Chair of Levelling Up Committee seeks government action on fire safety product testing

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Committee seeks government response on construction products testing

Clive Betts, chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee, has formally requested a comprehensive response from Lee Rowley, Minister for Local Government and Building Safety, regarding the Independent Review of the Construction Products Testing Regime.

This request underscores the urgency for governmental action in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, highlighting ongoing concerns over fire safety and construction product reliability.

The review, initiated as a direct response to the Grenfell Tower fire, aims to address critical issues surrounding product safety in the construction sector.

Government’s delayed response to crucial review

Despite the publication of the review’s report on 20 April 2023, the government has yet to issue its response, prompting the committee’s intervention.

This delay has raised questions about the effectiveness of the current approach to ensuring the safety of construction products and materials.

The committee’s recent sessions with Minister Lee Rowley and the review’s co-authors, Paul Morrell OBE and Anneliese Day KC, have further emphasised the need for a swift governmental reply to address the recommendations made in the report.

Urgent call for action and clarification

Betts expressed concern over the delay, stating: “Later this year, we will mark seven years since the tragedy of Grenfell.

“Fire safety and the efforts to make buildings safer for people to live in are crucially important.

“The government established this review to look at issues of product safety and, almost 10 months on from publication, the government is still to respond.”

He urged the government to provide a detailed, recommendation-by-recommendation response to facilitate dialogue with the industry and ensure the effective minimisation of fire risk from construction materials and products.

Additional inquiries from the committee

The committee’s correspondence also seeks clarity on the application of harmonised EU regulations on fire doors in the UK.

Additionally, Betts pressed the government to fulfil its commitment to publish a comprehensive research report on over 3,000 construction product standards related to testing, a promise made by Minister Rowley in his oral evidence on 17 January.

IFSJ comment

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee’s request for a detailed government response to the Independent Review of the Construction Products Testing Regime is a pivotal step towards enhancing fire safety in buildings.

By advocating for a transparent and actionable response, the committee aims to initiate necessary reforms that will strengthen the regulation of construction products.

This action underscores the importance of accountability and rigorous safety standards in the wake of tragedies like Grenfell Tower, highlighting the need for ongoing vigilance and improvement in fire safety protocols.

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