New scheme beefs up product testing post-Grenfell
The British Board of Agrément (BBA) has launched a new scheme aimed at providing additional assurance to specifiers and clients when it comes to construction products amid heightened concern about quality following the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The construction products certification body has announced the creation of the Product Excellence Programme (PEP), which will see increased levels of product assessment, testing and monitoring.
The BBA claimed the new programme would give designers, specifiers, contractors and building inspectors increased confidence about building solutions.
Currently BBA management systems auditors visit client manufacturing facilities every six months to ensure that BBA-certified products continue to be manufactured in line with the agreed quality plan.
The new PEP scheme introduces a product testing regime to this process:
- Complexity 1 products – those which possess fire or structural type characteristics – will be tested annually.
- Complexity 2 products – those which do not possess fire or structural type characteristics – will be tested every three years.
For both complexities the BBA will randomly select products for testing during audits of manufacturing facilities. If a product tested does not meet the agreed specifications it will be subject to immediate further investigation. Companies unable to address the source of failure will have their BBA Certificate withdrawn.
Existing BBA Certificate holders are being automatically enrolled onto PEP and in future certificates will include information about PEP compliance.
Certificate holders who opt out of PEP will be required to provide the BBA with product tests from another UKAS-approved laboratory. All new BBA clients will automatically be assessed against the PEP criteria.
Brian Moore, BBA deputy CEO, said: “PEP is an enhancement to the proven audit and inspection service that the BBA has provided for many years, bringing additional rigour and excellence to the process. Post-Grenfell consumers are looking for a higher degree of reassurance and expect products to be tested regularly by a trustworthy and externally assessed independent body such as the BBA, which is UKAS accredited.”
The programme was officially launched during a Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) event at the Houses of Parliament this week, during which quality in construction was the focus.