Five questions MHCLG needs to answer about its new building safety regulation policy

04.07.2019
News
Question mark and question words illustration

LABC has carried out initial research into the consequences of allowing Approved Inspectors into the regulatory process as MHCLG proposes.

Here are five consequences and questions the MHCLG now need to answer:

1. Continued conflict of interests

Approved Inspectors can work with developers on other sites not in scope, so when assigned by the regulator to an in-scope site by the same developer, how will they provide unbiased advice? How can the BSR (Building Safety Regulator) prevent them being influenced by their existing and potential future commercial relationships?

2. Private sector cherry picking

What happens if an Approved Inspector won't take on projects requiring high compliance inputs because of low profit levels? Will local authorities be forced to pick up this work and the costs? Will the BSR have power to prevent private companies simply cherry-picking only profitable commercial projects?

3. Approved Inspector indemnity insurance failures

A number of Approved Inspectors have recently failed to renew Professional Indemnity insurance and some have been operating without it for some time, making these projects ultra vires. New professional indemnity insurance is being issued only with increased restrictions, so how can AIs regulate HRRBs (high rise residential buildings) without proper insurance? Is the government going to subsidise the private sector, underwrite a commercial enterprise's decision, or dumb down the insurance requirements that protect property owners and leaseholders?

4. Differences in professional standards between AIs and LABC

How will the regulator bring the lower standards and practices of CICAIR/ACAI up to the higher LABC audited standards, with ISO and UKAS backed quality management? In the new safety first regime Approved Inspectors' peer reviewed audit and self-declared competencies, designed in the 1980s, will be insufficient.

5. Consistency in regulatory assessment

How will the BSR allocate work and ensure consistency between regulatory assessments and inspections without adding degrees of complexity to an already complex system? New processes will be needed to control commercial pressures and to ensure consistency in application of compliance. Differences between private sector consultants who offer 'service levels' and local authority surveyors who regulate will need to be ironed out. No other country in the world has created a dual regulatory system.

Read more about LABC's response to the MHCLG consultation

 

Comments

Revesions from AEDIS Approved Inspectors and competency levels

Submitted 3 years 1 month ago

At Dartford Borough Council we are receiving a considerable number of reversions of AEDIS jobs following the collapse of their business. From the jobs we have already received details of it is clear that the level of experience of the inspecting surveyors was poor, with foundations being agreed from photographs on what we believe to be fill ground and many other problems and possible contraventions coming to light as site inspections have not been made and builders told to carry on and just take photographs.

Hopefully these practices are not common across the private approved inspectors (AI's) industry, however, it does raise a question regarding the level of expertise and experience of AI's and their ability to properly regulate construction work when their competency is unaudited and the sector is self regulating.

Smoke Control

Submitted 3 years ago

Very disappointed despite hours of testimony and evidence from Grenfell "Smoke" hardly features in the new ADB and the Hackitt recommendations. A real opportunity lost to build and enforce a safer future for all and set the standard for others to follow.

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