Frequently asked questions2021-08-11T11:54:23+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

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Maintenance

  • What’s the difference between certificate surveillance and certificate 3-year reviews?

    The BBA runs 2 types of maintenance activities that ensure the ongoing relevance of that certificate in the market:  surveillance and 3-year review.

    Certificate surveillance is an onsite manufacturing site visit that typically takes place twice a year, per manufacturing site, and assesses the production of the certified product. This is controlled via a BBA quality plan document,that confirms that all the main ingredients of that product, the checks on these ingredients, the ongoing process used in production of that product, quality checks along the way, and checks on the final product are unchanged.

    A 3-year review takes place every 3-years and is a technical check of the issued certificate using a checklist of criteria to ensure that we’ve checked a wide range of things around the product itself (for example surveillance variation reports, complaints raised relating to the certified product, any references of critical changes to the product and production, any new tests conducted on the certified product, and to ultimately validate that the product being sold remains representative of the BBA-certified product).

  • What is meant by a Certificate Maintenance Schedule?

    Having your product certified is anything but a click-and-forget process.

    The value of 3rd party certification is to enable your product to grow in market recognition through being verified as suitable to do a certain job; and part of that process is to the ability to demonstrate your commitment to quality, and the performance of your innovation. That’s why when we issue your certificate, we also kickstart a schedule of ongoing events throughout the lifecycle of your certificate to ensure that your product certificate is still relevant, including ensuring that that your product manufacturing process remains consistent.

    We know that change happens regularly. You may source a new raw product, or your production process may change. That’s why, our certificate maintenance  process looks to highlight any of these changes, and then, if necessary, address them and make any required the amendments to the certificate accordingly.

  • What are some of the things that may happen as a result of surveillance or reviews?

    Surveillance audits and Reviews are carried out to verify and validate the authenticity of the originally certified product, and/or to review any changes so that we can determine whether any amendments need to be made to the certificate.  Remember that changes in certificates are not always down to actions relating to the product or the way it is manufactured but may be as a result of changes in regulations or legislation that may require amendments to the certificate.

    Depending on the lifecycle of the product itself, a number of outcomes could occur as a result of the maintenance period:

    • Certificate Technical Re-issue: A Technical Re-issue is usually recommended when a substantial change of the certificate is required following additional technical assessment. For example, if a new product is added to the scope of the Certificate. If a technical re-issue is deemed necessary, this is a compulsory change that has to be made, in order to continue the validity of a certificate.
    • Certificate Non-Technical Re-issue: A Non-Technical Re-issue relates to  changes of a non technical changes, that are still required for the validity of the Certificate to continue. For example, updates to the titles of Standards or Regulations, but not changes to the technical content of the documents.
    • Certificate Amendment: Amendments are permissible for very basic changes for non technical, such as a change of address of the certificate holder, where no other more significance amendments are required for the Certificate.
    • Review Reissue contact: This is a contract between the BBA and an existing Certificate holder covering both the Review of their Certificate, but also a non-technical Reissue at the end of the Review process. It is important to note that, should the Review identify additional changes of a technical nature, this will require an additional contract and cost to assess and amend the Certificate accordingly.
    • Certificate Suspension: Suspension is usually applied where a serious issue is identified where it is identified that the Certificate no longer accurately describes the product. It may also be appropriate in circumstances, for example when the site of production is being changed Suspension means that the existing certificate is paused (rendering it invalid during this time) and removed from the website while the issues raised are dealt with, after which it could resume and the product could then be sold once again as a BBA-certified product. However, we encourage our clients, should they know that major changes are due to occur, let us know in advance, so that our assessors can review the changes and work with you to deal with any issues raised, avoiding the least amount of certificate down-time or disruption.
    • Certificate Withdrawal: A certificate withdrawal usually relates to a product no longer conforming to the original criteria it was certified against. It may be that the product itself has been withdrawn, or that processes of production or materials have changed significantly, which means that the certificate is no longer valid against the original certification scheme. When this happens, the certificate is removed from our website and is no longer searchable. When withdrawals happen, that means that the certificate is closed, and cannot be re-opened. If the product needs to be re-certified, the process is started as a new project, under a new certificate.

