Why our construction industry must do better
Last month cases were filed in the High Court against a number of companies and organisations involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower for the part they played in the fatal fire of 14 June 2017. The list includes building product suppliers Celotex, Kingspan and Arconic.
In an attempt to ensure that the catalogue of errors and bad practice thrown up by the Grenfell inquiry is never allowed to happen again, the Government has announced that it is to set up a new building products regulator. This has to be good news for the construction industry. For too long a lax testing regime has allowed product manufacturers to duck and dive around the building regulations. Add to this inadequate building control and it is clear from the inquiry that these practices directly contributed to the fire.
The new regulator will sit within the Office for Product Safety and Standards and will have enforcement powers including the ability to conduct its own product-testing if it deems it necessary. Businesses must ensure that their products are safe before being sold in addition to testing products against safety standards.
Dame Judith Hackitt ‘s review called for construction products to be properly tested, certified, labelled and marketed. None of this is rocket science. It’s what we all have the right to expect from the buildings we live and work in, and from the companies that manufacture, sell and use the products that go into them.
Announcing the new regulator earlier this week, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the decision followed testimony to the Grenfell Inquiry that shone a light on the “dishonest practice” by some manufacturers of construction products. The findings of the inquiry have been nothing short of scandalous. We all deserve better from the construction industry. Let’s hope a new Regulator will help enforce the change we need.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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