections of member company inventories per year to check dimensional accuracy, metallurgical data and record keeping requirements. NSF International recently approved CISPI’s quality control program to validate the compliance of member products with the CISPI 301 and ASTM A 74 Standards.
NSF also certifies that CISPI’s member-company cast iron soil pipe and fitting products, inspected by the Institute and NSF, are compliant with these standards. The addition of NSF’s certification adds an oversight to this on-going quality control program and provides an added assurance that products made by CISPI member companies are compliant with the product standards.
Some engineers and contractors may wonder why CISPI has such a rigorous quality control inspection program. If they see the ASTM A74 or A888 marked on a piece of pipe, they may automatically assume that someone other than the manufacturer had inspected the material and verified compliance with the standard. That is simply not true.
Contrary to popular belief, cast iron soil pipe products are not inspected by ASTM and the ASTM numbers that are typically marked on the products are not even required by the standards. Some importers of foreign-made cast iron pipe and fittings claim that third-party inspections of their plants are required by the code. That is also not the case. In fact, the standard has no requirement for third-party inspections. It clearly states that certification is the manufacturer’s responsibility – the entity that poured the iron – and cannot be delegated to a seller or a third-party after the fact.