Jane Embury, director, looks at what the government is planning
The government has announced a new building safety regulator, with very sharp teeth.
This regulator will sit within the Office for Product Safety and Standards. It will be expanded and given a significant £10m budget.
It’s a move we have welcomed, because product safety in the construction industry is a grey area.
A product or system that can be safely installed in one place may be unsuitable elsewhere.
Worse, those responsible for building safety often lack the skills to fulfil their duty of care.
We’ve also recently welcomed a Chartered Institute of Building initiative to introduce a specific training course on the subject.
It’s clear that that building product manufacturers will now come under greater scrutiny and control.
No longer will manufacturers be able to hide behind opaque testing data. The government’s safety protocols will start at the design stage and extend well beyond a building’s completion.
The government has also introduced safety proposals for public sector building, and on the removal of unsafe cladding.
It’s clear that the government is committed to building safety, and the safety of all building products and systems. This was a key element in the Hackitt review.
An industry-wide consultation has also been launched on the proposed new Code for Construction Product Information.
This aims to ensure that all product information is clear, accurate and not open to ambiguous interpretation.
Taken together, it will rebuild confidence through the construction sector supply chain.
There’s no doubt that evidence from the Grenfell Inquiry has badly the building industry’s reputation.
As we rebuild ourselves out of lockdown, restoring confidence to the sector is absolutely vital.
Particularly so, as the government is committed to putting the green agenda at the heart of construction.
That means new and innovative products and systems, backed by rigorous testing and clear marketing information.
Now it’s time for the rest of the construction industry supply chain to do the same.