A new regulator put in place to monitor the safety of various construction products was announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
The regulator of construction products will have the power to withdraw from the market any product presenting a significant risk to safety and to prosecute any company that flouts product safety rules.
Jenrick said the ruling followed testimony at the Grenfell Inquiry that shed light on the “dishonest practice” by some manufacturers of construction products.
He said: “The Grenfell Inquiry heard deeply disturbing allegations of professional misconduct on the part of certain construction product manufacturers and their employees and the weaknesses of the current product testing regime.
“We are establishing a national regulator to address these concerns and a test review to ensure our national approach is fit for purpose. We will continue to listen to the evidence from the investigation and wait for the judge’s final recommendation – but it is already clear that action is required now and that is what we are doing.
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The regulator will have enforcement powers, including the ability to perform its own product testing when investigating issues. Companies must ensure that their products are safe before they are sold in addition to testing the products against safety standards.
The announcement follows recommendations from the review by Dame Judith Hackitt that industry and government must ensure that construction products are properly tested, certified, labeled and marketed.
Responding to the announcement, Hackitt said, “Evidence of past bad practice and lack of enforcement has been laid bare.
“As the industry itself begins to fill in its gaps, I see a real opportunity to make great strides together with the national regulator. “
The regulator will operate within the Office for Product Safety and Standards, which will be expanded and provided with funding of up to £ 10million to establish the new function. He will work with the new building safety regulator and trade standards to encourage and enforce compliance.
The government has also commissioned an independent review to examine the weaknesses of previous testing regimes for construction products and recommend ways to avoid abuse of the testing system.
It will be led by a panel of yet-to-be determined experts with regulatory, technical and construction industry experience and will report later this year with recommendations.