The British Board of Agrément, the construction products certification body, has launched a new initiative called the Product Excellence Programme (PEP) during a Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) event at the Houses of Parliament.
The BBA’s PEP offers a higher level of product assessment, testing and monitoring which the BBA believes will provide increased confidence in building solutions to the whole supply chain.
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.”
Speaking about improving building standards, Martin Taylor Commercial Director at the Local Authority Building Control, said: “Significant changes in building regulations often follow disasters, but we should be more proactive and look to solve these problems before they occur.” One such proactive step is the BBA Product Excellence Programme.
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. PEP 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 and send them to the BBA Product Excellence Test Centre in Watford. If a product tested does not meet the agreed specifications it will be immediately investigated. Companies unable to address the source of failure will have their BBA Certificate withdrawn.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 prominent information about PEP compliance. Certificate holders who opt out of PEP must provide the BBA with product tests from another UKAS-approved laboratory. All new BBA clients will automatically be assessed against the PEP criteria.
“This new initiative reassures purchasers that the products they are using continue to match their published specification,” says Brian Moore.
“The BBA is committed to raising its standards of service to its clients and other sectors of the construction industry. BBA PEP adds further reassurance by means of consistent product safety testing. Clients’ inclusion in PEP demonstrates their commitment to this ideal and provides a rolling assurance of certified product performance to specifiers, government, insurers, lenders and customers, demonstrating product integrity on an ongoing basis. The creation of PEP is part of the BBA’s continuous drive for excellence in the construction industry and of our ongoing mission to ensure that the market has access to products and services it can trust.”