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21/01/2021

New regulator to monitor safety of construction materials

Words: Laura Edgar
Compliance with regulations / iStock-1271095979

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced the establishment of a national regulator to guarantee that materials used to construct homes would be made safer.

The construction products regulator will have the power to remove products from the market if they present a “significant safety risk” – and to prosecute companies that don’t follow the rules on product safety.

The regulator will be empowered to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns.

The government explained that establishing the regulator follows testimony at the Grenfell Inquiry which had highlighted “dishonest practices” carried out by some construction material manufacturers, such as altering the results of safety tests.

Jenrick said: “The Grenfell Inquiry has heard deeply disturbing allegations of malpractice by some construction product manufacturers and their employees, and of the weaknesses of the present product-testing regime.

“We are establishing a national regulator to address these concerns and a review into testing to ensure our national approach is fit for purpose. 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.”

Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, added: “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.

The government said the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) would be expanded to include the new regulator. It will be given up to £10 million in funding to establish the new function.

Image credit | iStock

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