The government is committed to ensuring that the system for testing construction products is effective and inspires public and market confidence.
To identify any potential weaknesses in the system and make recommendations for improvement, the government has commissioned an independent review of the system for testing construction products and has appointed Paul Morrell OBE and Anneliese Day QC to lead it.
The independent review will undertake a critical assessment of the system for testing and certifying construction products. It will examine how the current system can be strengthened, to provide confidence that construction products are safe and perform as labelled and marketed.
The review panel will submit a report to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government later this year.
Paul Morrell OBE (Chair of the review)
Anneliese Day QC
Terms of Reference
1. Evidence from the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry has shone a light on cases where construction products that were tested did not represent those placed on the market, and where the combination of products tested was inaccurately described in the test report.
2. Other testing irregularities uncovered since 2017 involved cladding and fire doors, leading among other Government interventions to a complete withdrawal from the market of all composite fire doors. In these cases, the products sold did not match those that were tested and certified, and flawed test evidence was then used by manufacturers to support claims that their products were suitable for use in high-rise residential buildings when this was not the case.
3. Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety identified weaknesses in the system for construction product testing, while acknowledging that ‘[t]he system that covers product testing, labelling and marketing is at least as complicated as the entire regulatory system’, and that ‘significant further work is needed […] to create a comprehensive regime that ensures that all products used in construction are properly tested and certified’.
4. The government is committed to ensuring that the testing regime for construction products is effective and inspires public and market confidence. On 19 January, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that government would commission an independent review of the regime under which construction products are tested, certified and brought to market in the UK.
5. The independent review will identify systemic issues with how construction products are tested, whether on a stand-alone basis or in assemblies, and how test results are used to manage the safety risks that those products pose, and recommend ways to address those issues. The review will answer the question: ‘How should the UK system for testing the safety of construction products and the use of data from the system be strengthened, to inspire confidence that those products are safe and perform as labelled and marketed when incorporated into construction work?“
6. The review will do this by:
a. Mapping the system for testing, certifying, marketing, selling, re-testing and recalling construction products, including the legal framework under which this happens.
b. Considering evidence from a variety of sources and assess what does/ could go wrong within this system.
c. Recommending how this system should be strengthened, taking into account wider government and industry reforms and any economic or practical implications of implementing the recommendations.
7. The independent review will prioritise making recommendations relating to weaknesses in the system which, if unresolved, could expose citizens to unnecessary safety risks. The review is not limited in scope to construction products intended for use in high rise residential buildings. The system for testing products not intended for use in construction is outside the scope of this review.
8. The review will consider the respective roles of government, regulators, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), conformity assessment bodies, test houses and manufacturers. The review will seek evidence from these parties and any other stakeholders and experts it sees fit to engage with.
9. The independent review will be led by a panel comprising:
a. Paul Morrell OBE (Chair of the review);
b. Anneliese Day QC.
10. The review panel will be supported by officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and from the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which the government recently announced would be the national regulator for construction product safety.
11. The review will run in parallel and fully cooperate with the work of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry headed by Sir Martin Moore-Bick. The review will not be involved in apportioning responsibility for the events that led to the Grenfell Tower fire.
12. The review panel will submit a report to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in Summer 2021 and government will publish the report and a response to it as soon as practicable.