Building Blocks: The Building Safety Bill – Regulating Construction Products


Building Blocks: The Building Safety Bill – Regulating Construction Products

The purpose of the Building Safety Bill (the "Bill") is to enhance the regulatory regime for building safety which became apparent following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in June 2017.  The Bill aims to introduce a new regulatory regime for products used in the construction industry to ensure that all materials used throughout construction are safe.

The investigations carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy highlighted that many products used within the construction industry are not subject to appropriate scrutiny to ensure their safety. An example of this being ACM cladding. The Bill proposes to make sure all construction products made available on the UK market are deemed safe before they can be used for the construction of buildings.

The Bill will create powers to identify and make regulations for products which are considered to be 'safety critical' (i.e. where the failure of the product would risk causing serious injury or death). The Government proposes to work with key players within the industry to identify the products which will fall within this category. Further, manufacturers will be required to supply accurate performance information when placing these products on the market. This will ensure that the products placed on the market will meet the standards set out in building regulations and that action can be taken against those who do not manufacture or supply products that meet the relevant requirements.

How will this be done?

Manufacturers will be required to declare the performance for any 'safety critical' product before these can be placed on the UK market. Further, manufacturers will be required to put in place factory production controls and follow the specified system of assessment and verification of consistency performance to ensure the requirements are consistent and materials are continually compliant.

As regards to enforcement, the Bill will create powers that allow for action to be taken for any inaccurate claims about product performance or where misleading information has been circulated on the market about a product.

These powers will be exercised by a National Regulator for Construction Products and also the local Trading Standards.

To avoid enforcement action and breaching the regulations, manufacturers will need to take an active role in assessing the risks of their products and providing accurate information about remaining risks. To assist manufacturers, it is thought that the Bill will also set out what is classed as a 'safe' product (one which under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, does not present any risk to the health and safety of persons, or, if it does, the risk is low).

This blog is part of a series published by Howard Kennedy LLP on the Building Safety Bill. For more information please contact Lucy Moon, Sharon Stark or Stuart Duffy. For other blogs on the Bill, please click here.

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