Why we issued a Call for Evidence on Construction Product Information

Blog by Adam Turk of Baxi, Chair of the CPA's Marketing Integrity Group

When the Construction Products Association first asked me to Chair its Marketing Integrity Group, I wasn’t sure what lay ahead. Six months in, I am thrilled I accepted and am equally excited about the coming six months.

The challenge laid before us is to ensure that clear and unambiguous product information is made available throughout the supply chain so that appropriate products can be designed, installed and maintained in our buildings to provide the performance sought.

The most rewarding aspect of these last few months has been engaging with the wider supply chain to get an honest understanding about how they use the marketing and technical material that the industry has been producing for all these years. It was particularly important to understand what we don’t do so well, what frustrates, what would make a difference and where we let ourselves down.

The initial interviews with individuals throughout the supply chain were truly enlightening and helped us to populate the right questions for our Call For Evidence which is still accepting responses.

Amongst the areas of interest covered by the survey are:-
• Ease of finding product information
• Product substitution
• Completeness and correctness of information
• Products as part of a system, or use in a variety of applications
• Competence

The subject of Competence is being dealt with by another Working Group that we are closely aligned to because, it goes without saying that providing the right information is of no use if the person reviewing it does not have the appropriate knowledge to understand what they are reading. A number of issues have surfaced for consideration, including the use of plain English and identifying the competence level required for the task in hand.

Once the Call For Evidence has closed the Marketing Integrity Group will arrange some Focus Groups to allow us to get deeper into the issues raised. We hope to have these completed by June, which will then give us 3-4 months to develop a formal recommendation as to what the industry should be doing to rise to this challenge. We will review these recommendations with key stakeholders before publishing our findings in the autumn.

While the eventual direction we take remains uncertain, I am determined to ensure we get a full and rounded assessment of all of the issues. We must find solutions that reinforce the integrity with which the majority of companies operate, thus enhancing further the trust that exists between those that manufacture building materials and those that use them.

If you haven’t yet done so, please take the time to have your say and complete the Call For Evidence survey, which will close on 5 April.

Adam Turk is Managing Director (Commercial) at Baxi Heating and Chair of the Construction Product Association’s Marketing Integrity Group.