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- By Andy Smith
A construction industry working group has launched 11 key recommendations for the future oversight and regulation of building control bodies and professionals.
LABC and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have been involved in working up the proposals, following discussion with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The plans for reform of the building control sector form
part of the Building Safety Programme and respond to Dame Judith Hackitt’s
Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.
The 11 recommendations are expected to serve as a starting
point for future dialogue with government and with the Building Safety Regulator
on how best to protect the public interest.
The 11 recommendations are:
Government should work with the building control sector to identify in detail systemic and operational issues which need to be addressed to optimise the performance of the building control sector in the execution of its duties.
The main objective of day-to-day oversight of the building control sector should be clearly and tightly defined in terms of ensuring that building control professionals and building control bodies are competent and diligent in undertaking their building control functions.
The regulatory functions should be focused primarily on: new and ongoing registration of building control bodies and building control professionals; auditing building control bodies against robust administrative performance standards and technical decision making and compliance with the Building Regulations; addressing concerns and complaints against those professionals and bodies who are registered and sanctioning where necessary.
Oversight should be delegated to a separate, independent body with appropriate statutory powers to deliver its remit effectively but on a par with other registration bodies where health and safety are a prime concern.
The governance and operation of the designated body must be to the highest standards of probity in order to ensure it is trusted by the public and the sector it regulates. It should take into account all of the considerations set out in this report relating to proportionality, accountability, consistency, targeting, independence, financial impartiality and propriety and conflict of interest.
Building control professionals should work to a single unified competence framework developed by industry.
The Building Safety Regulator and Designated Body should adopt and maintain a single code of conduct applicable to all building control bodies and building control professionals based on the code of conduct developed by this working group.
Subject to wider consultation:
a) the proposed roles and work type matrix should be adopted by government, the Building Safety Regulator and industry as the standard descriptor for levels of competence of building control professionals.
MHCLG should review the Building Act 1984 with a view to using the Building Safety Bill to transfer legislation relating to the operation of building control bodies from primary legislation into Secondary Legislation.
Operational and legislative requirements and procedures for all building control bodies should be reviewed as part of wider reform of the Building Act 1984 and Building Regulations 2010 to deliver a simpler, unified process encapsulated in a single set of regulations.
Once regulatory provisions are agreed, government and the Building Safety Regulator should convene a working group to manage communications and develop a deliverable strategy to support the sector’s transition. This strategy should include:
a) A “grandfathering approach to bring building control bodies and professionals within the system at the earliest opportunity to bring them within the remit of the designated body.
b) A realistic timescale for audit and validation based on analysis of capacity.
c) A risk-based approach to validating and auditing those on the register with those inspecting higher risk and more complex buildings given priority.
In a statement, the CIOB said: “We see all the recommendations as part of a unified strategy for the sector as a whole and we believe they will work best if implemented as a whole. But there is still much to discuss and work through, particularly with the newly established Building Safety Regulator.”
The Future of Building Control Working Group is made up of:
- Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI)
- Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)
- Construction Industry Council (CIC)
- Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register (CICAIR)
- Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
- Local Authority Building Control (LABC)
- National House Building Council (NHBC)
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)