François Michel, National Specialist in Sealing, Coverings and Cladding, Technical Department, Bureau Veritas Construction (BVC).

François Michel

Member, Building Code of Practice (DTU) for series 40, 41 and 43, President, GS5.1 "Coverings", Commission Responsible for Issuing Technical Appraisals (CCFAT), former President, GS5.2 "Sealing" and GS20 "Special insulation material", member, GS2.2 "Built-up cladding", GS2.3 "Sandwich panels" and GS21 "Photovoltaics".
BVC is an approved Technical Inspection company, a subsidiary of Bureau Veritas.

"The construction industry is subject to numerous regulations, including the French Spinetta Law of January 4, 1978, concerning the assumption of liability of contractors (architects, businesses, project managers, technical inspectors) to the prime contractor when violating common law. They have an obligation to implement resources and produce outcomes. A company buys from manufacturers or their product distributors to perform the work for which it is responsible. There is a transfer of the liability of the manufacturer or distributor to the company, which is the prime contractor's sole contact. If there is a defect, the company must prove that it performed the work properly. If there is doubt about the material or product, it's the company's problem. It can take action against the manufacturer or distributor but must demonstrate that the product delivered is defective. Mission impossible!

The company, as well as the architect and technical inspector, needs technical reassurances about products specified and delivered. CE marking, in accordance with harmonized standards, is notoriously insufficient in this regard.

ACERMI certification gives professionals genuine trust in the consistency of the technical quality of insulator manufacturing, commitments to claimed performance, and, finally, performance reviews by panels of dedicated independent experts. This principle of certainty in the materials and products delivered to building worksites is fundamental. The traditionalization of some techniques for finishing works must not lead to erroneously believing that CE marking of insulation is enough. The professionals I mentioned, as well as trustworthy manufacturers, must continue to use certification that guarantees the fitness for purpose of the insulation materials and products used in common structures.

There was a time when, to have reliable and relevant information, you had to get hold of many documents, read them and take ownership. The work was laborious, but the skilled professional knew what was credible: DTUs, Technical Appraisals and certifications by independent third parties like ACERMI. Now, with just a few clicks, you can access a wealth of information, as much reliable as flimsy. It becomes difficult to objectively determine the performance of a particular product, even if you have an acute sense of judgement.

In this changing and uncertain world, including the construction industry in France, a country with the very specific Spinetta Law, technical certainties are fundamental. This is what ACERMI offers. Just visiting its website gives you ready access to reliable and useful information."

 Download Issue 13 of the newsletter - July 2020