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National Regulator Makes Homes Safer

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) set forth its plan to make sure materials used for home building are safe.

Setting up a national construction products regulator aims to remove "dishonest practices" by ensuring all home builders are using safer materials.

How Will The Regulator Protect Residents?

New regulations introduced to protect property residents, include:

  • Establishing a national regulator to verify the materials used to build new homes are safe.
  • Setting up an independent review to examine faults in the system and recommend how to fix abuse (industry malpractice).
  • Taking action after the Grenfell Inquiry revealed how some manufacturers ignored UK health and safety rules.

Establishing a national regulator has one primary purpose. That is to protect residents against builders who use shoddy materials during construction.

The Housing Secretary made the announcement on the 19th of January 2021. So, homeowners and inhabitants should start to feel less concerned about the integrity of products used to build their homes.

Here’s the bottom line:

Besides testing products against a raft of other safety standards, businesses must also ensure their products are not hazardous (i.e. before they sell them).

Simply put, establishing a new regulator to ensure construction materials are safe marks a significant chapter in the overhaul of buildings regulatory systems.

Furthermore, the publications of the draft Building Safety Bill and the Building Safety Programme highlight some notable advances in regulatory reform in the United Kingdom.

As a result, the enhanced enforcement powers of the regulator for construction products allows them to:

  • Undertake their own product testing campaigns during investigations that relate to safety concerns.
  • Prosecute companies who are deliberately flouting the rules and regulations for product safety.
  • Remove any dangerous or hazardous products from the marketplace (e.g. those that present a significant risk to safety).

Note: Regulatory reforms follow testimony provided during the Grenfell Inquiry. It revealed dishonest practices carried out by some construction products manufacturers.

Comments from the Housing Secretary

National construction regulator to ensure safer home materials in the United Kingdom.Allegations disclosed in the Grenfell Inquiry are “deeply disturbing” and far-reaching. The report also uncovered instances of, and weaknesses in, product testing regimes and employee malpractices.

The final actions taken on the evidence focuses on the recommendation from the judge overseeing the Inquiry.

But, introducing a national construction products regulator provides an expeditious opportunity to address the major concerns.

Office for Product Safety and Standards

The regulator will be operating through the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), first created in January 2018.

Furthermore, its expansion (and up to £10 million in funding) will help to establish its new role. Thus, working alongside the Building Safety Regulator (HSE), and Trading Standards, should help to encourage and enforce further compliance.

Furthermore, an independent review (commissioned by the UK Government) examines weaknesses in previous testing regimes for various construction products. The aim is to find examples of abuse in the testing system – and then prevent or remove them.

Led by a panel of experts, their technical, regulatory, and broad experience in the construction industry, should produce further findings and recommendations.

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