Manufacturers face ‘challenging questions’ and new Brexit rules

Suppliers should expect more scrutiny and regulation

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Construction product manufacturers will face increasingly searching questions about the performance data they publish following the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, according to CIBSE technical director Hywel Davies.

Speaking at a webinar hosted by the CIBSE Patrons during the Build2Perform online conference, Davies said this should not prove to be a problem for companies ‘who have everything in order’, but that others may find it challenging and could be forced to repeat tests to satisfy the new regulatory authorities.

He told Patrons’ vice-chair Scott Mason that firms should also be preparing for the new post-Brexit regime. CE marking will continue to be accepted as evidence of legal compliance in the UK for the whole of 2021, but will be superseded by the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) scheme from the start of 2022.

Companies will also have to use UK-registered certification bodies to achieve the UKCA mark and Davies warned that there could be a significant testing backlog if manufacturers do not move quickly to put plans in place for the change.

This could be exacerbated by the Grenfell inquiry, which has raised questions about the safety and compliance of certain products.

‘If you are managing a project, you should be asking yourself now what equipment and materials you will need in the frst few months of 2022,’ Davies told the webinar. ‘Imagine a building safety inspector turning up and asking to see evidence that the products you have on site are compliant.’

He also warned of the possibility of a ‘major hiatus’ towards the end of 2021, when specifiers may put pressure on manufacturers to supply them before the CE mark transition period ends.

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