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Government Announces New National Construction Products Regulator

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New regulator has been set up to ensure homes are built from safe materials.

This week the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that a new UK national regulator would be established. This regulator will oversee materials used to build homes to ensure they are safe. This announcement follows testimony heard in the Grenfell Inquiry that saw evidence of dishonest practices in the construction manufacturing sector. The Inquiry heard that some companies had attempted to deliberately game the system and rig the results of safety tests.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP 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. We will continue to listen to the evidence emerging in the Inquiry, and await the judge’s ultimate recommendation - but it is already clear that action is required now and that is what we are doing.”

Business Minister and Minister for London Paul Scully said:

“We all remember the tragic scenes at Grenfell Tower, and the entirely justified anger which so many of us in London and throughout the UK continue to feel at the failings it exposed.

“This must never happen again, which is why we are launching a new national regulator for construction materials, informed by the expertise that already exists within the Office for Product Safety and Standards.”

Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Dame Judith Hackitt 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.”

This new regulator will be operated by the Office for Public Safety and Standards (OPSS) which currently regulates all consumer products (aside from vehicles, medicines and food). OPSS will work alongside the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governments (MHCLG) to ensure that a new legal framework is established which sets out clear safety obligations that will be required of companies that supply construction products. OPSS will be given up to £10 million in funding to establish this new function.

At this stage it seems likely that the new regulator will assume responsibility for construction products in 2022, after an engagement process with interested parties, including businesses and trade associations within the construction sector.