Releasing the brakes for a new starting point
Building designers are strongly encouraged to use innovative systems and involve non-standard products in their projects. But at the same time, that doesn't mean ignoring certain requirements, because in a performance-focused process where project managers are increasingly required to provide guaranteed results, it's essential that we feel reassured about the choices we make. This reservation applies not only to project managers, but also to building control inspectors and everyone who has responsibility for all or part of the process. So much so, in fact, that now, the labeling of buildings is standard practice, requiring the use of products and systems whose performance claims are certified.
So any initiative in this direction - and that includes the introduction of the Springboard Guidelines - is welcome progress. These guidelines are designed to give specifiers reliable and secure information about product performance.
And although the resources we have available, such as the TH-Bat regulations, cover a very broad scope of possibilities giving us access to default values for almost every situation, a value tested and supported by certification is much more relevant. The introduction of the Springboard Guidelines therefore marks a real advance, especially since it helps to identify those manufacturers who are not content to make sometimes staggering claims in self-certifying the performance of their products in the absence of standards.
This certification should not be the end of the story. We know that design goes rather further than simply thermal insulation, and involves acoustic insulation and fire resistance. So it's important that the Springboard Guideline stage should be associated with others, such as the Technical Assessment.