The inspection division of Cofrac in now offering a new accreditation scheme for the control and verification of removable structures to ensure the safety of people.
What is a removable structure?
A removable structure is a temporary and dismountable structure for sporting, cultural, commercial, or tourist events and consists of a framework that can be repeatedly assembled and dismantled for temporary use.
Removable structures are divided in two groups:
Context and challenges of this accreditation scheme
In France, until 2022, there were no rules for verifying the mechanical strength of demountable structures, or for assessing an organization’s ability to control and verify them. However, the industry had created a practical guide that the safety commissions also relied on.
With the Paris 2024 Olympics Games approaching and safety issues at meetings associated with major gatherings, it is necessary to fill the regulatory gap.
A working group has been set up by the French Ministry of the Interior and Overseas Territories to draw up a technical reference system setting out the design, installation and operating rules, as well as the inspection and verification methods for these structures. This work was based on the “Practical Guide
– Dismantable Equipment and Assemblies” drawn up in 2017 by SYNAPSE and the “Good Practice Guide
– Dismantable Equipment and Assemblies” of the Paris Police Prefecture.
Cofrac was also involved in this work due to the Ministry’s decision to rely on accredited organizations to carry out these inspections.
What are these checks and inspections?
Controls and checks are divided into two phases:
On October 1, 2022, Cofrac launched the accreditation scheme according to the NF EN ISO/IEC 17020 standard for two areas of inspection: the design control and the verification of assembly and operational inspection. The assessment plan relies on the decree published on August 5, 2022, setting out the safety rules, technical provisions, inspection control obligations and conditions applying to these temporary and dismountable structures.
This scheme has two specificities:
Accreditation is mandatory for organizations that are not approved technical inspectors. It therefore constitutes a real opportunity for these organizations to be able to provide this type of service, in view of their broader markets and skills.
Accreditation already existed for similar activities such as scaffolding, mechanical shelving and structural strength testing. To meet the demand for accreditation, Cofrac extended the qualifications of some of these technical assessors to these new schemes and has also qualified new assessors.
To date, 4 organizations are accredited for these new schemes, and others are in the process of becoming accredited.
Accreditation will be mandatory from 1 January 2024 for all inspection bodies wishing to operate in this technical field.