BOPAS

Photo © Portakabin Group / Yorkon

Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS)

The management of risk is always an important consideration particularly when new players are entering the construction market. Buildoffsite together with its partners Lloyds Register and Building Life Plans has launched the BOPAS Certification Scheme to provide product and process assurance for a full 60 year period.

Integrating warranty providers into BOPAS

The Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) was designed to address the issues associated with bringing innovative or non-traditional building systems to the market. Notably, that mortgage lenders are reluctant to lend against forms of construction with which they are unfamilar and that their panel valuers may refuse to value properties (as part of the mortgage application process) that incorporate unfamiliar building systems.

The problem is most noticeable in relation to the first sale of a new home, but can also influence succeeding transactions where there is no warranty in place. Especially since issues affecting durability are more likely to have appeared and modifications to the property are more likely to have taken place.

Because this problem exists, manufacturers have also struggled to secure development funding, unless they can demonstrate that units that incorporate their systems, will be mortgageable.

Whereas methods do already exist to assess product, the industry recognises their limitations. BOPAS is an accreditation scheme for innovative building systems that includes both product and process, and both system and the application of that system in a scheme-specific design. There are three elements to BOPAS:

1 The Lloyd’s Register accreditation process: the process accreditation evaluates and facilitates the adoption of best practice by manufacturers and constructors in key performance areas such as risk management, competency management, configuration management, procurement management and process control. This takes place at each stage of project
development, through concept, design, manufacture and construction. A structured and systematic approach at each phase of the project life cycle will ensure consistency and repeatability and ensures that the discipline is adopted by organisations and their suppliers/subcontractors seeking accreditation under the scheme.

2 The durability and maintenance assessment: the assessment is a rigorous and structured process following the principles of service life planning of constructed assets as defined in the international standard ISO 15686. The durability assessment is based on a standard time frame of 60 years. This would be the minimum expectation for structural components. The purpose of the assessment is to provide assurance on the probable service life of a building based on its component parts and assemblies in typical environmental and in-use conditions. Particular focus is given to issues relating to repairability, maintainability and suitability for the intended environment.

3 The BOPAS web-based database: the database will provide the valuer with the requisite information based upon a search by postcode, for the BOPAS
approved and warranted property to be valued. It will provide access to information regarding major structural components of an innovative construction and will significantly assist valuers and surveyors in the provision of valuations and advice for their clients.

How will the integration between additional warranty providers work?

The role of the New Home Warranty provider is significant within the scheme. They will undertake the on-site inspections and provide information to the database relating to completed units that have been accredited under the scheme.

Those warranty providers that already underwrite non-traditional forms of construction will have a process that allows them to assess the durability requirements of a particular system, for the purpose of their own underwriting. Under BOPAS, the durability assessment of the non-traditional form of construction, as undertaken by BLP Insurance, is provided for the benefit of the lenders only.

It is the intention that by integrating additional warranty providers into the scheme, it will engender a more collaborative approach to working with non-traditional construction. It has already been established that several different stakeholders across the industry are all working separately and independently on projects that all have the same objective. Rather than duplicate effort or waste time and money, we would hope that by having the warranty providers working in a more collaborative way on certain issues, we can respond better to the needs of the industry and provide a better service to our clients and ultimately, the homeowners. A typical example of this might be to share non-confidential third party information relating to a particular system.

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