Time for standard practice?

Product certification within our industry isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a legal requirement. CENSolutions’ managing director Wayne Rogerson talks about the issue of non-compliance and explains why now is the time to take a stand.

The issue of non-compliance is a hot topic in the press at the moment – but sadly it’s not a new issue. Our industry is very much driven by innovation, which is fantastic, but at what cost? Legislation changes tend to impact on manufacturing processes and we understand that proving compliance can become a headache, especially where new products are concerned. That said, it’s not to be ignored.

There is a vast number of diligent companies within our industry that continuously strive for improved quality and higher standards – but unfortunately, they are not the majority.

CENSolutions has helped manufacturers in the fenestration industry achieve and sustain the required certification in order to comply with legislation for over 14 years now. During this time, the issue of non-compliance is something we have battled with. There have been a number of changes to standards which have brought with them a requirement for a change in working practices.

Sadly though, these changes have not always been implemented, promoted by legislative or representative bodies, and standards not always adhered to by all manufacturers.

This might be due to lack of understanding, the cost implications, the impact on procedures and staffing… there’s always a reason, but getting caught out with compliance is not a position you want to find yourself in.

The Trading Standards Institute has been tasked with the job of investigating complaints relating to manufactured fenestration products that are covered by the Construction Products Regulation. There are currently hundreds of manufacturers operating within the fenestration industry without the appropriate certification, which are, ultimately, trading illegally. Severe ramifications can be enforced on manufacturers that fail to comply, which include:

A fine of up to £5,000

Up to three months in prison for the CEO

Product production may be forced to cease

Most importantly, manufacturers should have a Declaration of Performance and relevant test reports to support it. They also need to have a Factory Production Control system in place, which requires specific daily tests to be carried out and these records retained for ten years. All of these results, compliance proof and test reports should be available.

Raising awareness of this issue is a huge step in the right direction in terms of eradicating the unethical element of our industry. But with 400-500 construction products in the marketplace, it is difficult for Trading Standards Officers to know what they are looking for to police this matter. That’s why, in 2016, CENSolutions volunteered to provide training presentations on the Construction Products Regulation to various Trading Standards Regions across the UK. Over the course of the year we presented to four locations and included information on BS EN 1279 – for which we have provided simplified checklists and detail on BS EN 1279 – as well as information on low sight units, the sharing of initial type test data and the rules governing it. We have also provided similar check lists and information on BS EN 12150 toughened glass, BS EN 14449 laminated glass, BS EN 14351 windows and external doorsets, and PAS 24.

At CENSolutions, we want to do what we can to raise standards, not just for our customers but for the industry as a whole. Better working practices create better products, which creates better reputations. As well as working closely with our customers to ensure best practice and quality, we also work with industry federation bodies to support the elimination of the unethical element of the market.

It’s time the industry pulls together to make a stand against non-compliance. Meeting the standards needs to become standard practice, with no excuse.