By Stuart Gizzi, MD at Intatec
The brassware industry works within a framework of regulations and guidelines that are designed to ensure that manufacturers make the very best taps, valves and showers they can and that specifiers understand exactly what they’re getting. UK manufacturers have a good reputation for compliance, with products being well made and properly tested and certified.
Before COVID our engineers at Inta were sending new products over to the certification bodies for testing and things were normal. We know that normal stopped happening in March and as some of us manufacturers ramped back up again, we hoped that the testing regimes would too.
The thing about product testing is that the certification has a start date, but it also has an end date – before which point you would usually resubmit your product for a retest, or send over the new and improved version for testing. Unfortunately, response from the testing bodies has stopped. The products and messages we send are disappearing into the ether. We know that everyone is in the same position and that the testers must have a growing backlog of products.
There are implications for the launch of new products, which I can’t see a practical way around at the moment, but for products where the certification is about to expire, there is a very easy temporary fix, and that’s for the testing bodies to grant an extension on expiry dates, just like the government did for MOT tests on cars. Maybe 6 months, maybe 12 – however long it is that they think it will take them to clear the backlog.
If you’re in the market for supplying products or tendering against strict product specifications and approvals, an expired date can have a big impact. Something that was perfectly fit for purpose last week, may fall foul of the rules this week.
My team has tried to contact the two main testing bodies, but after a week of trying, there’s been no success. The two simple questions we wanted to ask were; Are you back at work testing again yet? And is it feasible to extend the certification expiry dates? Both of those questions currently go unanswered. So please, testing bodies, can you give us an expiry date amnesty?