The Independent Review of the Construction Product Testing Regime by Paul Morrell OBE and Anneliese Day KC has been published, identifying any weaknesses in the system and recommending improvements.
The review was commissioned in April 2021 after evidence from the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry 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.
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.
Furthermore, 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’.
CPI Ltd, the independent organisation set up to administer the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI), welcomed the publication of the report.
The report references the CCPI multiple times and sets out recommendations to government and industry on its uptake. These can be found in Recommendation 15 of the report, which state:
15.1 Industry to work together to encourage take-up of the Code for Construction Product Information, in terms of manufacturers signing up and specifiers/procurers taking note of signing up in product selection.
15.2 Government and industry to consider whether and how the Code and third-party certification could best work together to achieve their shared objectives;
15.3 Government and industry to consider how the Code could perform a recognised self-regulatory function comparable to the Code of Advertising Practice.
Commenting on the publication, David Topliffe, chair of CPI, said: “It’s wonderful to see CCPI receive mention in this report. It’s clear from this Review that the Code has an important role to play in the wider framework of review and reform underway in the sector. The government can rely on it to achieve its objective of driving higher standards in building safety.”
Steve Marr, Interim CEO of CPI Ltd, added: “I’m delighted to see the Code referenced in this Review from Paul Morrell OBE and Anneliese Day KC. The publication of this report marks an important moment for the industry and I’m confident the Code will support manufacturers of construction products on their journey towards culture change in the way in which Product Information is presented. I look forward to working with the team and manufacturers to helping ensure uptake of the Code from industry is strong.”