The largest issuer of construction products certifications in the UK has revealed plans to begin randomised testing of building products already on the market.
The British Board of Agrément (BBA), which issues certificates on building products such as cladding and insulation, has proposed an ‘Agreement Plus’ programme that would see the random testing of selected materials at regular intervals.
The move would mark a change from the regulator’s current testing programme, which only allows for tests to be conducted on products before they have been certified as safe.
The BBA said that it also wanted to engage with manufacturers earlier in their product development process.
Such engagement, it said, would include the observation of tests submitted for assessment, reviews of all test results, and storage of samples of materials used in tests for future reference.
The BBA proposals represent part of a new consultation launched by the body aiming to drive up safety standards for materials used in high-risk residential buildings (HRRBs).
The BBA said the consultation, which is being supported by Dame Judith Hackitt, aims to secure a consensus for an effective approach to safely certificating construction products for use on HRRBs, including those taller than 18m.
The regulator has called on manufacturers, suppliers, designers, specifiers, and others relevant parties to provide feedback to the consultation, which is schedule to run till 19 March.
BBA chief executive Hardy Giesler said: “The BBA Agrément certification scheme has served the industry well for more than 50 years, but it is widely recognised that HRRBs pose specific and unique challenges.
“It is these that we wish to address through engagement with as many stakeholders as possible in order to reach agreement on the best way forward.
“Our objective is to generate a solution that has broad support across the many diverse stakeholders.”
Giesler added that the BBA would be working with Dame Judith Hackitt, the Industry Safety Steering Group, and the recently announced Construction Product Regulator on the new programme.
The launch of the consultation follows evidence given to the inquiry into the Grenfell fire, which killed 72 people in June 2017.
The inquiry has recently heard how several of the products used on the tower’s refurbishment had been certified as safe for use on buildings taller than 18m due to misleading test results.
Image: Barry Barnes/Shutterstock
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