On 19 January 2021 the government announced its intention to establish a new regulator for construction products in order to ensure that safer materials are used to build homes.

The government advised that the regulator’s powers will include removing a product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecuting any companies who “flout the rules on product safety”. The government has also advised that:

“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.”

The government has not provided firm details on the new regulator, including when it will come into being, although it has advised that the regulator will operate within the framework of an expanded Office for Product Safety and Standards, and in tandem with the Building Safety Regulator and Trading Standards to encourage and enforce compliance.

The construction products testing regime is also in the process of being investigated by a government appointed expert panel with construction industry, regulatory and technical experience. The panel is expected to produce a report later on this year with its recommendations.

While the government continues responding to issues arising from the on-going Grenfell Inquiry, further detail is needed as to how these new functions, regulators and committees are intended to operate together within the construction industry.

We look forward to hearing more about how the regulator’s role will work in practice so the construction industry can better understand how the new framework will impact on obligations and risks.