We take a rigorous approach to ensure that the materials you use are robust and of the highest industry standard.
Under the UK building regulations, all construction products have to be tested by an independent third-party to ensure that they are manufactured to agreed standards. The same is true of all of the products that Back to Earth supply and so here we discuss the different standards to which our products are tested.
A product approval is a document that shows that an independent third party organisation has tested a product or system and deemed that it complies with the required standards dictated by either their national certification body or by the EU.
Most standards are set by the EU as a way of harmonising production standards, enabling products to be freely traded and used anywhere within the EU. Products that meet these standards usually carry the very familiar CE mark which demonstrates their conformity and suitability for use within the UK building control regulations.
Wood fibre products manufactured and used in Europe are manufactured to the EN 13171 standard which sets standards for manufacturing, dimensional accuracy, etc. and is the standard that all of our wood fibre products conform to. All of our wood fibre products also carry the CE mark, demonstrating that they meet this standard and ensuring they are suitable for their intended use under the building regulations.
Our plasters and renders, from Baumit or Unger-Diffutherm, conform to the BS EN 998-1 standard which ensures their quality, their water absorption rates and their mineral content and therefore non-flammability. This is important as it allows us to guarantee that our plastered wood fibre systems meet the requirements for surface spread of flame and that they are safe to use from a fire perspective and also that they resist weather whilst still remaining breathable.
Our airtightness products conform to a whole host of different standards to test for vapour permeability, water tightness, air permeability, tear resistance, etc. and again, most carry the CE mark where there are relevant standards for them.
Our clay products meet the necessary standards too, although these are not EU standards but the German standards for clay products. Although becoming popular in the UK, clay products are far more widely used in Germany and so manufacturing and product standards exist there to ensure quality.
Fire safety is an important topic when discussing wood fibre insulation and we take this very seriously. Most of our products are fire tested so that we know how they behave in a fire which allows us to ensure that the specifications we suggest meet all necessary fire regulations.
Guarantees and Warranties
Each country has their own certified companies that test products and in the UK we have BBA, BM Trada and various others, all approved by the UK accreditation Service. It is useful to note that the testing standards across the EU are the same and so a product approval from one country is as valid as one from any other. Currently, all EU product or system approvals are acceptable under Building Control as proof of the intended use and this is likely to continue in spite of the UK leaving the EU.
A product or system guarantee is the standard manufacturers guarantee that states that the system is suitable for it’s intended purpose and that the products are produced to the standard required to achieve that. This only covers the system components and not the installation, which will need to be covered by the installer.
A warranty is an insurance backed policy that you purchase separately and usually covers the cost of repair or replacement of any part of the system that fails, including labour and access, etc. It should cover the system against failure, so long as it has been maintained as required and not damaged in any way, for a period of 10 – 25 years, depending on what is specified.
Not all wood fibre systems can get warrantees with all warranty companies. As warrantees are provided by an insurance company it is up to them to decide what products and construction methods they will insure. It is therefore very important that if you need an insurance backed warranty you should consult your provider, letting them know the system and construction build-up of your building. Some companies require cavities within walls and some are happy with anything that is approved by Building Control.
System approvals from UK companies such as BBA do not guarantee a warranty can be provided and equally, an EU based technical approval does not mean you cannot get a warranty. There are many factors that require consideration such as exposure rating of the location and what the construction build-up is. For more information speak to your Building Inspector and your warranty company and call us if you need any help.
We offer dynamic heat and moisture modelling as well as condensation risk analyses.
Back to Earth is a natural building material supplier. We're not your typical builders' merchant though and instead work closely with our clients during the planning, designing and building phases of projects.
Back to Earth is a proud signatory of the Anti-Greenwash Charter: