New survey will initiate ‘reform’ of construction product information provision

The CPA’s Peter Capelhorn

A survey report, launched last week, is expected to lay the foundations for reform to the way construction product information is provided by manufacturers and communicated to those that use it. Insights from the survey will help form recommendations for manufacturers to improve the consistency and clarity of product marketing information – a key issue highlighted in the Hackitt Review following the Grenfell Tower Fire.

The need for a comprehensive regime that ensures all construction products are properly labelled and marketed was one of many recommendations in the Hackitt Review, which made suggestions to improve building regulations and fire safety in the built environment. The survey responds directly to these recommendations.

The Construction Product Information Survey, carried out for the Construction Products Association (CPA) by NBS, explores how product information is presented and made available to the entire construction supply chain. It represents the views of 524 construction industry professionals who use product and performance data as part of their jobs, including manufacturers, merchants, architects, engineers, surveyors, contractors, local authorities and FM providers.

The survey reveals the current difficulties of accessing the relevant information required to assess the performance of a product and make informed decisions. Amongst its findings include a preference for the digital provision of product information, as well as a desire for standardised and more complete information, including highlighting applications where the product may or may not be suitable for use.

It also makes clear that there is strong industry support for the introduction of competence levels for those specifying, installing or maintaining products and the systems they make up, as well as an industry code of conduct for manufacturers to ensure that product information has been properly verified before publication.

Commenting on the report, CPA’s interim chief executive, Peter Caplehorn, said: “The importance of this survey will not be lost to those working in construction post-Grenfell. It was spearheaded by the CPA’s Marketing Integrity Group – a group of marketing professionals within the manufacturing industry – and represents a proactive and collaborative industry drive to improve the performance of construction products. I have no doubt it will prove a useful contribution as the industry embraces new regulatory reforms in the coming years.”

Marketing Integrity Group chair, Adam Turk, from Baxi, commented: “I am especially grateful to all those who responded to our survey and to NBS who compiled the report. I believe the result of this survey will be significant in moving our industry towards agreeing new standards which improve the availability of product information whilst also allowing firms to maintain their competitive position. It is vital that everyone in the supply chain can be confident that the information they are using to select construction products is clear, unambiguous, accurate and up to date.”

https://www.constructionproducts.org.uk