In 2021, the UK Government announced that it was establishing a National Regulator for Construction Products to oversee a more effective regime and to lead and co-ordinate market surveillance and enforcement.
In its press release announcing its establishment, the Government said, “The regulator for construction products will have the power to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecute any companies who flout the rules on product safety.
“This follows recent testimony to the Grenfell Inquiry that shone a light on the dishonest practice by some manufacturers of construction products, including deliberate attempts to game the system and rig the results of safety tests.
“The regulator will have strong enforcement powers including the ability to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns. Businesses must ensure that their products are safe before being sold in addition to testing products against safety standards.
“This marks the next major chapter in the government’s fundamental overhaul of regulatory systems. The progress on regulatory reform includes the publication of an ambitious draft Building Safety Bill, representing the biggest improvements to regulations in 40 years, and a new Building Safety Regulator that is already up and running in shadow form.
“The regulator will operate within the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and will cover all products, including those already on the market and future products that are not yet available for sale. This will include product categories that are not covered by existing construction product regulations.
“In terms of timing, the regulator will begin to operate using future powers once the Building Safety Bill and corresponding secondary legislation come into effect. Subject to the will of Parliament, our working assumption is that full powers will come into force within 12-18 months of the Bill being granted Royal Assent.”
In an estimated timeline, published by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which outlines when the Bill’s provisions are likely to come into effect, the date of implementation is between April and July 2022.
In its blog post Preparing for the National Regulator for Construction Products, construction marketing specialist Competitive Advantage says that the Regulator’s remit “…specifically includes requiring manufacturers to supply clear and accurate performance information when placing such products on the market, and includes creating powers that allow for action to be taken where false statements or other misleading or inaccurate claims are made about the performance of a construction product, for example claims made in marketing, or advertising material…”.
Competitive Advantage goes on to say that “…. a key task for all building product manufacturers and suppliers in 2022 will be to put processes in place to ensure the information they provide is accurate and up to date, so they meet these requirements. From our experience developing and implementing specification strategies for manufacturers, the two most likely causes of inaccurate information are:
- A product has changed but not all points where the information is available (website, literature downloads, product specifications, CPD seminars, blog articles, product directories and of course standard emails used by technical and sales staff) have been updated. It’s important to maintain a record of where your data is available, you will be surprised how many places there are.
- Although your product has not changed, the tests and legislation it meets have changed. As a result you are quoting conformance with an out of date standard.”
Further information is available here.