New National Regulator Launched To Promote Building Safety

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

New National Regulator Launched To Promote Building Safety

New National Regulator Launched To Promote Building Safety

A new national regulator for construction products has been set up to ensure that materials used to build homes will be safer in the future, with the power to remove any products from the market that pose safety risks, as well as the power to prosecute any companies in contravention of the rules on product safety.

The regulator will have enforcement powers such as the ability to carry out its own product testing during investigations and businesses will need to make sure that products are safe before they’re sold, as well as testing products against safety standards.

The move comes after testimony heard during the Grenfell Inquiry revealed the dishonest practices of some manufacturers, including deliberate attempts to rig the results of safety tests.

Robert Jenrick, housing secretary, 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.”

In July last year, the government published its draft building safety bill, setting out reforms to building safety regulation, strengthening and extending the scope of its powers to regulate construction products. This, coupled with the fire safety bill and the fire safety order, will revolutionise safety and oversight for building residents.

Meanwhile, builders appear to be struggling to source fresh supplies of key construction materials, with the Guardian reporting that price increases and covid-related challenges are now starting to make themselves felt.

Congestion at UK ports is also driving shortages of power tools, screws and fixings, with firms facing increased shipping costs because of worldwide shortage of empty containers. In addition, timber prices have now risen by a fifth.

Chief executive of the Builders Merchants Federation John Newcomb said that the situation hasn’t had a big impact on housebuilders and contractors just yet, but it’s possible that it will do in the coming months.

He went on to say that the biggest issue at the moment is the fact that demand for roof tiles and other products is now outstripping supply, down in large part to the fact that factories were closed in April and May last year.

There continue to be shortages of plumbing materials and bathroom suites, according to the BMF, because of issues at container ports like Felixstowe, which is now finding it hard to cope with covid restrictions and high container volumes.

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