FAQs

Your Frequently Asked Questions

We often get asked similar questions on a range of subjects and have compiled our answers here to help you get a quick response to your query. Read through the FAQs below, but if we haven’t addressed your question please get in touch using the details on the Contact Us page.

Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme (HAPAS)

What is the HAPAS scheme?

New and innovative highways products now benefit from a faster and more cost-effective route to market thanks to the Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme (HAPAS). Prior to the scheme’s launch in 1995, approvals were carried out by local authorities on an individual basis – resulting in long delays. Manufacturers incurred extra costs due to the timescales and the multiple approval process. Developed by the Highways Agency, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport and the BBA, HAPAS provides a single, universally-recognised approvals process for products not covered by national and international specifications.

What are the benefits of a HAPAS certificate?

HAPAS certification provides invaluable data for products and systems used by highway engineers and reassurance that the products will deliver on performance, design and installation. Below is a brief outline of the numerous benefits HAPAS Certificates provide:

  • Nationally recognised approval and access to markets not open to non-HAPAS products and systems.
  • The Highways Agency quotes HAPAS in a number of clauses within its specification and in many cases will stipulate HAPAS Certification in Specifications for Highways Works.
  • Many Local Authorities rely upon HAPAS to confirm the technical specification of a product’s performance.
  • HAPAS provides documented recognition of a product’s performance for planners, designers and buyers for new and innovative products not covered by specification or approval.

Who decides what factors to assess in a HAPAS 'one-off'?

We will make the final decision. It will focus on the key performance claims being made by the manufacturer and whether or not we can support them through assessment. Our team will seek input from the Highways Technical Advisory Committee (HiTAC) on any matters that cannot be dealt with in-house. HiTAC are the technical advisors for HAPAS and consist of representatives from the:

  • Highways Agency (HA)
  • Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT)
  • Local Government Technical Adviser’s Group (TAG)
  • Mineral Product Association (MPA)
  • Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA)
  • Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA)
  • The BBA

Who checks the BBA and how do I apply for a HAPAS certificate?

As the UK’s leading authority on Product Certification, Testing and Installer Certification the BBA is regularly audited to ensure our processes are rigorous, consistent and impartial. We are UKAS accredited to BS EN 45011 for all Product Approvals and Certification and every quarter we hold a meeting with the Highways Technical Advisory Committee to review BBA HAPAS performance.

How long is HAPAS certification valid for and can anyone provide this service?

HAPAS Certificates last for three years and are only awarded by the BBA. After three years we will work with you to carry out a re-assessment of the product. If this is successful the Certificate will be valid for another three years. Certificates will become invalid if the holder chooses to opt out of the re-assessment at the end of the three year period.

How much does HAPAS approval cost?

We do not have a fixed cost as each approval process is different. Variations exist within each product sector and proprietary systems have varying degrees of assessment evidence to analyse. Cost will depend on how much additional work we need to carry out to complete HAPAS Approval. In addition, the length of time depends on the type of product, the scope it needs to cover and the amount of technical information and data the BBA can use.

What advantages will HAPAS certification provide over CE Marking?

CE Marking provides a list of declared characteristics determined by Harmonised European Standards (hENs) or other European specifications. However, this may not be sufficient detail for the end user. HAPAS Certificates provide further detail which clarifies the product’s performance and fitness for purpose. For more information on this go to the CE Marking page.

Product Approval

How long does a BBA certificate last?

As long as a BBA Certificate is listed on our website, it is valid. BBA Certificates will last as long as the manufacturer is receiving surveillance visits and the Certificate is reviewed successfully, which usually takes place every three years. Certificates can be withdrawn at the request of the manufacturer if the product is no longer to be produced, or by the BBA if the manufacturer fails to allow the review to take place or a change to the product or regulations mean that it will no longer meet the requirements of the regulations.

What types of certification does the BBA offer?

Below is a comprehensive list of the certification we provide:

Agrément Certificates

Agrément Certificates offered exclusively by the BBA in the UK Agrément Certificates are the Gold Standard of product or system approvals. They confirm that a rigorous and thorough examination of the product, its manufacture and installation has taken place. Agrément Certificate holders are subject to production surveillance throughout the life of their Certificate and you can always be sure that you will get the BBA-agreed specification of product.

Test reports

Test reports offered by the BBA and others, a test report provides assurance that on a particular day, a product was tested and performed as described. We thoroughly recommend that you insist the test was recent, traceable and issued from a UKAS accredited laboratory, such as the BBA. The product must be representative of the one being offered and its component materials, and method of production, have not changed.

