9 frequently asked questions about the BBA and CIT

At the BBA we are consistently show integrity in all that we do, as we set the standards for high-quality product certification, testing and inspection. Working collaboratively with our clients, we aim to support their innovations and with the wider construction industry and government, advocating for continuous improvement. In line with our culture and values, we are sharing with you answers to 9 frequently asked questions we have received on the relationship between the BBA and CIT.

When was CIT set up and how long has it been operating?
CIT was established in July 2017 and is in its first year of operation. It is based in Wales as its first significant projects were in supporting a number of Welsh local authorities and housing associations. CIT have staff who operate throughout the UK, as required.

What does CIT do?
It’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBA Group, set up as a separate entity working predominantly in partnership with local authorities and housing associations. It provides independent and impartial expertise focused on both cavity wall and external wall insulation products. CIT provides technical consultancy, property investigation and technical training services. It also provides expert witness services that comply with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules for legal practices, insurers and other professional bodies.

Who are CIT’s Clients?
CIT’s clients mainly include local authorities, housing associations, legal practices, private businesses and homeowners. Generally, it is anyone who needs independent advice about the state of their properties and is seeking to plan for the future management of their assets.

What is the relationship between CIT and the BBA?
CIT and BBA are separate companies within the BBA Group, they have no common clients to avoid any conflicts of interest. BBA and CIT have separate staffs (though short secondments are possible for suitable roles), they have separate databases (so that no data are shared), separate email systems, firewalls and security; all to ensure independence. Staff inductions and supervision scrupulously ensure operational separation. Whilst noting all that, the most important safeguard is that no single person, including Directors, is an operational decision-maker in both organisations.

Why does CIT undertake the role of expert witness?
CIT is a trusted independent and impartial expert body for the assessment of cavity wall and external wall insulation installations. CIT’s expertise in these areas has resulted in it gaining recognition and acceptance as a provider of expert witness services that comply with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Clients advise us that in their experience, some ‘experts’ aren’t that expert at all.

How does CIT maintain impartiality as an expert witness?
To ensure that there are no conflicts of interest, CIT will not act as an expert witness in a case involving a BBA Approved Installer. The only exception would be where CIT is accepted by all parties to be the single joint expert under CPR 35. However, and to be clear on this point, if a BBA Approved Installer is not willing for any reason to accept CIT as the parties’ joint expert, then CIT will not act in that case at all. Even where the parties (including the BBA Approved Installer) agree to CIT being their joint expert witness, CIT will not disclose that fact or any information or data to the BBA.

If CIT is involved in a litigation case and at some point after investigation or litigation has started, it transpires that a current BBA Approved Installer conducted the relevant installation, what does CIT do then?
This issue has not arisen to date, but if it did CIT would cease to act. Wherever possible, CIT will not undertake, or continue to undertake, investigations involving BBA Approved Installers as to do so might provide grounds to call into question the impartiality of either the BBA or CIT. Both organisations’ reputations are defined by their adherence to technical rigour and independence.

As an existing BBA Client, If I have any concerns about a possible conflict of interest with CIT, who do I contact?
If you have any concerns about a possible conflict of interest or any other concern, then contact Brian Moore, Deputy CEO at the BBA, in the first instance. Brian has special responsibility for these issues on behalf of the BBA Group. Brian can be contacted at bmoore@bbacerts.co.ukor via 01923 665300.

Is there an independent Regulator who oversees the relationship between BBA and CIT?
Yes. UKAS is the BBA’s regulatory body for its accredited activities, and as part of this is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that BBA operates with no conflicts of interest which could undermine Clients’ and public confidence in the impartiality of the BBA.