Last edited 03 Mar 2021

National construction products regulator established

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Contents

[edit] Introduction

In January 2021, the government announced the creation of a new national construction products regulator. The regulator's primary responsibility is to ensure homes will be constructed using 'safe' materials. Once established, the regulator will have the power to remove any product that represents a significant safety risk and to prosecute companies that break the rules.

[edit] Aftermath of Grenfell Inquiry

The establishment of the regulator follows testimony to the Grenfell Inquiry that identified dishonest practice by some manufacturers, including deliberate attempts to game the system and rigging the results of safety tests.

The regulator will have strong enforcement powers including the ability to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns. Businesses must ensure that their products are safe before being sold in addition to testing products against safety standards.

This marks another move by the Government to overhaul regulatory systems. The ongoing progress on reform also includes the publication of the draft Building Safety Bill and the creation of a new Building Safety Regulator.

Housing Secretary Jenrick said, "We will continue to listen to the evidence emerging in the Inquiry, and await the judge’s ultimate recommendation - but it is already clear that action is required now and that is what we are doing."

Business Minister and Minister for London Paul Scully said: We all remember the tragic scenes at Grenfell Tower, and the entirely justified anger which so many of us in London and throughout the UK continue to feel at the failings it exposed. This must never happen again, which is why we are launching a new authority to test and regulate the safety of construction materials, informed by the expertise that already exists within the Office for Product Safety and Standards."

Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Dame Judith Hackitt said: "This is another really important step in delivering the new regulatory system for building safety. The evidence of poor practice and lack of enforcement in the past has been laid bare. As the industry itself starts to address its shortcomings I see a real opportunity to make great progress in conjunction with the national regulator."

[edit] A new regulatory approach

The regulator will operate within the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) which will be expanded and given £10 million in funding to establish the new function. It will work with the Building Safety Regulator and Trading Standards to encourage and enforce compliance.

The government has also commissioned an independent review to examine weaknesses in previous testing regimes for construction products, and to recommend how abuse of the testing system can be prevented.

It will be led by a panel of experts with regulatory, technical and construction industry experience and will report in 2021 with recommendations.

Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-regulator-established-to-ensure-construction-materials-are-safe

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