  • Review Re-issue: If we’re doing a review re-issue, does that mean my certificate is not valid as part for that period until the 3-year review takes place?

    Any necessary changes to the text of the Certificate that are identified as part of the Review assessment are carried out made after the review, and the Certificate remains valid throughout the process. It doesn’t slow down the maintenance cycle, but rather, optimizes the cycle so that we can cater to any changes you may be aware of in your product lifetime.

  • On occasion, a 3-year Review has taken place while other jobs are happening simultaneously. Why does this happen?

    It’s important to note that when we do a review, we’re not adding a new section / changing the certificate itself; our assessors are checking to ensure that the Certificate remains up to date and that it continues to accurately describe the performance of the product actually being placed on the market.

    We also look at regulatory and standards changes and review that against the current BBA Certificate style for that type of product. Because of this, it is a process that can be run simultaneously to other ongoing activity and any findings will be dealt with accordingly.

  • How often is my certificate reviewed after it’s been issued?

    Having your product certified is anything but a click-and-forget process.

    The value of 3rd party certification is to enable your product to grow in market recognition through being verified as suitable to do a certain job; and part of that process is to the ability to demonstrate your commitment to quality, and the performance of your innovation. That’s why when we issue your certificate, we also kickstart a schedule of ongoing events throughout the lifecycle of your certificate to ensure that your product certificate is still relevant, including ensuring that that your product manufacturing process remains consistent.

    We know that change happens regularly. You may source a new raw product, or your production process may change. That’s why, our certificate maintenance  process looks to highlight any of these changes, and then, if necessary, address them and make any required the amendments to the certificate accordingly.

  • How do customers prepare for an upcoming surveillance visit?

    When a customer signs their contract with the BBA, as part of that process, a Quality Plan is agreed, which provides detail around the post-certification maintenance schedule. Assessment visits are scheduled and in general, customers have an idea on the type of things that BBA Assessors will be looking for.

    In general, they may include:

    1.  Raw Materials: We review details around incoming raw materials (like delivery notes) so that we can verify the supplier criteria. We review any other certificate of analysis or conformity, or any product testing carried out, around that product and the incoming raw material; all of which is made available by the customer.
    2. Production Records & Process: We review all production records for the certified product, so that we are able to compare production over previous months.
    3. In-process and final Inspection records: These are examined to ensure that the product properties remain as specified in the Quality Plan of the Certificate.
    4. Calibration Certificates: As part of our review, we check to ensure that all measuring devices used to quantify properties of the raw materials, or production of the product, are producing accurate measurements, so we review all calibration certificates to verify accuracy and ensure that equipment is being maintained as they need to be.
    5. Training Records: We may choose to select a randomly-selected team member while we’re walking through the production facility and then require to see the training record for that individual.
    6.  Records of Complaints: Complaints and claims are quite an everyday occurrence, and what our Assessors want to review is the register used to record complaints or claims, including the actions taken and how quickly those complaints were closed. We may review the value of claims over a period of time in comparison to the value of production, in order to assess whether there are any critical failures that need to be addressed. This may be anything from the discolouration of a product through to failures in functionality.
    7. The Walk-Around: Our review process is not a document-only exercise. It’s important for our Assessors to verify that what is captured in documentation accurately reflects the real-life scenario that takes place on the factory floor.

  • Industry

  • What is the BBA’s position on Spray Foam Insulation?

    The BBA Certifies a number of materials for a variety of applications and a properly designed and specified job, correctly executed, should not be a problem. However we cannot comment on individual cases, and it is recognised that quality of workmanship is an important aspect of a successful installation, as well as design and product selection. If the householder in question wants an assessment of their property, they should contact a Building Surveyor with expertise in the subject; suitable Building Surveyors can be recommended by RICS. Click here to visit their site.

  • General

  • What type of company is the BBA? Who owns the BBA?

    The BBA is often referred to as a not-for-profit company or charity, which is not the case.  The BBA is a ‘company limited by guarantee’ – an ownership structure that is somewhat unusual but not uncommon in the UK, Ireland or Australia.   It can be used for not-for-profit organisations, such as sports clubs and membership organisations or indeed for profit-focused organisations, such as the BBA.

