WELCOMING THE NEW PRODUCT SAFETY REGULATOR
The New Product Safety Regulator
The positive steps that have been taken towards product safety to ensure the protection of the general public post-Grenfell is one that will have a lasting impact. The changes already made throughout the fire safety industry have been swift and decisive. With more training and encouragement to put safety first before price as referenced by Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘race to the bottom’ reference means the regulator should be welcomed by all.
The press release from the MHCLG (dated 19th Jan 2021) announced the introduction of a new national construction products regulator established to ensure homes are built from safe materials. The new regulator will have the power to remove products from the market if they are deemed unsafe. This stems from the admission that some companies were perhaps dishonest in how they marketed and tested their product.
Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said, “The Grenfell Inquiry has heard deeply disturbing allegations of malpractice by some construction product manufacturers and their employees and of the weaknesses of the present product testing regime.”
“We are establishing a national regulator to address these concerns and a review into testing to ensure our national approach is fit for purpose. We will continue to listen to the evidence emerging in from the Inquiry and await the judge’s ultimate recommendation – but it is already clear that action is required now and that is what we are doing.”
This falls directly in line with how we currently achieve compliance. The addition of sampling each product before testing means the whole process is documented and witnessed by a third party who passes all this information to the test lab in a pre-test verification form.
This document proves that the product sent to the lab to be tested is what we say it is and if there are any discrepancies these are amended and documented. This gives the whole process of testing transparency and traceability. By choosing to test to the more stringent European test standards to achieve over and above the required level of performance solidifies our commitment to producing consistent, compliant products. The adoption of these methods can ensure the safety of residents and the confidence of clients that these fire rated doorsets, if they are ever called into action, will perform to protect lives and property.
The government’s overhaul of the regulation of construction products and the new fire safety bill is good news for compliant companies. Specifying doorsets as a fully compliant, tested and engineered product is the future of the industry with lots of companies already switching to get the proof that they need by using a 3rd party accredited company with their own primary test evidence to prove beyond doubt compliance.