12 July 2023

What is a building products guarantee?

Guarantees are a familiar feature of modern-day life, being one of the most powerful commitments that a business can make to its customers and also a strong demonstration of their products’ performance. But do you understand the detail behind the formal assurance? Here Dr Peter Barker at Tata Steel explains all.

What is a building product guarantee?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a guarantee is a formal promise that you will do something or that something will happen; and according to Wikipedia, a guarantee is a private transaction by means of which one person, to obtain some trust, confidence of credit for another, engages to be answerable for them.

Putting this into the perspective of building products, a guarantee is, in many ways, a demonstration of a manufacturer’s confidence in its own products and providing customers with assurance in terms of the product’s quality. 

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Why are guarantees important?

Guarantees are important as they provide customers with added protection when buying goods or services, with long length guarantees providing longer protection against any potential failures.

However, not all guarantees are the same! As such, it’s important to delve into the detail and small print of the guarantee provided to make sure you understand what the company or manufacturer is promising and so you don’t unknowingly register for a guarantee with numerous restrictions and limitations.

What should you look out for in guarantees?

When it comes to choosing building products, and more specifically pre-finished steel, you should examine the product’s guarantee in terms of any potential exclusions and limitations, as these could negatively affect the extent of the cover provided and may even be indicative of product limitations. A common restriction that can be imposed on some metal roof guarantees is the building location; intensity of UV, the position and the location of the building and the local environment, including if it is coastal are all critical external factors that can affect external building materials over time. You should therefore ensure that you specify a product where the same comprehensive guarantee terms and conditions are offered irrespective of where the product is installed (roof or walls) or where the building is situated.

Liaising with a reputable manufacturer that offers an extensive, simple, and easy-to-understand guarantee, without any hidden conditions or restrictions, is therefore highly recommended. 

Who is responsible for the guarantee? 

Another factor to consider is who a guarantee will lie with. 

Some building product guarantees can often be passed down through the contractual supply chain, from manufacturer to contractor to the building owner, each with their own set of terms and conditions, meaning that in the event of a claim the owner would have to navigate back through to the origins of the supply chain. This could result in a highly complex and time-consuming process. 

Instead, you should look for a product where the agreement is directly between the manufacturer and the building owner, making any potential claim straightforward and transparent, but is also fully transferable in the event of a property sale. This may sound like an obvious tick box but guarantees can sometimes be non-transferable.

It’s also important to look for guarantees that offer full rectification in the event of a claim, as many guarantees may only cover invoiced cost of material only.

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What is so good about Tata Steel’s Confidex® Guarantee? 

First launched in 1992, Tata Steel’s Confidex® Guarantee revolutionised how warranties were offered in the building envelope market and remains the most comprehensive guarantee for pre-finished steel in Europe. Offered on Tata Steel’s Colorcoat Prisma® and Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra® pre-finished steel products, Confidex® is valid for up to 40 years – a testament to Colorcoat® branded products’ research and development over the years, real world testing and excellent levels of resistance against corrosion.

Unlike some guarantees that can be notoriously complex or may be offered in conjunction with a series of lengthy restrictions and exclusions, Confidex® was developed to be refreshingly straight forward – an approach that remains the same today. Confidex® is uniquely a direct contractual relationship between Tata Steel and the building owner, avoiding the challenge of navigating complex supply chains in the unlikely event of a claim. What’s more, Confidex® covers factory cut edges for the entirety of the guarantee period, is fully transferrable should the building ownership change and promises to provide full remedial action in the unlikely event of a coating failure.

Despite its 1992 launch date, the Confidex® Guarantee remains reflective of the modern-day building industry and is continually reviewed with advances in the building envelope market. For example, 2014 saw the guarantee being extended to include the use of clips and fix photovoltaic (PV) modules with Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra®, a feature that was also extended to Colorcoat Prisma® in 2020. 

What’s more, at Tata Steel, we understand that a building near the coast has to withstand severe weathering. As such, we are so confident in our products that the Confidex® Guarantee is also applicable in coastal locations (defined as within 1km of any coast) too.

For further information