THE GOVERNMENT has appointed two experts to lead an independent review of the system for testing and ensuring the safety of construction materials.
Former government adviser and construction expert Paul Morrell OBE will be the chair of the independent panel, along with legal expert Anneliese Day QC.
The review, announced earlier this year, will examine how to strengthen the current system for testing construction products to provide confidence that these materials are safe and perform as marketed.
Construction Products Code
In January this year, the Construction Products Association launched a consultation on the newly proposed Construction Products Code. The Code aims to regulate the testing and marketing of construction materials. The industry was invited to give its views before the Code is implemented, which is expected to happen in October.
It is hoped that manufacturers will adopt the code to help set a level playing field for construction product manufacturer and restore public confidence in their safety.
Building Safety Regulation
The review forms part of the government’s ongoing programme of work to reform and strengthen building safety regulation. It comes after testimony to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry exposed evidence of testing irregularities and potential gaming of the system by some manufacturers.
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has heard deeply concerning suggestions that some construction product manufacturers may have gamed the system for testing these materials and compromised the safety of residents.
“We are taking these allegations very seriously and will await the Inquiry’s final recommendations. But it is clear that action is needed now to ensure products used on buildings always meet the highest safety standards.”
Safety of Construction Materials
The independent panel will seek stakeholders’ views on how the system of safety testing of construction products could be improved. It will report later this year with recommendations.
The government announced in January 2021 that a new National Regulator for Construction Products will be established in the Office of Product Safety and Standards. It will be given powers to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk. It can also prosecute and fine any company that breaks the rules.
These measures are part of reforms which include the draft Building Safety Bill published in July 2020.