SHAH ALAM: Testing, inspection and certification body Sirim QAS International Sdn Bhd wants to position itself as the regional fire protection testing hub in Southeast Asia (SEA).
Its CEO Mohd Azanuddin Salleh (pix) said Sirim QAS is the biggest one-stop centre for fire-testing services in the region.
Sirim QAS recently launched its External Cladding Systems Fire Testing facility in Sirim Rasa, Hulu Selangor, to test fire performance of external cladding system for buildings to the British Standard, BS 8414 Part 1 and 2. It is the first of such test lab in SEA.
This new testing facility will support the Fire and Rescue Department to ensure better fire safety for buildings. All external cladding systems of buildings are required to undergo this testing before getting approval from the Fire and Rescue Department. Industry players can also leverage on the testing facility to enhance the quality of fire performance of their external cladding system.
Globally, there are only about 10 test facilities, including those of Sirim QAS, that can test fire performance of external cladding systems for buildings.
Azanuddin said there is no other such facility in the SEA region, hence there is potential growth in this area for Sirim QAS. The closest fire-testing facility to Malaysia is in Australia and Sirim QAS’ fee is more competitive compared with Australia’s.
“We’re at the forefront for fire testing. We want to position ourselves as the centre for the fire safety conformity sector and we want to expand our services into fire safety design assessment and many other systems and certifications,” Azanuddin told SunBiz in an interview recently.
Sirim QAS plans to market its fire-testing services to Indonesia, Thailand and India after serving the Singaporean and Philippine markets. It is also considering China and plans to form strategic alliance in these markets for expansion.
“We’re not going there and be firing bullets. We need to go there in a ‘sniper’ mode, carry a few things that we have a unique selling proposition ̶ our fire-testing services.”
He said the demand for fire testing is there, citing that in the UK, it is mandatory for existing buildings to be tested and that there is a three-year waiting list for cladding testing. “We’ve got orders from the UK to do the testing here,” he added.
Azanuddin said Sirim QAS is also at the forefront for electrical testing, energy efficiency testing, photovoltaic testing and no other certification body in Southeast Asian provides a one-stop centre for testing, inspection and certification as wide as Sirim.
“We want to be in a position that we can do all sorts (of testing) due to different regions and standards, so that our competency is widespread. We have other unique schemes and services that can be offered to the region as well.”
Sirim QAS is looking to add aerospace, medical devices schemes and other certifications such as the IECEX (International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres) and COPC (Certification of Personnel Competency) next year.
“The Middle East is one centre for ICEX. We foresee it will be a big thing in the Middle East because they have a huge oil and gas industry there,” said Azanuddin.
Sirim QAS is the largest subsidiary of national research and technology development body Sirim Bhd, contributing 55-60% to the group’s revenue and employing one-third (800) of the workforce.