    A company limited by guarantee differs from a company limited by shares, since shares are owned by people and/or institutions (like pension funds) and the profits are distributed to shareholders.

    The BBA, or indeed other companies limited by guarantee, does not have any shareholders and does not distribute profits.  Instead, the profits made by the BBA are to be used for the benefit of the construction industry or the public good.  It is for the Governing Board to decide how, when and where these profits are distributed.

  • What is a Review Reissue contact?

    Review Reissue contact: This is a contract between the BBA and an existing Certificate holder covering both the Review of their Certificate, but also a non-technical Reissue at the end of the Review process. It is important to note that, should the Review identify additional changes of a technical nature, this will require an additional contract and cost to assess and amend the Certificate accordingly.

  • What is a Certificate Withdrawal?

    Certificate Withdrawal: A certificate withdrawal usually relates to a product no longer conforming to the original criteria it was certified against. It may be that the product itself has been withdrawn, or that processes of production or materials have changed significantly, which means that the certificate is no longer valid against the original certification scheme.  When this happens, the certificate is removed from our website and is no longer searchable. When withdrawals happen, that means that the certificate is closed, and cannot be re-opened. If the product needs to be re-certified, the process is started as a new project, under a new certificate.

  • What is a Certificate Technical Re-issue?

    Certificate Technical Re-issue: A Technical Re-issue is usually recommended when a substantial change of the certificate is required following additional technical assessment.

    For example, if a new product is added to the scope of the Certificate. If a technical re-issue is deemed necessary, this is a compulsory change that has to be made, in order to continue the validity of a certificate.

  • What is a Certificate Suspension?

    Certificate Suspension: Suspension is usually applied where a serious issue is identified where it is identified that the Certificate no longer accurately describes the product. It may also be appropriate in their circumstances, for example when the site of production is being changed. Suspension means that the existing certificate is paused (rendering it invalid during this time) and removed from the website while the issues raised are dealt with, after which it could resume and the product could then be sold once again as a BBA-certified product. However, we encourage our clients, should they know that major changes are due to occur, let us know in advance, so that our assessors can review the changes and work with you to deal with any issues raised, avoiding the least amount of certificate down-time or disruption.

  • What is a Certificate Reproduction?

    Certificate Reproduction: In the case where a product is white-labelled for distribution, the BBA offers a solution that means the distributor can also apply for their own BBA certificate for use in their own distribution marketing activity; but only if the original manufacturer of the product has an active certificate for the same product.

    The BBA Agrément Certificate relates to a specific product, and a specific organisation, certifying that particular product against a specific set of criteria for a particular use. Each Certificate is unique to the organisation that has requested the certification and testing to be conducted – the output of which is an individual document that complies only to that specific organisation, thus allowing that business to make use of the BBA Certification logo on their products and marketing material.

    When a manufacturer white-labels a product, and makes it available for re-branding and resale by another business, although the product itself might be identical, the new business that is re-branding the product, does not have authority to apply the same certificate within their promotional material, as the certificate does not correlate to their business. That’s when we are able to issue a Reproduction Certificate for the distributor to use which means that the distributor has an added benefit to verifying the credibility of the product they’re selling, and the manufacturer that their product complies to the same stringent set of criteria – increasing the value of their market share through their distribution network.

    In the case of Reproduction Certificates, for the distributor, maintenance usually means 1 visit per year to the business’ office in order to assess and check the supply chain, and to confirm that the product they’re distributing is still the same product as the originally-certified product, but is simply being relabeled. The process for the manufacturer of that product will be consistent with our standard maintenance schedule of surveillance and 3-year Reviews.

  • What is a Certificate Non-Technical Re-issue?

    Certificate Non-Technical Re-issue: A Non-Technical Re-issue relates to  changes of a non-technical changes, that are still required for the validity of the Certificate to continue. For example, updates to the titles of Standards or Regulations, but not changes to the technical content of the documents.

  • What is a Certificate Amendment?

    Certificate Amendment: Amendments are permissible for very basic changes for non-technical, such as a change of address of the certificate holder, where no other more significance amendments are required for the Certificate.

