“Designing with Natural Stone” Portugal presented an opportunity for participating architects to learn about Portuguese natural stone materials and their extraction, processing and cladding technologies, new products and surface finishes. The course was led by Vince Marazita, a member of the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and president/owner of Marazita & Associates, an international consulting firm specializing in market research and seminars in the natural stone industry.
Portugal ranks eighth among the most important players in the global natural stone trade, but second in per-capita terms. The course included visiting the two largest stone quarrying and processing hubs in Portugal — the marble region in Alentejo (Vila Vicosa) and the limestone region in the Serras de Aires and Candeeiros Natural Park, which is located in central Portugal.
Throughout the week-long tour, architects sat in on various educational seminars on a diverse range of topics pertaining to processing natural stone, and more specifically, on stone from Portugal. Additionally, they visited Cevalor, the Technological Centre for Portuguese Natural Stone, where they had the opportunity to observe demonstrations in the institute’s testing laboratory.
Moreover, the architects had the opportunity to participate in architectural tours of Lisbon and the town of Evora as well as enjoying traditional cuisine of Portugal at dinners sponsored by the local Portuguese stone producers.
A new passportof Portuguese stone for the world —StonePT natural stone brand
by Miguel Goulão, executive vice president of Assimagra
Célia Marques, director of quality and environmental services of Assimagra
Natural stone is a rich resource in Portugal, even though there is no formal recognition of its quality available. To face this problem, StonePT was created. It is an organization that seeks the certification of Portuguese natural stone — aiming to receive international recognition, not only for its physical and mechanic characteristics, but also for the Portuguese know-how of working with the stone.
The StonePT brand was born and co-funded by Compete / Feder Program — led by three Portuguese associations, Assimagra — Portuguese Association of Mineral Resources, Valorpedra — Stone Cluster Association, and IST — Instituto Superior Técnico. Its greater goal is to portray the real image of stone, based on its quality.
StonePT’s greatest purpose is to promote and add credibility to its marks and all the associated companies, on both national and international levels. It is StonePT’s duty to spread the word, by meeting with leading construction companies — both national and international, promoting specific training in this area, evaluating all the market data and sending technical newsletters, maintaining an updated and interactive webpage, participating in national and international fairs, and communicating the brand through posters and other advertisements.
StonePT’s values are based on independence, technical criteria and credibility, as a way to assure the impartiality and integrity as an organization that relates with different entities. All the work is being carried out to make StonePT a quality and trusted trademark all around the world, for both Portuguese stone suppliers and quarriers.
How to use the StonePT system?
StonePT is driven through four essential steps: implementation, evaluation, management and certification. After implementing the specific requirements, the companies are put through an evaluation process, which will lead the product certification. After this, the company has only to maintain and manage the implemented mechanisms.
The implementation must assure that the product certification is made with the highest trust and least cost to the manufacturer. StonePT’s technical staff is always present working towards both national and international product certification development.
This certification’s credibility increase also includes the periodic tests/origin confirmation to the stone itself in accredited laboratories to ensure the product conformity. Therefore StonePT should maintain a strict relation with these accredited laboratories in order to be very effective on the confirmation of the results in the required tests. Sampling will also be an issue of focus, and it will be determined by using the technical knowledge of the technical committee’s specialized members.
Regarding technical inspections to the transforming sites, StonePT will have a pool of auditors and technical experts that are trained in auditing techniques and certification standards.
The permission to use the StonePT trademark will be given by the StonePT organization, according to the methodologies and procedures included in the trademark regulation.
The StonePT trademark will be granted when the following conditions are met:
• Demonstration of stone origin
• Compliance with the applicable legislation
• Implementation of production control methods
• Compliance with the technical demands determined by the technical specification (exclusive for natural stone products)
• Implementation and maintenance of the management system
• This certification can be granted for four management systems/sub-systems