Assessment Reports

Assessment Reports offered exclusively by the BBA, this looks at particular properties of a product or system and is often used as a precursor to Agrément Certificates, but is not the equivalent. Assessment Reports do not confirm that a product is fit for purpose; they are used to identify particular areas of performance that would require further investigation if the product was going to be assessed further for an Agrément Certificate. The BBA also offers Development Appraisal as part of its Assessment Report suite, which can be used to by manufacturers to overcome questions regarding product performance.

Product Certification

Product Certification offered by the BBA and others, this type of certificate can relate to testing and assessment to standards or other normative documents. Please note that Agrément Certificates are not Product Certification. Before Product Certification can be obtained we strongly advise that you check a few simple but important details: Check the standard against which conformance has been certified to confirm is a nationally recognised standard. Some standards are written by associations or other groups and may be designed to set base levels of performance rather than proving fitness for purpose. Make sure the scope of the standard covers how you are going to use the product. Check the scope of the Product Certificate standard. Where it refers to a standard by name, obtain a copy and read the scope. It is possible that the product conforms but the standard refers to a different application. Check the standard covers all the features of the product you require. Once again, read the standard carefully. Commercial pressures can sometimes bias the the content of a standard towards the major players in the industry. Confirm the certificate is accredited by UKAS. Make sure the certificate bears the UKAS tick and crown to confirm the organisation is both competent and independent.

Management Systems Certification

Management System Certification offered by the BBA and others Although Quality Assurance (QA) Management System confirms a product is made in a controlled environment, do not assume this confirms it is fit for purpose. QA simply means the product meets the manufacturer’s specifications or the requirements specified by the client. Management Systems Certification is useful when specifying service providers when no other endorsement is available, or when you have the knowledge, influence and time to specify exactly what you want from the product.

How long does the product approval process take?

We do not set a fixed time-scale on product approvals: our goal is to ensure products are ‘fit for purpose’. That could mean anything from a few months up to 18 months depending on the work required. Our team will work with you throughout this period to ensure you are kept up-to-date on every stage of the process until the product is launched.

How do I get product certification?

Before product certification can be obtained, we strongly advise that you check a few simple but important details. Firstly, be aware that Agrément Certificates are not Product Certification.

Check the standard against which conformance has been certified to confirm it is a nationally recognised standard. Some standards are written by associations or other groups and may be designed to set base levels of performance rather than proving fitness for purpose.

Make sure the scope of the standard covers how you are going to use the product. Where it refers to a standard by name, obtain a copy and read the scope. It is possible that the product conforms but the standard refers to a different application. Check the standard covers all the features of the product you require. Once again, read the standard carefully.

Commercial pressures can sometimes bias the the content of a standard towards the major players in the industry. Check the certificate is accredited by UKAS. Make sure the certificate bears the UKAS tick and crown to confirm the organisation is both competent and independent.

I'm a manufacturer. Why should I seek BBA approval for my product?

Our expertise is aimed at providing reassurance to the construction industry that products are fit for purpose. Gaining BBA approval will position your products in a trusted and valued sector of the market. If your product has innovative, performance qualities a BBA certificate will ensure those qualities are promoted within the industry.

I'm an architect. Why should I choose products with BBA certification?

We carry out the most stringent, thorough and respected assessments in the construction industry. Our certificates are recognised and accepted by Building Control personnel, clients and specifiers throughout the UK. Certification is only awarded after an exhaustive assessment process that covers every detail of the product, from production processes and examination of existing test data to on-site key performance checks to assess how the product performs on existing buildings.

I'm an importer. Can I get BBA approval for my products?

Yes. We will look at products from any country but we have to be able to show that products comply with UK regulations and codes. Some test data may not transfer from the country of origin to the UK so it is likely that further tests and assessments will be necessary.

I'm a manufacturer. How much does it cost to get a BBA certificate for my product and how long does it take?

The two classic questions. To put it simply we do not have a set price list or a set timescale – even for identical products – as no two assessments are the same. Cost is determined by how much work we need to do. If a manufacturer provides lots of good data, our input is reduced and costs are lower. Often the data brought to us is not reliable or from a proven source and we may have to carry out our own assessments. What we do guarantee is continual support and advice throughout the assessment process.

I sell both in the UK and overseas. How can BBA approval help me?

As the UK Government’s designated representative to EOTA and a member of the European Union of Agrément (UEAtc) we are here to support your overseas business trade. Our approval not only helps you sell in the UK, it provides proof to international bodies that your products have been approved by an organisation recognised under the building regulation arrangements in the UK.

What value does BBA approval of products, systems and installers bring?

The BBA has a long history of successfully linking product/system approval and installer approval in the insulation sector to give joined-up reassurance to specifiers, end users and guarantee/insurance providers.

Why can't I find a BBA Certificate?

If you are trying to find the certificate on our website www.bbacerts.co.uk, then it is useful to check that you have the correct certificate number. Our certificate numbers are made up of six digits. The first two digits relate to the year the certificate was first issued (e.g. 13 for 2013, 14 for 2014 etc) followed by a forward slash and its unique four digit number. Alternatively you can search by product category using the drop down menu or company name. Again check the spelling of the company name carefully before hitting the search button. If no results are returned after using any of these methods then the certificate has either been suspended or withdrawn so is no longer current.

The cavity wall insulation supplier I used has gone bust. Who do I contact if I have a problem?

If the installer you used was BBA Approved then you will have been issued with a guarantee from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA). This is an independent body that provides 25 year guarantees for cavity wall insulation fitted by registered installers within the UK. For more information visit www.ciga.co.uk.

What areas does BBA Certification cover?

The BBA certifies products and systems in the following product areas:

Buildings and Structures

This is a broad areas which covers steel/wood frame structures, conservatory roofs, door and window surrounds, building blocks, suspended ceilings, retaining walls and soil stabilisation systems, such as gabions. It also covers Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) systems and modular buildings.

Calculation Scheme

Set up to assess the technical competency and in-house procedural controls of companies declaring U-value and condensation risk calculations.

Concrete, Cementitious & rltd

Assessment of all types of concrete and cementitious products ranging from concrete beams, mortars, renovating plaster, block paving and so on.

Finishes

Ranges from paints, floor coatings, plastic rendering and wood preservatives.

Flooring

Covers duckboarding, membranes, exterior decking, acoustic and antistatic flooring sheets, tiles, clay heave protection beams and screeds.

Heating

Included in this area is floor and ceiling heating plus energy saving devices.

Highways

Covers products and systems specifically produced for the highways sector, such as high friction surfacing, patch repair systems, grouted macadam innovative pavement solutions and buried structures such as surface water drainage systems, or earthworks reinforcements.

Insulation

All types of cavity and external wall insulation. Insulated floor, ceiling and decking. Additionally pipe and timber frame insulation.

Jointing, Fixings & Adhesives

As the title suggests it includes: Wall ties, different types of fixing kits, brickslip adhesive, anchor bolts, polymer binders, nails and screws.

Management Systems

Certificate of the Factory Production Control, quality management system ISO 9001, environmental management certificate ISO 14001.

Microgeneration

The BBA is can certify the following products to the requirements of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme: Solar Heating Collectors (solar thermal systems), Solar PV (photovoltaics), Micro and Small Wind Turbines, Heat Pumps, Biomass and Micro CHP (combined heat and power) technologies.

Openings

This relates to our certification work in the fenestration industry and covers window and door openings including roof windows. It also covers chimneys and flue liners.

Pipes and Drainage

As the name suggests it covers sewerage systems, underground drainage and tanks plus pressure pipe joints, sanitary appliances and ducting.

Roofing

An important sector where the BBA assesses asphalt, barge, facia and soffit boards, roofing (roll-form and liquid applied).

Simulation

This section applies to thermal modelling.

Ventilation

As the name suggests it applies to all types of ventilators including window, roof, wall and soffit.

Walls and Claddings

This section includes: Walls, cladding, lintels, and partitions.

Green Deal

What is the Green Deal

The Green Deal promotes energy efficiency measures in buildings to help reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. These measures are paid for by the savings on energy bills gained from reduced energy use. This government backed initiative is incorporated into the Energy Act 2011.

Householders and businesses will be encouraged to use approved energy assessors who will survey the property and suggest ways in which its energy efficiency can be improved. A loan is taken out on the property to pay for the installation of these energy efficient measures.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change quotes the following in their document ‘The Green Deal – a summary of the Government’s proposals’ “The key principle, or golden rule, for accessing Green Deal finance is that the charge attached to the bill should not exceed the expected savings, and the length of the payment period should not exceed the expected lifetime of the measures.”

What energy efficiency improvements qualify for the Green Deal?

There is an extensive list of measures that can qualify for Green Deal finance based on the ‘golden rule’. A full list is available on the GD ORB website. Some of the key measures include:

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Hot water showers & systems
  • External wall insulation systems
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Lighting systems, fittings and controls
  • Loft or rafter insulation (including loft hatch insulation)
  • Gas-fired condensing boilers
  • Replacement glazing
  • Oil-fired condensing boilers
  • Roof insulation
  • Secondary glazing
  • Under-floor heating & insulation

The Green Deal Assessment will generate a ‘bespoke’ assessment for the client, recommending only the measures that will improve the energy performance of their building. The report produced will highlight the ‘package’ of measures the customer could obtain with Green Deal finance. Ultimately the client will choose the measures they want from the recommendations. For certain measures an ECO subsidy may also be available.