  • Does the BBA allow customers to film or photograph their product(s) being tested and certified on site at the BBA?

    No, but we work with our own videographer & photographer who is able to provide a quote to do this on your behalf. While customer products are in the care of the BBA during testing and certification processes, the BBA works as a custodian in protecting customer and product IP. Because of this, we don’t allow any unauthorised filming or photography on site and, when requested and provided with a full brief, are able to provide a quote for obtaining footage of product testing where available.

  • Certification

  • When can I expect my UKTA certificate to be issued?

    The BBA has been Designated by MHCLG to act as a United Kingdom Assessment Body and so is in principle able to issue UKTAs. However, some aspects of the process for the publication of UKTAs have still to be defined by MHCLG and UKAS and until this is available we are unable to issue any such Certificates. The BBA is committed to progressing all applications as far as the current state of knowledge allows and is working closely with Government to resolve the remaining issues so that the process can be completed. We will of course let you know as soon as the situation changes.

  • When a certificate gets suspended, does certificate surveillance still continue?

    Yes.

    A certificate may be suspended due to a number of reasons, but the intention is to address and correct any issues raised, so that the certificate can be instantly reinstated when all issues have been resolved. Maintaining surveillance means that no additional factory visits will incur – adding any potential delay to reinstating the certificate again.  As Certificates are not normally suspended for more than six months, maintaining surveillance while that certificate is suspended, does not usually incur any additional cost.  However, If a Certificate holder wants to suspend surveillance while the Certificate is suspended, that is possible, but this would usually incur an additional inspection to confirm the Quality Plan, before that certificate is reinstated.

  • What is the renewal period and renewal process?

    As part of the Agrément Certification process, there are ongoing obligations for the Certificate Holder and the BBA to maintain the Certificate. The BBA carries out 2 types of maintenance activity once the Certificate has been issued: factory surveillance visits and Certificate Reviews. These activities ensure the ongoing compliance of the Certificate, the production and the certified product(s).

    You can read more about this in depth here: https://www.bbacerts.co.uk/2021/06/01/the-difference-between-post-certificate-surveillances-and-reviews/

  • What is Certificate Reproduction and how does that work if I’m only the distributor of a product manufactured elsewhere?

    In the case where a product is white-labelled for distribution, the BBA offers a solution that means the distributor can also apply for their own BBA certificate for use in their own distribution marketing activity; but only if the original manufacturer of the product has an active certificate for the same product.

    The BBA Agrément Certificate relates to a specific product, and a specific organisation, certifying that particular product against a specific set of criteria for a particular use. Each Certificate is unique to the organisation that has requested the certification and testing to be conducted – the output of which is an individual document that complies only to that specific organisation, thus allowing that business to make use of the BBA Certification logo on their products and marketing material.

    When a manufacturer white-labels a product, and makes it available for re-branding and resale by another business, although the product itself might be identical, the new business that is re-branding the product, does not have authority to apply the same certificate within their promotional material, as the certificate does not correlate to their business. That’s when we are able to issue a Reproduction Certificate for the distributor to use which means that the distributor has an added benefit to verifying the credibility of the product they’re selling, and the manufacturer that their product complies to the same stringent set of criteria – increasing the value of their market share through their distribution network.

    In the case of Reproduction Certificates, for the distributor, maintenance usually means 1 visit per year to the business’ office in order to assess and check the supply chain, and to confirm that the product they’re distributing is still the same product as the originally-certified product, but is simply being relabelled. The process for the manufacturer of that product will be consistent with our standard maintenance schedule of surveillance and 3-year Reviews.

  • What happens if my certificate is suspended and what are the implications on my certified product?

    While a certificate is suspended, the Certificate holder cannot claim that their product is BBA certified for the duration of the suspension. During this time, the certificate is removed from the BBA website and therefore any claims made against the product/ system being certified, would be null until the Certificate is reinstated.

  • What does a Certificate Reissue involve? Is it just an administrative task?

    Definitely not.

    Every Reissue is different which means that the amount of work, and the cost associated with doing that, varies depending on the specific circumstances. The details of the Reissue process are captured in the contract appendix for every individual job.

