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Housing minister pressed for response on product testing review

product testing review
Lee Rowley was asked about the progress made by the government on building safety by a select committee on 17 January (Image: Parliament TV)

The chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, Clive Betts, has written to housing minister Lee Rowley asking for “clarity on the timeline” for the long-awaited government’s response to the construction product testing review.

The letter is a follow-up to the recent committee session on fire safety, where Rowley gave oral evidence.

During the session, Rowley told MPs that the government’s response to the product testing review would come “soon”, but did not provide a specific timeline.

He also said that rather than a single document with a full response, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) might publish the response in multiple stages.

In his four-page letter, Betts asked for clarity on the timeline for the publication of the government’s response, the introduction of the draft regulations, and the implementation of the reformed construction product testing regime.

Betts also said that the committee preferred the government to publish a recommendation-by-recommendation response in a single document.

He wrote: “This would provide clarity as to how the Independent Review’s recommendations are to be implemented through reforms to construction product testing regulations and ensure that the reviewers’ hard work is not lost.

“It would also offer the public reassurance that you have fully considered the review’s recommendations.”

In their 174-page review published last April, Paul Morrell and Anneliese Day criticised the current product testing system and said that “many standards are outdated, inconsistent or non-existent”.

‘Publish full response urgently’

Betts also asked Rowley in his letter to publish the 2020 research on 3,000 construction product standards associated with testing commissioned by DLUHC by 19 February – the same day Rowley is asked to reply to this letter.

Betts said: “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 but, almost 10 months on from publication, the government is still to respond.

“It’s important the government publishes a full response urgently to kick start dialogue with industry and help ensure that the fire risk of materials and products used in buildings is minimised effectively.”

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