Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Testing and Certification Bodies
The most recent evidence heard by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been from testing and certification bodies. Testing bodies assess products in line with the standards of statutory regulations and certification bodies assess the available data for a product to determine its compliance with those regulations. Certification is given to a product if it is found to be compliant.
The testing and certification bodies that were involved in the Grenfell Tower fire are the National House Building Council (NHBC), the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology (CWCT), the Local Authority Building Control (LABC), the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE). Each body played a vital role in the assessment or certification of the building materials that were used in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.
It is clear from the Grenfell Tower fire that the level of testing and certification of construction products was insufficient and failed to guarantee safety as it was intended to. Some of the bereaved, survivors and residents have argued that the issues that lead to this failure stem from these bodies being private/independent. Private certification bodies are more likely to be incentivised by profit, coupled with the market influence that comes with working with large manufacturers, which can come at the cost of public safety. Bereaved, survivors and residents have also argued that there existed what could be seen as inappropriate relationships between manufacturers and certification bodies which led to preferential treatment of manufacturers during the certification process.
In response to evidence heard during the Inquiry, other cases of testing irregularities, and the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt, the government have commissioned an Independent Review of the Construction Products Testing Regime. This review is expected to tackle the weaknesses within the testing and certification system. The report has not yet been published and there is no expected publication date, but it will be interesting to explore the extent of the recommendations in the report, particularly in light of the evidence currently being heard at the Inquiry. There is no doubt that the current system needs reform.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*