Construction products

National regulator of construction products: information sheet

What are we going to do?

We are establishing a national building products regulator to oversee a more effective building products regulatory regime and to direct and coordinate market surveillance and enforcement.

This regulator will tackle bad practice and provide vital market surveillance so that safety issues can be spotted and addressed sooner, including requiring the removal of unsafe construction products from the market and taking action against those who do not. not comply with regulations.

Our package of reforms will help ensure that all construction products put on the UK market are safe and that the public can be confident that the products used to build our homes will work as intended.

This national regulator will provide leadership to the regulatory regime, undertaking proportionate, consistent and effective measures. It will be:

  • provide vital market surveillance and monitoring, including maintaining a national complaints system and supporting local trading standards so that safety issues can be spotted and addressed quickly

  • lead and coordinate the enforcement of enhanced construction product regulations, including the removal of products that pose a security risk from the marketplace

  • provide advice and support to industry to improve compliance as well as provide technical advice to government

  • perform or commission its own product testing to investigate nonconformity

  • establish a strong and consistent approach with building safety regulator and business standards to drive change in the sector

How are we going to do it?

In January 2021, this government announced that the National Regulator for Construction Products will be created within the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS). OPSS is taking on construction product oversight in addition to its existing responsibilities and will receive up to £10m in 2021/22 from the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government to establish this new function.

The funding provided will not be used to subsidize other functions of OPSS and MHCLG, BEIS and OPSS have oversight and governance arrangements in place to ensure that this funding is spent by OPSS to establish its new functions in order to ensure the safety of construction products.

The Buildings Safety Bill will pave the way for the National Building Products Regulator and gives the Secretary of State powers to tighten regulations around the marketing and supply of building products in the UK market.

The bill will allow the Secretary of State to strengthen the current market surveillance and enforcement regime. Using the powers in the bill, the Secretary of State will be able to provide powers to competent authorities, such as the national building products regulator and local trading standards, to investigate, enforce and impose penalties on those who violate the rules.

These powers include the power to enter, inspect and search premises, to require the removal of products from the market and to impose civil penalties (including fines). These powers will allow the national regulator to help restore public confidence in the industry by ensuring that those who try to break the rules face serious consequences and by undertaking market surveillance so that safety issues can be addressed. identified and treated earlier.

Regulators will also be empowered to recover the costs of certain activities from regulated parties and to request, share and use certain information in accordance with their duties. Further details will be defined in secondary legislation.

The National Building Products Regulator will begin to operate using its full powers once the Building Safety Bill and related secondary legislation comes into force. Subject to parliamentary process, our working assumption is that full powers will come into force within 12 to 18 months of the Bill being granted Royal Assent.

In the meantime, OPSS has started to set up its construction products functions, is working with other regulators under the existing regime and is building its capacity to be ready to fully assume its responsibilities once the legislation comes into force. vigor.

Fund

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the government commissioned Dame Judith Hackitt to carry out an independent review of building regulations and fire safety and to make recommendations on the future regulatory system.

In her final report published in May 2018, Dame Judith made several recommendations for reforming construction products regulation, including the need for national oversight of the sector:

Recommendation 7.6

a. The government should ensure that there is a more effective enforcement, complaint investigation and market surveillance regime with national oversight to cover the safety of construction products.

b. The government should consider whether this could be achieved by extending the remit of the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

vs. The introduction of market surveillance at national level should lead to the introduction of risk-based testing of products which are essential to the safety of HRRB high-risk residential buildings.

The government accepted Dame Hackitt’s 53 recommendations and pledged to address the systemic failures identified by the Hackitt Review. This includes the establishment of a national regulator for building products as part of our reforms to ensure more effective enforcement of a stronger and clearer regulatory regime for building products, which will be introduced by through our building safety bill.

The national regulator is being established within the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which will take on this function alongside its existing responsibilities.

The Grenfell Inquiry hearings raised concerns about manufacturers making misleading claims about the performance of their products. Regulations to be made under the bill’s powers will allow the national building products regulator and local trading standards to investigate, enforce and impose penalties for false and misleading claims about product performance. construction, including those made in advertisements.

Will the regulations and the regulator only be interested in new products, or also in products already on the market?

We intend for the new regulations to cover all products, including those already on the market and future products that are not yet available for sale. This will include product categories that are not covered by existing construction product regulations.

The Building Safety Bill will create the power to make regulations to require building products to be safe before they are put on the UK market, and create a statutory list of ‘safety critical’ building products ( where their failure would result in death or serious injury). We will align the regulation of safety-critical products with provisions for products already covered by the existing regulatory regime.

Will the regulator directly test construction products? Or will you rely on the manufacturers’ own ratings?

The national regulator will develop its own testing capacity to determine whether manufacturers are complying with regulations, which is essential for effective market surveillance and enforcement. This will not affect existing and ongoing requirements for manufacturers to independently certify their building products, which may include third party testing.

The government has also commissioned an independent study to examine weaknesses in the building products testing regime and recommend ways to prevent abuse of the system. The review will report later this year.

What sanctions will be available to this national regulator?

If manufacturers are found to have non-compliant products on the UK market, we intend to give the regulator the power to recall those products, require them to be withdrawn from the market and impose civil penalties, including fines. Further details will be set out in regulations to be made under the powers set out in the Building Safety Bill.

Where a criminal offense has been committed under the new construction products regulations, the penalties will include fines, imprisonment or both.

Will the regulator be able to take retroactive measures?

The improved building products regulations that will be created under the powers of the Building Safety Bill will ensure that all building products on the UK market will fall under our regulatory regime.

This means that our regulations will apply to any new product that a business wishes to sell in the UK and to any existing products that a business continues to sell. The national regulator will monitor compliance with industry-wide regulations and impose stiff penalties on anyone who breaks the rules.

If a company has previously sold a product that violates our regulations but no longer sells that product, the regulator may be able to take action against the company for violating the rules in effect at the time of the violation. This may depend on the statute of limitations of the offense and other considerations, on a case-by-case basis.

When will the National Construction Products Regulator start operating?

OPSS has started to set up this national regulator and is working closely with other regulators under the existing regime, including local authority trading standards.

The regulator will begin to operate using future powers once the Building Safety Bill and related secondary legislation come into force. Subject to the will of Parliament, our working assumption is that full powers will come into effect within 12 to 18 months of the Bill being granted Royal Assent.

For what reasons can the national regulator “remove from the market any product presenting a significant risk to safety”?

The Building Safety Bill will create the power to make regulations to require building products to be safe before they are put on the UK market, and create a statutory list of ‘safety critical’ building products (where their failure would result in death or serious injury).

We will align the regulation of safety-critical products with the provisions for products covered by the existing regulatory regime. Regulators will have the power to require the withdrawal from the market of products that do not comply with the regulations.


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