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The Future of Building Control

This CLG consultation affecting E&W was published on 18 March 2008 following on from the ‘minded-to-paper' that the Government published in March 2007 which set out the key areas for reform that we thought had the potential to address the main weaknesses in the system and ensure that it is fit for purpose now and in the future. The changes proposed in this document are designed to address weaknesses in the current system, as identified by users of the system and the building control industry itself.  They are intended to both improve compliance with the Building Regulations and further reduce the burdens associated with the system. The consultation covers five principle areas:

  • developing a vision for building control

  • establishing a better approach to the way we deliver regulations and guidance

  • modernising inspection and enforcement

  • providing alternative routes to compliance

  • enabling improved performance and capacity

CIBSE commented on the minded to paper of March 07 and supported competence schemes and resources for Building Control Bodies as the key issues. The need for second tier documents was highlighted and problems with enforcement of compliance. Of particular urgency was the failure of compliance in energy performance - Part L. CIBSE called for greater commitment by CLG to the development of third party schemes, expanding the scope of the current competent persons system to allow third party checking and to enable certification of competence throughout the supply chain.

CIBSE supported e-enabling, restating minor concerns expressed earlier and recommended that water should be included in the vision statement. CIBSE also supported the introduction of a 3 yearly review of the regulations in principle, but continued to express serious concern about the level of enforcement on Part L, the ability of BCOs to enforce compliance and the resultant increasing need for risk based regulation and enforcement. Approved Inspector schemes needed to remain robust and on a par with BCBs. Paramount was the need to improve the operation and effectiveness of the Competent Persons regime.

CIBSE stressed the clear need to distinguish between the Requirements of the Regulations and the Guidance in the Approved Documents, supporting an evolution of the structure of the Regulations supported by "Technical Guidance" - the material is technical and it is guidance with a need to address situations where the "guidance" is only meaningful if it is taken as a requirement. For example, for Part L, some of the details of the compliance checklist in the Appendix to ADL2A are really requirements. The impact of free availability of third tier documents on cost to providers of these documents and the ‘hosting' of web versions of such documents was also raised.