THE BRITISH Board of Agrement (BBA) has proposed a ‘shake-up’ of testing practices, which could see it randomly test building products already on the market ‘unannounced’.

Building reported on the plans by the BBA to ‘shake-up’ testing practices, and could see it conduct ‘unannounced testing of building products already on the market’ as a response to the last few months of evidence at the Grenfell inquiry. The BBA issues certificates for building products including cladding and insulation, and is ‘the UK’s biggest issuer of construction products certifications’ – it proposes testing randomly selected materials ‘at regular intervals’.

With the inquiry ‘prompting an overhaul of the way products are tested and certified’, the news outlet points out that this ‘would be a change from the regulator’s current testing programme’, which only carries out tests on products ‘before they have been certified as safe for use on buildings’. The BBA said it ‘wanted to have earlier involvement’ with manufacturers, specifically at the product development process stage.

This would include observing tests submitted for assessment as well as reviews of all test results, in addition to ‘storage of samples of materials used in tests for future reference’. The proposals have been given the working title of “Agrement Plus”, and form part of a new consultation launched by the BBA to ‘drive up safety standards for materials used in high-risk residential buildings’.

It called on manufacturers, designers, suppliers, specifiers and other relevant parties to ‘provide feedback’ to the consultation, which will run until 19 March, and it added that the consultation – supported by Dame Judith Hackitt – ‘aims to secure a consensus for an effective approach’ to safely certificating construction products for use on high risk residential buildings, including those above 18m.

BBA chief executive Hardy Giesler commented: ‘The BBA Agrément certification scheme has served the industry well for more than 50 years but it is widely recognised that HRRBs pose specific and unique challenges. It is these that we wish to address through engagement with as many stakeholders as possible in order to reach agreement on the best way forward. Our objective is to generate a solution that has broad support across the many diverse stakeholders.’

Mr Giesler added that the BBA would work with Dame Judith, the Industry Safety Steering Group and the newly announced construction products regulator to ‘ensure a fit-for-purpose outcome with full industry backing’.