When quality and performance matter most
The BSI Kitemark is widely recognized by consumers, with 88% of British adults trusting it and believing it shows a reputable company. It’s also widely specified by procurement professionals and in the case of flood protection products the Environment Agency recognizes the value of BSI Kitemark certification. Following the terrible floods in late 2013 and early 2014 HM Government stated in their 2014 Flood Support Systems Guidance Note:
“Where appropriate, all products should ideally carry the BSI Kitemark for flood protection products (PAS 1188) or similar standards”.
But what does this well recognized symbol actually mean? And why is it important to know this when choosing products, particularly those that are safety critical such as flood protection products?
The BSI Kitemark is a registered certification mark owned and operated uniquely by BSI. It is one of the most recognised symbols of quality, safety and trust, and offers true value to consumers, businesses and procurement professionals.
Although voluntary, achieving the BSI Kitemark is a serious undertaking and manufacturers clearly value the benefits that this certification brings. The BSI Kitemark is a recognised mark of quality. It’s a third party endorsement by BSI that gives confidence to any purchaser that the product performs beyond minimum requirements of a suitable standard.
So how does this work for flood defence products?
In the case of flood defence products, the standards that underpin the Kitemark scheme are the “Publically Available Specification” (PAS), known as PAS 1188:2014 and the British Standard, BS EN 13564. Products need to comply with one of the relevant parts of the PAS or the British Standard. (See list below).
PAS 1188-1:2014 Flood protection products – Specification Part 1: Building aperture products
PAS 1188-2:2014 Flood protection products – Specification Part 2: Temporary products
PAS 1188-3:2014 Flood protection products – Specification Part 3: Building skirt systems
PAS 1188-4:2014 Flood protection products – Specification Part 4: Demountable products
BS EN 13564 Anti-flooding devices for buildings Various parts
So how does a manufacturer achieve the BSI Kitemark?
For a manufacturer to achieve the BSI Kitemark, they typically need to undergo the following steps:
- Initial laboratory type testing of the product design;
- Initial assessment of the manufacturing site and associated manufacturing quality plan (usually to a recognised standard such as ISO 9001)
- On-going factory assessments, once or twice a year, to ensure that the quality plan remains in place and agreed manufacturing procedures are being followed
- A review of on-going product manufacturing to the relevant standard to ensure compliant products continue to be made and where the standard is amended or updated that the design will continue to meet the standard’s requirements. (For example in the case of PAS 1188 which has just been updated to the 2014 version).
Businesses that achieve the BSI Kitemark take great pride in the fact that they have met this rigorous standard and work hard to maintain it. However, the BSI Kitemark may be withdrawn from a manufacturer if a product or any process linked to its manufacture carrying the mark is proven to be below the exacting standards set by BSI.
How to check that a product really is certified with the BSI Kitemark
So how do you establish a manufacturer’s claim that a product really has achieved the BSI Kitemark standard? Here are some simple ways of checking:
- All clients are issued with a Kitemark Certificate which has a unique “Kitemark number” (KM xxxxx). Look for this KM number which should be displayed on products that have achieved this quality mark.
Note – Not all products in a manufacturer’s range will necessarily be certified.
- Verify the license number either by contacting BSI or via the BSI website at http://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/Product-Directory/
- All Kitemark products have a comprehensive branded BSI test report. You can request this proof from the manufacturer. A proud holder of a BSI Kitemark should be able to share this with you.
- Claims such as, “Tested to PAS 1188”, “Conforms with PAS 1188”, “Independently approved”, don’t in themselves confirm the product has been certified by BSI.
- A BSI Kitemark is a rigorous and robust independent third party certification scheme, and this is only available through BSI.
Trusted as a mark of quality
The BSI Kitemark remains as relevant today as it did when it was first created 110 years ago – providing reliable independent confirmation that the most stringent standards for safety and quality have been met by products and services. So in a world littered with a confusing array of claims and “approval” marks BSI can help demystify this subject in order to help businesses grow and to give consumers confidence and peace of mind.