Calling out bad practice

Part 1 of 2.

The world of powder coating for construction is increasingly complex especially in relation to adherence to product specification, performance liability, design responsibility and the integrity of the whole building. In the first of two commentaries we at Powdertech think that it is time to highlight some of the practices and myths that are becoming increasingly common.

Chrome-free pre-treatment. This 21st century technology does perform as well  as old chromate, Chrome VI or hexavalent chrome systems. Agreed, chrome-free does require improved process control but if your powder coater can’t control the process should you be using them anyway? Chrome systems are carcinogenic, mutagenic and are under increasing scrutiny by the HSE to reduce exposure limits and a requirement by operators using these processes to potentially require breathing and skin protection, to wear monitoring equipment and be subject to health checks.

(HSE publication – Chromium and you,  http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg346.pdf)

Would a responsible specifier want to encourage the use of a process with such well-documented concerns when there is a proven alternative?

Specification breaking. This is an increasingly common practice.  A specification is not simply a brand or company favoured over others, it is a guarantee of performance required by the specifier based on the powder coating product, application process and coating applicator. If a product is specified for its colour, technical performance, longevity, compatibility or a combination of one or more characteristics then this should be the guiding principle throughout the supply chain. For example, what could the ramifications be if product X is specified only to be substituted by product Y? Where is the guarantee for the product, compatibility with other products and consistency across the development?  If there is a problem down the line who is responsible, liable and accountable? In short, what is the use of employing BIM principles if products are simply substituted with or without the knowledge of others?

Architects, designers and specifiers must ask themselves “are we getting what we asked for”?

Surely in a quality conscious world the construction industry must be ready to promote best practice, stick to specifications, call out bad practice, and ask just one question, “This product at this price - is that too good to be true?”.

In part 2 we will discuss the challenge of building integrity and environmental legacy and the role of experts and consultants.

 

Powdertech July 2019

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