The building industry is proposing sub-contracting of testing and the temporary use of existing certificates for products to ease pressure on the UK’s imminent post-Brexit certification system.

The chair of the Construction Leadership Council, CLC, Andy Mitchell has written an open letter to the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng highlighting the lack of testing capacity and need for action.

“A number of market failures have contributed to this situation including the relatively small scale of the UK construction products testing market, disruption to the UK construction products sector following Covid-19 and a very short transition period that does not permit time for investment in new facilities ahead of the end of the transition,” said Mr Mitchell.

The UK system is to go live in January 2023 but the CLC warns this is insufficient time and will lead to delays in certifying radiators, glass, passive fire protection, glues and sealants.

It is calling for rapid expansion of testing facilities, greater recruitment and staff training to enable the system to cope.

Radiator shortage could stop housebuilding in its tracks

“The inability to certify radiators in the UK, for instance, could delay the construction of over 150,000 homes in a single year and will also delay the switch to low carbon heating,” he said.

The CLC is warning the issue is likely to affect building safety and the government’s net-zero ambitions as well as housebuilding.

It is proposing the government asks the European Commission for permission to use existing European technical assessment guidance to support the transition to the UK system.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders would be keen to see the problem resolved particularly as SME housebuilders were likely to be harmed most by product delays.

LinkedIn Question: How long do you think it will take for the UK to have trained sufficient staff and expanded their testing capacity for the UK certification system to function efficiently?

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Shiraz Khan