The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced the launch of a new regulator that ensures materials used to build homes will be safer.
The launch follows the Hackitt review which came after the Grenfell tragedy and the Building Safety Bill that was published in Summer 2020. The Bill “set out the biggest reforms to building safety regulation for a generation, and included provisions to strengthen and extend the scope of the powers available to government to regulate construction products.”
This new regulator will have the power to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecute any companies who do not follow the rules on product safety.
Currently, market surveillance and enforcement of construction products safety is the responsibility of under-funded local authority trading standards services. Trading standards services saw budget cuts of around 60% between 2010 and 2018 meaning that construction products are unlikely to be a priority in each of the 200 plus trading standards services. Although general product safety is a priority within trading standards, it is a wide portfolio consisting of toys, electrical products, and cosmetics amongst other areas.
Regulated construction products
All installers will use regulated construction products.
These regulated construction products are defined in law as “any product or kit which is produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works or parts thereof and the performance of which has an effect on the performance of the construction works with respect to the basic requirements for construction works".
Examples of construction products include doors, windows, shutters and gates, membranes, and thermal insulation products.
Does the new regulator for construction products impact installers?
Installers have always had to supply goods that are safe and comply with the existing rules and regulations around construction products. This means that there is unlikely to be any change to the way installers currently need to operate.
However, later this year new rules will come in around CE marking with the move towards a new UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark in place of the CE mark.
HIES, DGCOS and HICS have secured expert training on the UKCA which will be offered to members of all schemes later this year.
Adrian Simpson, Director of Policy and Affairs at HIES, HICS, and DGCOS, comments, “In these times of Government austerity and de-regulation, a new regulator is a surprising, but a welcome addition to the building and construction safety family. With £10m allocated towards this new regulator it will be interesting to see how this new regulator will work alongside trading standards services.
The regulator comes at a time when product safety is in focus. With the vast majority of product safety derived from European Union legislation, the move towards the UK deciding its own product safety priorities has begun and with Grenfell still in our thoughts, construction products seem to be the right place to start.”