Building Safety: Product Traceability and Installation

Building Safety: Product Traceability and Installation

07th July 2023

In this article ARC Commercial Manager George Danzey-Smith explores the importance of product traceability and installation accuracy as part of the Building Safety Bill.

Arguably one of the most positive actions to come from the Hackitt report is the requirement for building developers and contractors to produce a ‘golden thread’ of information. Now an integral part of the Building Safety Bill, the legislation ensures that building and safety information is thoroughly documented throughout the lifespan of a building, enabling mangers and users to understand its construction and the steps needed to keep both it, and its occupants safe; now and in the future.

Alongside specification, two of the most important factors to contribute to the golden thread are product traceability and installation accuracy.

Throughout the construction process, traceability plays a crucial role in quality control allowing the materials and components used to be tracked and verified, ensuring that they meet the required standards and regulations.

It also ensures that the origin and history of construction products used in a building can be easily identified and in the event of a safety concern or product recall, enables non-compliant products to be identified and removed easily, minimising the risk to occupants.  Simplifying maintenance procedures, product traceability enables easy identification of the products used during construction, ensuring replacement parts or materials that are compatible with the original specifications can be easily sourced, for the building’s continued safety and performance.

In the event that the worst does actually happen and a fire or other building safety incident occurs, product traceability also plays a crucial role in determining liability and establishing accountability. Accurate records of product information within the Golden Thread can help identify the parties involved in the design, manufacture, and installation of specific components which is vital for investigations, insurance claims, and legal proceedings, ensuring that responsible parties can be held accountable for any deficiencies or failures.

Alongside traceability, ensuring the accurate installation of passive fire protection products is another essential element of the Building Safety Bill.

Whether an application requires an intumescent or full fill barrier, if incorrectly installed it will prove ineffective and will not work to contain fire. Indeed, one of the key findings from the Grenfell enquiry was that where fire barriers were installed, they had been done so incorrectly meaning they were unable to prevent the spread of smoke and flames in the cavity.

When it comes to fire protection products there is no set method of installation as processes and requirements vary between products and applications. Undoubtedly this can prove confusing to installers and lead to errors which in turn impact building safety.

To support customers, manufacturers including ourselves offer an array of training on the installation of their products, both in person and via online videos and it is vital that customers utilise the resources on offer. Taking this one step further we have also introduced Quick Reference (QR) Code technology onto cavity barrier products that provide contractors with additional installation support on site. The QR codes can be quickly and easily scanned with the use of a smart phone whenever required which link the user directly to our own training platform, providing access to easy-to-follow tutorials on the correct handling and installation of cavity barriers whilst on site.

Quick and convenient, the QR codes are accessible to all and support installers to achieve greater accuracy at the touch of a button. Because the QR codes link directly to ARC’s own site rather than being hosted on a third-party app, installers benefit from much quicker access to information, saving time on site.

We were the first manufacturer in the low-rise cavity barrier market to introduce this system and the first in the high-rise market to link QR codes directly to our own installation videos rather than hosting the information on a third-party app.

The Building Safety Bill introduces stricter regulations and accountability measures to improve building safety standards. Overall, product traceability and installation accuracy are critical aspects of this legislation as they enhance safety, enable quality control, support efficient maintenance, establish liability and ensure regulatory compliance in the construction and management of buildings.