BBA’s Process Improvements
BBA: The Agrément Certificate process is renowned as a robust and rigorous system of new product evaluation. By definition a new product is unlikely to have an industry recognised British or European standard against which it can be measured and therefore our project managers, all of whom have unrivalled experience of working with construction products, will develop a bespoke contract for a client setting out the performance criteria that will need to be assessed to demonstrate fitness for purpose.
This assessment process can take time – from a matter of a few months to over a year in some cases depending on the performance requirements and whether or not the product passes all the tests first time around without further modifications. The BBA recognises that clients want their products approved quickly but this has to be balanced against them meeting the criteria of fitness for purpose which takes into account compliance with building regulations and other statutory and non-statutory regulations. Better that the product is rigorously assessed before going to market than suffering a costly and brand damaging recall due to some major failure in performance.
However, the BBA is continually evaluating ways in which it can improve its throughput and two services that the BBA can offer as ‘stepping stones’ to full Agrément Approval include: •A Development Appraisal which identifies, in detail, the data available and specific requirements that the manufacturer is likely to be required to demonstrate before being issued with a certificate.
For complex systems that contain multi-permutations we can also agree the most efficient grouping of products to achieve a BBA Certificate quickly for the chosen market. •Where a product has been made in small volumes to prove a concept we can offer a Prototype Assessment which goes further than a Development Appraisal because we actually conduct tests on samples of the product.
Both the Development Appraisal and Prototype Assessment processes are quicker and less expensive to administer than full Agrément Approval providing invaluable guidance to manufacturers on the viability of their new product innovations. The information and data gathered from both these services can be used if applying for full Agrément Approval at a later stage. Similarly improvements have been made on the throughput of Agrément Certificates.
For instance minor text changes to Certificates, not related to product performance, can be made for a flat fee without having to re-issue the whole Certificate which greatly reduces the time it takes for the amendments to be added. Previously the whole Certificate had to be re-issued which was costly and time consuming. Our assessment departments are now market rather than being science focussed as they were in the past so we are now more aware of our clients’ needs and changes in the marketplace.
Hence the Physics Approvals team has now been refocused as the Energy and Ventilation team reflecting the huge increase in work experienced in the department with clients gearing up for the Green Deal. Six more project managers have been recruited recently along with three trainees to better manage this increase in assessment work. The BBA has also invested heavily in test equipment spending over £200k last year on specialised rigs to support the increase in business.
Half this cost was spent on rigs for testing external wall insulation to support the project management approvals process.
So manufacturers can be confident that their products will be assessed by the BBA in a timely, professional and technically rigorous manner.
For more information on our products and services please visit our website www.bbacerts.co.uk or call us on 01923 665300.