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Insurance blockage keeps construction marketing code on back burner

16 Nov 22 More than a year after its supposed launch, the Code for Construction Product Information has yet to go live.

The Code for Construction Product Information was devised in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in a bid to discourage misleading marketing among product manufacturers. However, the company set up to run it cannot get professional indemnity insurance, which effectively prevents it from operating.

The Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) was written by the Construction Products Association’s Marketing Integrity Group and first published in draft form in January 2021.

The idea is that manufacturers sign a pledge to comply with the 11 clauses of the CCPI, which in summary commits them to ensuring all their labelling and product literature is clear and unambiguous.  They then pay anything from £2,500 to £10,000, depending on company size, to have their product literature and labelling assessed and verified as honest and complete.

Advocates of the CCPI think that it will prevent specifiers and builders ever again mistaking flammable cladding systems as fit for use on high-rise buildings. Cynics say that cheats, rogues and charlatans will always find a way around.

To keep the CCPI independent of product manufacturers, management of the published code and its verification was formally handed over by the Construction Products Association in September 2021 to Construction Product Information Ltd – a newly established not-for-profit organisation – with independent governance and management set-up under the auspices of the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive Amanda Long, whose construction industry experience dates back to September 2019 when she joined the organisation, was also appointed chief executive of Construction Product Information Ltd (CPI Ltd).

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That was 14 months ago.

A board of non-executive directors was appointed in April this year, chaired by chemical engineer David Topliffe. Deputy chair is Catherine Fyfe, a divisional marketing director at Polypipe. Another director is Tom Lodder, Multiplex’s director of digital transformation.

In July this year Amanda Long handed in her notice as chief executive of both the Considerate Constructors Scheme (after less than three years in post) and CPI Ltd (after nine months in post). A December departure date was announced. There has been no announcement since of her successor in either organisation, prompting speculation about the future of both schemes.

A spokesperson for CPI Ltd explained that failure to get insurance was proving an obstacle to the scheme.

She said: “The launch of the CCPI verification process has been delayed due to factors outside of our control. CPI Ltd has been unable to secure professional indemnity insurance, despite support from respected brokers, Griffiths & Armour. The reluctance of the insurance sector to engage with construction products organisations, regardless of the widely held view that the code will actually make our sector safer, is entirely the reason for the delay.  Please be assured we are working extremely hard to move forward, with support from CPA, government and our brokers we hope to have a solution in place soon.”

She added: “We have over 340 manufacturers interested in the code, with 25 organisations waiting on confirmation of inclusion in the first wave of registrations when we go live. We plan to have three structured waves of registrations, each with about 25 manufacturers in each before opening registrations to the whole sector. As a nascent organisation, the structured waves will prevent any potential bottle necks whilst enabling testing and tweaking of the verification process.”

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