RoSPA has welcomed the establishment of a new national regulator of house building materials, which was announced by the Government yesterday (January 19).
The regulator will be introduced following testimony from the Grenfell Inquiry, and will have the power to remove products from the market if they present safety risks, as well as to prosecute companies flouting the rules.
Before the Covid pandemic, our homes accounted for 40% of the accidental injuries that were treated by hard-pressed NHS hospital Emergency Departments. RoSPA has been campaigning to make new-build homes safer – for those who live there throughout the life of the building – through its Safer by design initiative, which provides a framework for “designing out” common household accidents.
The charity’s chief executive Errol Taylor said: “We are delighted by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick’s announcement, which implements recommendations from the Dame Judith Hackitt report on building regulations, and recognises some of the issues highlighted through the Grenfell Inquiry.
“We have been doing a lot of work with the housebuilding sector in producing our Safer by design initiative, which encourages developers to adopt zero- and low-cost designs and materials to reduce the number and severity of accidental injuries. Having a new national regulator in place will certainly help us meet this aim.”
The move to incorporate the national regulator within the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), with additional funding, is also welcome. RoSPA has been working with the product regulator since its inception on a range of safety issues.
Errol added: “This announcement demonstrates the value the country places in the pragmatic, evidence-based approach to safety that is taken by OPSS, which is incredibly important for keeping people safe from potentially dangerous products. RoSPA uses a similar, evidence-based approach for its own charitable activities.
“We understand that OPSS will be seeking to address the culture within the construction industry, aiming to take effective regulatory action – backed by strong enforcement powers – against weaknesses and poor practices to protect communities. We look forward to working with them on this new programme of work.”
Safer by design has been produced in partnership with housebuilders and other industry experts, with the first homes developed in line with its standards expected to be unveiled later this year.
For more information, see www.rospa.com/built-environment