The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has published a letter sent to the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities & Local Government and to the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The letter, written by Andy Mitchell the co-chair of the CLC, draws attention to the urgent industry concern in connection with the introduction of the UK CA Mark and identifies possible solutions to mitigate the risks.
The letter states: "Despite excellent cooperation by industry and government, serious issues remain that have the ability to cause considerable disruption to the construction sector and the levelling-up agenda."
It goes on to say it has identified "many complex and inter-connected issues involved in this transition from the use of the CE Mark to the CA Mark" and calls for "decisive action" to make the regulations work.
One of the CLC’s key concerns centres on issues around the independent testing required for CA Marking. "Our main cause of concern is that for a significant range of construction products there is limited or no capacity for these tests to be carried out in line with the UK Construction Product Regulations. There must be a significant expansion of facilities with the incumbent recruiting and training of staff, who must all then receive authorisation by UKAS, before more products can be put through the new process. Unfortunately, this expansion of capacity is not happening quickly enough.
"With the realisation that the process of testing and certification for a single product can take up to a year (and in some cases longer), it becomes evident that unless the Government considers viable, practical alternatives, the clearing of the existing testing backlog and the management of future demand for testing and certification will not be possible before January 2023."
In its letter the CLC makes the following suggestions for solutions:
- Verify the current capability of the certification and testing sector in the UK as a first priority step;
- Establish the commercial viability for investment in increased capability, with support if necessary for niche but essential areas;
- Work with UKAS to find faster ways to bring new certification bodies on-stream;
- Allow subcontracting of testing and certification, if necessary, using overseas bodies;
- Allow the use of existing certifications on a temporary basis to allow time to gain UK- based approvals;
- Allow more flexibility on the current regulations if only on a transitional basis.
Read the letter in full at https://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/