    Reissuing Certificates and contracts involves several teams within the BBA, including our Product Approval & Certifications, Technical Excellence, Technical Authors and Publications team, who all have specific roles to provide input, validation and authorisation.

    Every time a Certificate is updated, in addition to any Certificate specific changes, it is reviewed against the latest Regulations and Standards and checked against the latest Certificate of that type to ensure consistency and that all updates are included, ensuring that no Certificate holder holds an advantage over another for similar product types. We also provide an opportunity for clients to comment on the content of their Certificate, or any changes that may arise, which are then reviewed or agreed.

  • What do we do if we need to change the name of a product that has been certified?

    If a Certified product (Agrément Certificate, BBA HAPAS Certificate) changes name, the associated Certificate will need to be amended too.  We have a simple and clear process in place to help minimise any impact that these changes may have. We handle product name changes via a certificate amendment process, provided that the product is identical to the one initially certified, and that it’s only the product’s name that has changed, the Certificate would only be amended to change the product name. The associated Quality plan and Installation Method Statement(if applicable) supporting that certificate would also be amended to reflect this change.

  • What could cause a delay to the certification of my product?

    Undergoing certification of a product, there is a lot of information that we require of you. It’s a collaborative process between the BBA and the client to ensure we have all the necessary information we need to make an accurate assessment of that product.  The process is a rigorous one, which is why we will ask for very specific information from you, such as drawings, test reports, production process descriptions etc.

    When a client initially agrees a contract to certify their product with the BBA, we define the requirements that we’d need from them for the project. That information is then provided to us, and only once we have all the specified information to hand, the project will be kicked off – to ensure we don’t need to duplicate, or re-visit any items due to different information provided along the way.  The quicker you are able to provide the information to our team, the quicker we are able to get the project underway and work with you to certify the product. The BBA is constantly looking at ways to become more efficient in the way we communicate, operate and administer projects, and if at any time you aren’t happy with the services you receive, we encourage you to let our Client Engagement team know via clientservices@bbacerts.co.uk .

  • If my certificate is suspended, will the BBA continue any of the activities associated with my certification?

    Yes. During the suspension period, the following activities occur:

    • By default, surveillance visits should continue despite suspension. In most cases, this makes little difference, because we would not usually expect suspensions to be very long in place.
    Exceptional circumstances: In unusual circumstances where a site/production location is not available for some reason (e.g. in the case of fire resulting in a change of production locations), a surveillance visit would be meaningless. The aim, however, is that before the certificate is reinstated or shortly afterwards all the surveillance visits are carried out and up to date if at all possible.
    • Any technical assessment required to address the issues that caused the suspension will take place and the Certificate Holder is encouraged to cooperate and provide all the evidence necessary to demonstrate continuous improvement actions are implemented.
    • All surveillance visits should be up to date before the certificate is reinstated, so if a routine visit is refused, the Certificate Holder/ manufacturer would require an extraordinary visit before reinstatement takes place.
    • Certificate holders cannot skip a visit just because the BBA have had cause to suspend the certificate .
    • If the Certificate Holder continues to refuse either a routine or an extraordinary visit, then their Certificate remains suspended, and finally the certificate will be withdrawn.

  • If my certificate is suspended, how long does the certificate reactivation process usually take?

    A suspension period typically lasts up to 3 months, with exceptions of up to 6 months to allow the Certificate holder to work with the BBA through the actions required, and avoid a potential complete withdrawal.

  • How long do BBA Agrément Certificates last?

    While there is no defined expiry date for a BBA Agrément Certificate, continued validity is contingent on compliance with Certificate maintenance activities.  This includes 6 monthly factory surveillance visits and 3 yearly Reviews, which help to ensure that your factory production control and Certificate content remain valid, and are consistent with the original assessments. Changes to products or production should be notified to the BBA in advance of changes being made, and any non-conformities identified at surveillance visits will need to be addressed by the manufacturer. Non-conformities or required changes identified during the Review process will usually require either a Non-Technical or Technical Reissue of the Certificate to maintain validity.

  • Can I ever amend my certificate?

    Yes.

    Amendments are permissible for very basic changes for non-technical, such as a change of address of the certificate holder, where no other more significance amendments are required for the Certificate.a

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