Limitions of CE, BS Kitemarks

CE, BS & Kitemark Limitations

Flood charities like the National Flood Forum and the UK government, in trying to standardise flood products to provide certainty and reassurance to potential flood victims, have created and promote an expensive test to British Standards to determine how well a product works under specific test conditions.

“Nothing new in that,” you say, “all products must pass British Standards and / or EU standards to be sold in the UK”

Here are two key questions:

  1. What are the limitations to the standard, and how it is applied?
  1. What are the benefits or disadvantages of restricting your choice to products the government and councils deem worthy of your attention and money?

The answer to the first question is simple. All tests are limited because the results are only applicable to the one sample that was tested and the actual conditions under which the sample was tested.

So what does that mean to you and me?

Think about it this way. We were convinced to buy diesel-fuelled cars, vans and trucks because national authorities /governments thought it generated fewer greenhouse gases than petrol - because they travelled further per litre of fuel. They tax incentivised Diesel engine purchases and reduced the tax on diesel fuel to convince us to buy a diesel-powered vehicle consuming less than petrol and emitting less greenhouse gas overall. ‘Great,’ we thought, ‘who wants to damage our climate when we can do better and save money?’

Ah, but then they realised that our air was becoming so dirty that it broke EU safety standards. The World Health Organisation, EU and the British government knew that diesel fumes included unhealthy particulate matter – that is why they kept upping the exhaust emissions standards.

The point is that standards are limited; they check a new product in pristine condition under very specific test conditions and the government / test houses can weight their results to suit their policy.

In the case of vehicle fuel authorities intervened in the market by subsidizing & promoting diesel. In the case of flood products, the British government free issued sandbags and issues Kitemarks for samples of products they test in their laboratory. 

In real life natural wear and tear, poor maintenance, and the way the products are actually used can make the results unreliable. 

Did you ever have a car that consistently travelled the published miles per gallon, or travelled 100km consuming precisely the advertised number of Litres manufacturers and government approved certified test facilities claimed? 
 

A CE or BS or Kitemarked or any "proven" flood protection product; if not well looked after or used precisely as in the test lab, is as likely to fail as one that has not been tested and certified to work under specific test conditions.

As to the second question, what are the benefits or disadvantages of restricting your choice to products the government has deemed worthy of your attention and money?

Consider this.

Did you know that fewer than 1 in 3 people who have actually been flooded invest in any kind of flood protection? Imagine a significant emotional, physical and financial setback in your life. Say once you are back on your feet you decide not to be better prepared for that eventuality again. That would be like having a car crash, finding out that an air bag and wearing a seatbelt would have made all the difference and - after recovering - deciding you would not upgrade to a car with airbags or wear a seatbelt.

If the airbags and seatbelts were expensive to buy, fit and maintain, or required you to upgrade your vehicle beyond your budget that could influence your decision. You may say, “No, it costs too much, it’s too much hassle and I would rather risk being hurt even more in another accident”. You may reduce your risk of injury by travelling less...

Imagine Flood Traps being like having and using a seat belt. In an ideal world, you would have both the airbag that automatically works when you have a crash and the seatbelt you have to fit yourself every trip.

If you restrict your choice to the government & council promoted / endorsed CE, BS Kitemarked flood mitigation products, you could talk yourself out of taking any action to be prepared - their solutions are generally costly, involve a lot of work to choose, fit, and maintain and to use when floods are forecast. They can be a constant reminder that you are at risk of flooding and an unwanted advertisement. 

On the other hand, it is prudent to take some action to reduce the cost and heartache of being flooded. Sandbags have proven to be ineffective for household use.

Flood Traps for your doors and low-level windows provide easy-to-use, proven effective protection. Even though the authorities do not endorse them, they work just fine all the same and are certainly much better than sandbags or doing nothing to keep floods from getting into your property through gaps around doors and windows.