This is the third and final blog from the series "Still Another Mile to Go?" (Links to Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here and here) which considers the recommendations made in "Testing for a Safer Future", a government commissioned review by Paul Morrell and Anneliese Day (the "Review").

The key areas considered in this final instalment of the series are (1) marketing and product information and (2) labelling and traceability.

Marketing and Product Information

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, misleading information in the marketing of construction products became an issue of vital importance. 

The authors of the Review suggest that the Construction Products Regulator should prioritise identifying misleading market and product information given the ease with which this can be detected and proven in comparison to the deficiencies in the products themselves.

The Review also acknowledges the importance of the standards for acceptable marketing practice to the industry which is set out by the Code for Construction Product Association (the "Code"). However, as the Code is currently voluntary and non-regulatory, its success depends on:

  • buy-in by the sector;
  • its effectiveness in deterring or removing false or misleading marketing information or information which does not meet the requirements for clarity;
  • the effectiveness of the oversight body and its independent governance [1], and
  • the difference customers see between manufacturers under the Code and those who are not.

Given the Code's overlapping objectives with the Third-Party Certification Schemes, the Review suggests these initiatives should coordinate with each other to avoid confusion and duplication of rules and increase protection.

Labelling and Traceability

The Hackitt Review called for 'a consistent labelling and traceability system, making use of the digital technologies that are already available and learning from other sectors'. The authors of the Review found that there was no significant advance towards this objective under the Building Safety Programme and reinforced this recommendation for the future.

Steps in the right direction would include:

  • The use of labels with sophisticated ecology, such as blockchain;
  • The use of digital labels with the ability to uniquely identify a product throughout its whole life cycle;
  • The use of consistent and universally understood terminology in labelling and;
  • The recognition of the nature of a product in its label;

The authors advise that, to complement the above, a framework standard should be developed which should cover:

  • provision of a unique product identification reference to ensure traceability and longevity;
  • the characteristics of a robust registration system;
  • consistent terminology and protocols for exchanging data;
  • details of the information to be included in the product and whether this is provided on the label or by a link to information held elsewhere (e.g., through QR codes); and
  • details of how labelling should be attached to or accompany a range of products to ensure the prescribed information reaches the final users.

For further information on matters relating to the Building Safety Act please see our Building & Fire Safety Hub.

[1] The Code is now managed by Construction Product Information Ltd - a not-for-profit organisation with independent governance and management set up by the Considerate Constructors Scheme to administer the code


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