Understanding product certification

16 February 2018 Kingspan Insulation UK


There are lots of different types of certification out there, whether it be environmental or manufacturing site certificates. Here we will look at product certification in particular. It’s clear that product certification is important for many audiences, including specifiers, building control and insurance bodies etc. It’s also evident that there are many different options for products certification, all with catchy acronyms. But what do they all mean? Do you know what they all stand for?


British Board of Agrément

BBA certification is probably one of the most widely recognised approvals within the UK construction industry. The Agrément Board itself was created in 1966 so the body is well established.

In order to receive a BBA Agrément, products must pass a series of comprehensive assessments. The assessments can vary dependent on the product application and the physical properties that may be required to withstand the test of time within constructions.
Only products and systems that have passed a series of comprehensive assessments – including laboratory tests, on-site evaluations, quality management checks and inspections of production are awarded an Agrément Certificate
Even once a certificate is awarded, monitoring of products is essential. A detailed review is also required every three years. As a result BBA certification is widely accepted as a mark of quality and reliability. This can be a real differentiator in product selection.

BTW, nearly all of Kingspan Insulation’s product range are covered by BBA Agrément certificates, demonstrating their proven performance and reliability.

BDA Agrément®

The BDA Agrément® has been available in the UK since 2009. Whilst it might not be apparent what it stands for, it is obvious how comprehensive the certification is.

BDA Agrément® certificates are issued by BDA Advies, which is part of the Kiwa group (an independent institute which provides testing and inspection of materials used in the building envelope). This approval ensures the customer that, as long as the product is used according to the guidelines, individual products and whole systems will perform as they were designed to. This is audited and verified by the BDA on an annual basis.

There are certain conditions that the BDA must consider to determine whether or not a product is fit for purpose. They will test samples for factors such as:

• thermal performance;
• emissivity;
• durability;
• behaviour in relation to fire;
• condensation and water penetration risk; and
• individual characteristics of the product.

The institute will also take account of other elements and include them in the BDA Agrément®, such as standards / codes of practice, installation procedure and compliance with Building Regulations etc.

Thanks to all this rigorous monitoring and checking, a BDA Agrément® is recognised by professional bodies such as the NHBC and LABC. The resulting benefits of fast tracking through procedures and approvals, among others, are recognisable, as are the benefits of knowing the product is safe and effective.

ICYMI Kingspan OPTIM-R was the first Vacuum Insulation Panel (VIP) to gain a BDA Agrément®.


European Technical Approvals (not Estimated Time of Arrival as you might expect !)

ETAs are important for new products which aren’t covered by harmonised European Standards (hENs), as it allows manufacturers to voluntarily CE mark. They form part of the Construction Products Regulation (EU) No 305/2011.

The BBA is actually designated by the government to issue these approvals and, as in the name, an ETA requires testing to European standards.
An ETA contains the following information:

• contact details of the manufacturer (ETA holder),
• the product (trade name) and its intended use,
• the manufacturing plant (encoded or contact details),
• details of the assessment programme and performances of the product, and
• depending on the relevant AVCP systems, the control tasks of a Notified Body or the manufacturer

An ETA forms the basis of a Declaration of Performance (DOP) and it is mandatory to have a DOP if there is already an ETA for a product.

FYI all of Kingspan Insulation’s DOPs can be found here.

In Plain English

Whilst we have only touched on a few types of product certification, there are lots of other ones such as BES 6001, Green Guide Ratings and even global certification like DiBt in Germany or DCL in Dubai.

It certainly seems that there are numerous product certification types, all slightly different. However they all have one thing in common – they are designed to both confirm product performance and reassure those using them that they are getting what they expected. GR8.

For details of Kingspan Insulation’s certification for its products please visit here or take a look at the individual product brochures.