Thursday, 31 October 2013

Building a house? Online disclosure on construction products' performance

I have written my PhD about various fall-traps that consumers may stumble into while having someone construct their house. Notwithstanding that it is often a long, costly and technologically complicated process, consumers usually have to deal with various service providers who may not all be quite as reliable as necessary. Additionally, it is hard for consumers to overview the project and materials used, since their usability and effectiveness may not be immediately clear, upon a glance. It was then interesting to see that the European Commission decided to take certain legal measures to protect European consumers with regard to potentially defective, inferior construction products. The Commission proposes namely that manufacturers of construction products upload digital 'declarations of performance' on their websites, disclosing essential characteristics (e.g., fire resistance, mechanical strength, energy efficiency) of every product they sell. At the moment instead of having these documents publicly available, clients need to individually request them, which makes making comparisons between products more difficult. (Online information about construction products to save time and money) These changes should supplement the recently implemented Construction Products Regulation (in force as of 1 July 2013), which aims at providing accurate information on the performance of construction products by harmonising the language used by construction manufacturers.

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