Domestic RMI safety concerns highlighted

Poor workmanship and uncontrolled value engineering are believed to pose the biggest risks to the built environment – higher than facade fires – with the domestic RMI sector being a particular area of concern, according to a recent study.

The British Board of Agrément’s industry consultation into driving up construction product safety standards for Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs) collected more than 10,000 viewpoints during a 15-week consultation.

Product manufacturers and BBA certificate user groups representing architects, specifiers, warranty providers, insurers, construction managers, funders, building control, and regulators all gave their opinions.

The initiative was launched to gather feedback on the role that building product certification plays in the safe construction and refurbishment of HRRBs, the BBA’s proposal of creating an ‘Agrément Plus’ certification scheme to deal specifically with HRRB safety requirements, and to explore wider issues.

“Risks from poor workmanship and unchecked value engineering were on our radar to investigate,” BBA’s technical director Prof Bill Hewlett said. “But the strength of feeling about them came as a surprise and is an important finding.”

The consultation reinforced the very clear message that responsibility for safety in the built environment lies with everyone throughout the supply chain, build process, and onwards.

While it echoes the principles of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Golden Thread, manufacturers, trade associations and user groups expressed concerns for the domestic RMI sector, pointing out that on-site control is often not practical to independently verify, and that design detailing needs close attention.

“These questions of workmanship control and uncontrolled value engineering warrant industry leadership attention, and clearly a focus on domestic RMI is called for,” Bill said.

For an executive summary or full report of Consultation to the Industry: Construction Product Assessment relating to Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs), visit: