Paul Morrell and Anneliese Day QC have been appointed to lead an independent review of the system for testing construction products.
Morrell, who will chair the independent panel, previously served as the UK government’s chief construction advisor (2009–12) and is a former senior partner at construction consultancy Davis Langdon.
Day is a legal expert in the construction sector, having received a wide range of prestigious awards including ‘Construction and Energy Silk’ of the Year 2018 at the Legal 500 UK Awards.
The review, announced earlier this year, will examine how to strengthen the current system for testing construction products to provide confidence that these materials are safe and perform as marketed.
The review forms part of the government’s ongoing programme of work to reform and strengthen building safety regulation and comes after testimony to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry exposed evidence of testing irregularities and potential gaming of the system by some manufacturers.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has heard deeply concerning suggestions that some construction product manufacturers may have gamed the system for testing these materials and compromised the safety of residents. We are taking these allegations very seriously and will await the Inquiry’s final recommendations - but it is clear that action is needed now to ensure products used on buildings always meet the highest safety standards.”
The panel will engage with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their views on how the system of safety testing of construction products could be improved and will report later this year with recommendations.
The government has already announced that a new National Regulator for Construction Products will be established within the Office of Product Safety and Standards and be given powers to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk; and prosecute and fine any company that breaks the rules.
The announcement follows recommendations in the Dame Judith Hackitt Review that industry and the government must ensure that construction products are properly tested, certified, labelled and marketed.