Residents across England will be better protected as the government takes the next step to ensure materials used to build the nation’s homes are safe and tested properly.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has today (20 April 2021) appointed two experts to lead an independent review of the system for testing construction products. 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.
The review forms part of the government’s ongoing programme of work to reform and strengthen building safety regulation and comes after testimony to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry exposed evidence of testing irregularities and potential gaming of the system by some manufacturers.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP 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.
I am pleased to appoint Paul Morrell OBE and Anneliese Day QC to lead this independent review of the system for testing construction products that will build on the significant progress we have already made to make buildings safer.
The panel will engage with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their views on how the system of safety testing of construction products could be improved and will report later this year with recommendations.
The government has already announced that a new National Regulator for Construction Products will be established within the Office of Product Safety and Standards and be given powers to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk; and prosecute and fine any company that breaks the rules.
These measures form part of the government’s wider, ambitious reform of the sector, which includes the draft Building Safety Bill, that will bring the biggest improvements to building safety standards in 40 years and strengthen the regulation of construction products.