Which products or systems can be used under the Green Deal?

A product or system that is eligible to be used under the Green Deal must conform to the Green Deal Code of Practice. The BBA has the most comprehensive list of currently approved insulation products and systems for use within Green Deal and ECO.

How do I become an installer under the Green Deal?

Installers need to be certified to PAS 2030 by a UKAS accredited certification body and registered with the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body (GD ORB). The BBA provides this service.

As a Green Deal Provider how can I select products that won't let my customers down?

BBA approval provides additional reassurance above and beyond the basic Green Deal requirements, including routine factory surveillance and durability data. We have over 40 years of experience in approving products and systems within the construction industry. Our Agrément Certificates are recognised by building control, government departments, architects, local authorities, specifiers and industry insurers like the National House Building Council.

What role does the BBA have in connection with the Green Deal?

The BBA is accredited to assess installers to PAS 2030 which is one of the key requirements which installers need to carry out work under the Green Deal. Installer Certification to PAS 2030 includes:

  • Initial evaluation of installation process and management, by office and site visits
  • Ongoing surveillance visits
  • Adherence to the relevant measure specific annexes

Installers also have to confirm that they will comply with the Green Deal Code of Practice. If approved to PAS 2030, the installer will then be registered with the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body (GD ORB) by their accredited certification body (e.g. the BBA) and will be allowed to use the Green Deal Mark under licence. For more information email clientservices@bba.star.co.uk.

Test Services

Can you tell me more about assessment reports?

Although an Assessment Report does not confirm a product is fit for purpose, it provides detailed analysis that supports the performance of a product. Often they act as a precursor to Agrément Certificates and the assessment often identifies specific areas of performance that need further investigation to achieve final approval.

I'm a specifier. I often get manufacturers offering test data in support of their products. Should that be enough for me?

Data can come from a variety of sources. If it is from a UKAS accredited laboratory it should be good, but it may not relate to the product in front of you. Products frequently change over their lifetime and small changes can make big differences in performance or durability. Testing is only part of the BBA process and we check production and other data to make sure the product is as we originally approved. Of course, a product with a BBA Certificate can change – we just need to make sure that proposed changes don’t compromise what we say in the Certificate. If they mean that we have to change the Certificate, we will do that.

What is meant by the terms 'Guideline' and 'one-off' assessments and what is the difference between the two?

Guideline assessments represent one route to HAPAS Certification and ‘one-off’ assessments represent the other. Products to be assessed will fall into one or other of these categories. If your product falls within the scope of any of these the Guideline will form the basis of the assessment. If your product does not, it will need to be approved under a ‘one-off’ or bespoke assessment process. Examples of these are grouted macadams, patch repair products and pervious pavements.

Independent Inspections for FMB Members: Frequently asked questions

Why do I have to be inspected?

All new and existing members are required to undergo an independent inspection of a current or recently completed building project, every three years. This is in order to ensure that quality standards are maintained, and to allow us to promote members to consumers as trusted, quality builders who meet FMB’s high standards. We have to be able to demonstrate that this applies to every member, even those who have been with us for many years. Even the Master Builder of the Year Winners have to have their work inspected.

When was this decided?

The FMB’s Board took the decision to inspect new members joining the FMB in 2011, and in February 2015 this was extended to all FMB members.

What's the benefit to me?

By inspecting all our members, we can loudly proclaim that FMB members are quality builders who are vetted and inspected. It also highlights that the FMB badge is a mark of building quality. Passing an independent inspection proves to your clients that you are a ‘Master Builder’. Homeowners want reassurance that the builder they employ to work on their home is up to the job. Being able to tell clients and potential clients that you’ve passed an independent inspection gives them that increased level of trust.

What is it going to cost?

The inspections are free of charge to existing members.

Who is carrying out the Inspection?

The British Board of Agrement (BBA) carries out the inspections on FMB’s behalf, so that they are unbiased and independent. The BBA are the UK’s largest Construction Certification organisation, have been inspecting building work for 30 years, and they are a fully accredited provider of inspection services.

The BBA will contact you in due course requesting details of current or recently completed projects.  BBA inspectors are all accredited and have relevant building trade knowledge.  The inspection won’t take long, depending on the complexity of the job, ease of access etc.  It would be helpful if you would respond to the BBA’s email as soon as possible so that we can ensure the inspections are carried out promptly.

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