Celebrating 30 years of ASSDA

Celebrating 30 years of ASSDA
The Australian Stainless Steel Development Association was inaugurated on 17 December 1992, marking 30 years of supporting, growing, and defending the market for stainless steel in Australia. We are proud of this milestone and have enjoyed the challenges and triumphs delivered for the benefit of our material and industry. It's a testament to our Members, staff, and industry colleagues - past and present.



ASSDA is inaugurated with 31 Members to address and harness stainless steel's growth trend in Australia.


First National Conference, PacRim Stainless, is held at the Novotel North Beach Hotel in Wollongong.

First Australian Stainless Magazine is published and today continues to be ASSDA's flagship publication promoting stainless steel and its applications.


First edition of the Australian Stainless Reference Manual is published, an industry guide and comprehensive resource to stainless steel. In February 2020, ASSDA published the eighth edition.


First 'tea staining' problems were recognised and followed with two years of research. An education program focused on preventing coastal corrosion was initiated in 2001, and there is now a greater understanding of the topic and stronger relationships with asset owners and specifiers that are delivering results for the industry today. Technical information, recommendations, and specifications have been published since this time and ASSDA's influence on this subject has stretched offshore.


The threat of standards restrictions on the release of particulate and gaseous matter in welding fume led to a battle from ASSDA at Standards Australia and with WorkSafe Australia. The proposals would have essentially seen a ban on welding stainless steel. ASSDA rigorously fought the proposal, eventually winning the day and providing guidelines adequate for fabricators to meet regulations in a simple way. To do so, ASSDA partnered with Weld Australia and other industry organisations to create guidance notes.


The stainless steel rebar market in Australia is established through ASSDA in conjunction with Arminox Australia with the delivery of information, education, and rigorous technical advice on the durability of concrete structures. Amongst the first applications was the floating walkway in Brisbane which saw a modest several hundred tonnes of stainless steel used in the pontoon structures with many more tonnes of stainless steel specified for the topside of the structure.

Australian Standard AS 1528 was first issued and developed by an ASSDA group of stakeholders in the manufacture, supply, fabrication, and use of stainless steel tube and associated fittings in the food manufacturing industries. Its aim is to standardise hygienic tube for use in dairy, food and beverage manufacturing and has been successful in maintaining the required food standards in Australia and New Zealand.


In conjunction with and through the World Stainless Association (formerly ISSF), the online Stainless Steel Specialist Course is launched. The 17-module, course provides a standard level of knowledge and qualification and is designed to improve knowledge of stainless steel, its properties, performance and uses. Further work down the track saw the first five modules of the course made available in Chinese, Indian and Portuguese.


An opportunity in Brisbane saw ASSDA and Blucher Australia test stainless steel for the plumbing market, establishing risers in the Aurora building in stainless steel that were used for the dual purpose of fire service and potable water supply. This resulted in standards being written by ASSDA operatives, launching the market for stainless steel plumbing across Australia in a range of designs and fitting technologies.

Launch of the ASSDA Accreditation Scheme, an industry-based program designed to establish a benchmark for stainless steel fabricators to become recognised providers (ASSDA Accredited Fabricators) of a standardised level of quality.


The first edition of the ASSDA Food Code of Practice is published, a technical specification covering the requirements for the design, fabrication, inspection, transport, and installation of stainless steel plant and equipment in the food and beverage industry. 


Development of a Standard covering the grade and dimensions of stainless steel pipes and tubes suitable for water supply and drainage systems completed, and covered into the full Australian/New Zealand Standard, AS/NZS 3500.


A report called Whole of Life Cost Comparison and Cost Benefit Analysis for Steel Structures Constructed in the Foreshore Zone is published by a Griffith University civil engineering student in conjunction with the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC). The study investigates multiple structural scenarios from the perspective of what would represent the most cost-effective solution: hot-dipped galvanised steel, paint systems, duplex systems using both HDG and paint, or stainless steel. The result was that stainless steel is the most viable option based on cost alone for structures with a design life greater than 19 years. This in turn saw the GCCC adopt stainless steel as the default materials specification for structures within the foreshore zone requiring a design life greater than 19 years.


Along with other industry groups, ASSDA joins the Queensland Jobs from Queensland Resources alliance to campaign for reforms to deliver more skilled local work from Queensland's major resources projects. ASSDA with its industry partners rallied at Parliament House in Brisbane in a result that saw the State Government commit to policy reforms that would see local manufacture being integrated into the supply chain for future project approvals.

ASSDA secures an estimated $200 million trade within the Australian stainless steel industry, following the 2012 draft proposals to the National Construction Code (NCC) indicating that barriers erected for surfaces over one metre above the ground would have to be 'non-climbable'. This would have effectively banned the use of horizontal balustrades, including stainless steel wire balustrades. ASSDA actively lobbied against the proposed change and formed an industry group called the 'Balustrades and Barriers Committee' to address the lack of standard for horizontal wire barriers and balustrade structures including the restriction of children. The decision by the Australian Building Codes Board to not implement the proposed changes is a testament to the dedication, promotion, and advocacy efforts of ASSDA and all stakeholders involved.


ASSDA hosts its first webinar on a topic focusing on stainless steel finishes, expanding its reach in its efforts to educate the wider industry on stainless steel. ASSDA has delivered 44 topics over 78 webinars as of January 2023.


ASSDA's Australian Industry Stainless Steel Supplier and Fabricator Awards is launched at PacRim Stainless 2017. The awards program promotes excellence in stainless steel supply and performance and in Australian design and fabrication. The Peter Matheson Industry Service Award was also introduced, recognising industry veterans for their commitment and service to the Australian stainless steel industry.


ASSDA wins its first World Stainless Industry Award - Silver Award for Best New Development for the Murray Irrigation PIIOP Round 3 Project on behalf of ASSDA Member, AWMA Water Control Solutions. 

The fifth edition of the ASSDA Stainless Steel Stock Guide is published 11 years after its last release. An online-only publication detailing the stocking portfolio of commonly-used stainless steel semi-finished and finished materials in Australia, it is ASSDA's most downloaded publication. The Stock Guide is now revised and republished on an annual basis.


Launch of the ASSDA Young Professionals Network, a new initiative to support the emerging generation of stainless steel professionals and leaders. The aim is to connect, empower and build the knowledge and leadership skills of young professionals to ensure the future success of Australia's stainless steel industry.

ASSDA is in the early stages of spearheading a project a revitalise the recently withdrawn AS 4673 standard (Cold-formed stainless steel structures) with Standards Australia.

A night to remember: Celebrating 30 years of ASSDA
30 November 2022, The Calile Hotel Brisbane

This article was featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 77 (2023).


Lissel Pilcher