New regulator to enforce safer construction materials

21 January 2021

The UK government has created a national products regulator to make building materials safer as part of an overhaul following the Grenfell disaster.

The new regulator for construction will have the power to remove products which pose a “significant safety risk”, prosecute firms which don’t obey product safety rules, and test products during investigations.

It aims to combat “dishonest practice” among construction manufacturers highlighted by the Grenfell Inquiry.

The ongoing inquiry into the 2007 disaster has revealed poor procurement decisions and “deliberate attempts” to rig safety test results.

The government has provided a £10m fund for the function. An overhaul of regulatory systems also includes the draft Building Safety Bill and the establishment of a new building safety regulator.

And an independent review into weaknesses of the construction product testing regime has been commissioned by the government.

Robert Jenrick, housing secretary, 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.”

Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, 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.”

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