In September this year a new Code for the marketing of construction materials was announced following testimony at the ongoing public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017. It may seem inconsequential, but it represents one of many critical changes to the construction sector following the Grenfell tragedy.
Developed by the CPA’s Marketing Integrity Group, the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) sets out a level playing field for all construction product manufacturers and aims to provide greater transparency.
It ensures that the information provided to users, by manufacturers, passes five tests: Clear, Accurate, Up-to-date, Accessible and Unambiguous. How important is this, and what impact will it have on the sector?
The guidance aims to drive higher standards in the manufacturing industry and benefit the whole built-environment sector, as well as future homeowners. Certainly, it has the potential to achieve this.
The Grenfell Disaster unearthed several problems in the sector and for many who are not closely involved in construction it has been eye-opening. Whilst there may well have been malpractice involved in the Grenfell disaster, it has also become clear that the sheer complexity of the building process – and the materials involved – can cause its own challenges.
The new Code will allow organisations, contractors, clients, and architects, to decide only to work with code compliant manufacturers. With over 150 organisations across the industry registering their interest, and manufacturers able to verify their products by the end of this year, there is hope that this will make a big difference.
Despite the code being voluntary, if major contractors and developers adopt it, it could influence significant change in the supply-chain and drive greater involvement from others. Achieving building safety requires collaboration at every stage. This code will play its part and support this process.
Yet, the responsibility doesn’t solely fall upon manufacturers; everybody involved in development needs to ensure the correct materials are used, in the right places, and to the highest standard. It will be integral to ensure that projects are receiving information from people who are suitably qualified and competent to make an assessment. It’s fundamental that the industry sees suppliers assessing their competence to provide information on compliance and other issues.
Alongside this Code is the Building Safety Act, which puts in place new and enhanced regulatory rules for building safety and ensures residents have a stronger voice.
Although there is a long way to go, these small shifts are an important step for the evolution and future of the sector. As Adam Turk, the Chairman of the CPA Marketing Integrity Group summed up, while “there has been overwhelming support for the principle of the code itself… it is now time for our industry to demonstrate its integrity by getting behind the code and putting building safety first.”