Review into product testing

A review of current systems for testing construction products has been commissioned by the government.

The review comes following testimony to the Grenfell Tower inquiry which exposed evidence of testing irregularities and potential ‘gaming of the system’ by some manufacturers.

Robert Jenrick, housing secretary has appointed Paul Morrell to chair an independent panel to conduct the review. Paul Morrell was the government’s chief construction advisor (2009-12) and is a former senior partner at Davis Langdon. He previously led government reviews on low carbon construction strategy in 2010, government construction strategy in 2011 and industry training boards in 2017.

He will support barrister Anneliese Day of Fountain Court Chambers, who specialises in construction litigation.

The review will examine how to strengthen the current system for testing construction products to provide confidence that these materials are safe and perform as marketed.

Robert Jenrick, housing secretary said: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has heard deeply concerning suggestions that some construction product manufacturers may have gamed the system for testing these materials and compromised the safety of residents.

“We are taking these allegations very seriously and will await the inquiry’s final recommendations – but it is clear that action is needed now to ensure products used on buildings always meet the highest safety standards”.

The government has already announced that a new National Regulator for Construction Products will be established within the Office of Products Safety & Standards and be given powers to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk, and prosecute and fine any company that breaks the rules.

These measures form part of the Government’s wider reform of the sector, post-Grenfell, which includes the draft Building Safety Bill.