Tom Reynolds, CEO designate of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, argues that it is time to step up the pressure on non-compliance and calls on the industry to support its renewed campaign…
The current system for meeting regulatory requirements on bathroom products and demonstrating that products are compliant is poorly understood and ineffective. The BMA has been working hard to raise awareness but recognises that more now needs to be done.
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We are pushing forward with a number of initiatives and continuing our efforts to lobby Government. It is unfortunate that the current political chaos is distracting ministers from dealing with important issues but we are determined to make our voice heard so that the bathroom sector is not held back.
Working with other partners, we are banging on the door of Government with an all-party parliamentary brief that will bring bathroom matters to the government’s attention. In the meantime, we will be launching a new compliance tool that will help demystify the mass of legislation around compliance and provide clear guidance for those wanting to demonstrate compliance.
The complex nature of the regulatory environment has led to poor understanding in the bathroom supply chain of compliance requirements. With no policing of the marketplace, the conformity of goods with regulations has been replaced by price in driving purchasing decisions. Without the overhead of product testing and product refinements needed to comply, unscrupulous manufacturers can undercut those that are compliant.
Our tool, developed in partnership with Keele University, will be launched at the Bathroom & Kitchen conference on 7th October. This tool will identify the relevant Standards and Regulations that products should comply with, when sold and installed in the UK market. It provides a one-stop shop for the industry to help them ensure their products are compliant and will also help consumers understand what they should be looking for when purchasing compliant products.
Research we commissioned last year suggests that consumers are interested in compliance as well as price but are not aware of what to look for. The approvals and certifications schemes that exist now are clearly not getting through to buyers. The new compliance tool will help address this issue.
We are also working with Nottinghamshire County Council and the Office for Product Safety and Standards, so that BMA regulatory guidance will have an approved stamp of approval via a Trading Standards Primary Authority Partnership.
The BMA already has an audited code of ethics with which our members must adhere, designed to ensure we are leading by example on marketing integrity and product compliance. The Trading Standards Primary Authority partnership will give added assurance that the BMA standards are trustworthy.
We are calling on our partners and the industry to support us on driving forward change. Only robust commitment and surveillance and will help us rid the marketplace of non-compliant products. One recent market report suggests, on CE marking alone, that around 50% of products in the marketplace do not comply and this cannot be allowed to continue.