Three and a half years after the Grenfell tragedy, two new developments are taking place to help the UK construction industry regain public trust.
Last month, housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced a new regulator for construction products has been set up. The new watchdog will not only be able to ban building products that are deemed unsafe, but also have powers to prosecute companies flouting regulations, with offences punished using fines and even imprisonment. The body will also have the ability to conduct its own product testing to investigate concerns.
The announcement followed some of the disturbing revelations of ‘dishonest practice by some manufacturers’ that have come to light through the Grenfell Inquiry. As Jenrick stated, this included ‘deliberate attempts to game the system and rig the results of safety tests’.
At the same time, the Construction Products Association (CPA) has looked at a different side of the industry – marketing communications – in the wake of the issues raised in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report. The CPA has developed a new, proposed Product Information Code as a benchmark for how products are marketed and product information disseminated by manufacturers.
Now in consultation phase, the code represents two years of open debate and engagement from different levels of the supply chain. It consists of eleven clauses, and has been published for the industry to review and respond to the proposal.
The TP Group welcomes both launches as important steps in the right direction for an industry whose reputation has been damaged. These will help anchor best practice and ensure serious issues are addressed appropriately and as an industry, construction regains credibility in the public eye.