The Government has announced plans to establish a new Building Materials Regulator to oversee materials used in residential buildings after the Grenfell Tower inquiry revealed dishonest practices by manufacturers of construction products.
The new regulator will operate within the Office for Product Safety and Standards which will be expanded and given £10m in funding to establish the new function. It will work with the Building Safety Regulator and Trading Standards to encourage and enforce compliance.
The regulator will have the power to remove any product that presents a significant safety risk. It will also have the power to prosecute any companies who flout the rules on product safety. It will have strong enforcement powers including the ability to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns. Businesses will have to ensure that their products are safe before being sold in addition to testing products against safety standards.
Commenting on the new regulator, Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety 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.’
The government has also commissioned an independent review to examine weaknesses in previous testing regimes for construction products, and to recommend how abuse of the testing system can be prevented.
It will be led by a panel of experts with regulatory, technical and construction industry experience and will report later this year with recommendations.
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