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INTERIORS 43


COMPLIANCE CAN NO LONGER BE IGNORED


Yvonne Orgill of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) says attitudes to compliance are changing, and housebuilders and developers cannot ignore their responsibilities to protect consumers when specifying bathroom products.


ast year, the tragedy of Grenfell Tower highlighted the potential worst-case effects of non-compli- ance on vulnerable consumers. Tellingly, while the fire may have started in an appli- ance, it was the cladding on the outside of the building which caused the fire to spread. In this case the product was in itself compliant, however, due to issues with its specification and installation, it was rendered non-compliant and thus a disaster waiting to happen.


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In the bathroom industry, organisations are working hard to raise awareness so that more of those involved in buying, specify- ing and installing bathroom products will ask to see proof of compliance. Only robust surveillance will prevent non-compliant goods entering the UK market. This is the first step, as a safe bathroom then requires the installation of equipment to be compli- ant too. For instance, the wrong load bearing on a CE marked WC may still cause injury, as surely as a faulty product can result in a scald – and there are many more ways a non-compliant bathroom can cause damage and harm consumers. While people are used to looking for a CE mark on toys and electrical appliances, some overlook bathroom equipment. The UK market is being flooded with products that don’t meet the required ‘fit for purpose’ safety and quality standards, yet many bathroom products should by law be carrying the CE mark. In her interim report, ‘Building a Safer Future’, part of an independent review, commissioned by the Government follow- ing the Grenfell Tower fire, Dame Judith


WHILE PEOPLE ARE USED TO LOOKING FOR A CE MARK ON TOYS AND ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES, SOME OVERLOOK BATHROOM EQUIPMENT


WWW.HBDONLINE.CO.UK


Hackitt noted a lack of quality assurance both of materials and people, and called for a new intelligent system of regulation and enforcement to “hold to account those who try to cut corners.”


There has to be change. It is time for a ‘push pull’ approach, educating consumers on the importance of sourcing compliant ‘fit for purpose’ CE marked products. When consumers begin to ask for compliant products this will put pressure on those that supply and fit to comply.


The BMA has embarked on a campaign, working alongside partners such as BBA, CIPHE, NHIC and WRAS to help take the message to Government. The message to


those involved in residential new build and refurbishment is clear – always use good quality, compliant products, installed by a fully-qualified professional!


Highlighting these issues will be like pushing an open door. The Government has already signalled its determination to protect consumers post-Grenfell, with the launch of a new Office for Product Safety and Standards in January this year, which it says will give consumers the “highest ever levels of protection.” Meanwhile, across the channel, the European Commission is undertaking a review of the CPR and market surveil- lance, creating confidence that consumer


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