The Brick Development Association has launched a new Brickmakers Quality Charter (BQC) to provide the whole UK supply chain from client to end user with assurances as to the product, manufacturing and ethical standards of BQC holders. Supported in the UK by the Builders’ Merchants Federation, the Association of Brickwork Contractors and others, any clay brick manufacturer, irrespective of where they operate, can apply for the BQC. To be approved and accepted, companies must demonstrate their compliance to a range of existing internationally recognised protocols and standards. They are:
1. Business Quality Management System (ISO 9001)
2. Responsible Sourcing System (BES 6001)
3. Energy Management System (ISO 50001)
4. Environmental Management System (ISO 14001)
5. Health & Safety Management System (ISO 45001 or OHSAS 18001 or the BCC H&S Pledge)
6. Employment Practice System (that meets the brickmaker’s National Standard)
7. Anti-Modern Slavery Policy and Procedures (that meets the brickmaker’s National Standard)
8. CPR Compliance in all Clay-Brick Products (CE Mark or UKCA/UKNI Mark to EN771-1)
The charter also aims to help firms to meet the incoming stringent requirements being mooted through Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) thinking. Outlining the thinking behind the Charter, BDA Chief Executive Keith Aldis said, “Use of the Charter provides merchants and customers with a massively valuable ‘short cut’, identifying responsible clay brick and other clay product manufacturers.
We have noticed a growing percentage of imported bricks that are coming into the UK from a global supply chain of which we know very little. With a post-Brexit focus on self-reliance, coupled with international co-operation through competitive trade, we are convinced that there is greater room for error when purchasing and using clay bricks from unregulated and largely unrecognised sources. We want to make sure that the UK and European clay brick using sector, continues to enjoy the high reputation it has built up over decades.”
The BQC rules reflect this new global trade reality. All clay brick manufacturers wishing to participate, will be subject to an initial desktop audit of relevant certifications. Those meeting the basic requirements will be awarded the Charter, all be it at varying levels which will allow firms room to improve whilst recognising that they meet the basic requirements.
Aldis added, “Clay brick is one of the few building materials that are proven to last for centuries. We want to ensure that this doyen of UK construction and housebuilding is manufactured, marketed, sold and used with due diligence and with assurances having been provided to clients, specifiers and customers. We want there to be no question mark over the consistent quality of this wonderful material.
We have had a universally positive reaction from manufacturers and are delighted to be able to point to the fact that all of our members – representing over 98 per cent of UK clay brick manufacturing and 90 per cent of UK clay brick use – are ready to meet those standards and we welcome other manufacturers doing so too.”
Full information on the BQC, together with details on how to apply, can be found here. Further information including downloadable videos and guide notes can be found on the Brick Development Association website or by e-mailing email@example.com