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Government announces new construction products regulator

By Jordan Marshal  l  January 2021 Building

Housing secretary says position set up in response to ‘dishonest practice by some manufacturers’ highlighted by Grenfell Inquiry

A new regulator set up to monitor the safety of different construction products has been announced by housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

The regulator for construction products will have the power to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecute any companies who flout the rules on product safety.

Jenrick said the decision followed testimony to the Grenfell Inquiry that shone a light on the “dishonest practice” by some manufacturers of construction products.

He said: “The Grenfell Inquiry has heard deeply disturbing allegations of malpractice by some construction product manufacturers and their employees and of the weaknesses of the present product testing regime.

“We are establishing a national regulator to address these concerns and a review into testing to ensure our national approach is fit for purpose. We will continue to listen to the evidence emerging in the Inquiry and await the judge’s ultimate recommendation – but it is already clear that action is required now and that is what we are doing.”   …. Read More >>

Government confirms no threat to shut London sites

By Grant Prior  l  January 2021 Construction Enquirer

Government officials have confirmed there are no plans to shut construction sites in London amid fears over crowded tube trains in the capital.

Pictures of overcrowded station platforms published late last week sparked covid safety fears.

Then reports emerged on Monday of an “emergency summit” by construction trade bodies to head off a perceived threat of site closures even though builders only made up a fraction of the commuting crowds.

But a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The closure of construction sites is not being considered.

“As the Business Secretary has made clear, the construction sector and its supply chain are able to operate during this national lockdown by implementing our comprehensive Covid-secure guidance to keep site workers safe.”  …. Read More >>

Duo wins design for £400m concrete roads renewal plan

By Aaron Morby  l  January 2021 Construction Enquirer

Highways England has awarded the first of three multi-million pounds contracts to revitalise concrete road surfaces across the country.

Over the next four years, Highways England will work with engineering consultants Aecom and Atkins to provide design, supervision and project management services on a nationwide programme to repair or replace the concrete surface on motorways and major A roads.

The project is part of a £400m programme to improve the quality of 600 miles of existing concrete roads, with this Design Framework contact worth £39m.

Most of England’s concrete roads were built in the 1960s and 70s – meaning many are now beyond their original design life and are carrying up to 25% more traffic than they were designed to.

Depending on the condition of the roads, some will be repaired to extend their life and others will be fully replaced.

Highways England will award a further two contacts this year under the concrete roads programme.  …. Read More >>

House building bounce back hailed by minister

By Grant Prior  l  January 2021 Construction Enquirer

Housing completions almost tripled during the third quarter of last year as the industry bounced back from the first covid lockdown.

Latest government statistics released today show 45,000 homes were completed in the period – a 185% increase on the previous quarter.

Starts also more than doubled with an 111% increase to 35,710.

The government said: “Today’s figures reflect the housing and construction industry’s resilience and measures they have taken to keep building sites open, in line with public health advice.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick added: “We extended planning permission deadlines and flexible working hours on sites so that builders, architects and developers have been able to continue working, while following public health advice. …. Read More >>