HAS/BCA Memorandum of Understanding agreed in 2014
HAS/BCA Memorandum of Understanding agreed in 2014
Both membership organisations represented at the Building Control Alliance (BCA), Local Authority Building Control for public sector (LABC) and the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors for the private sector (ACAI), are working together to explain the performance standards expected of all building control bodies in England & Wales.
The Building Regulations provide a flexible set of national standards for building work covering all projects from major new commercial developments and new homes to extensions and home alterations. They are designed to ensure the safety and health of the buildings users, boost energy efficiency and improve accessibility for everyone. Building control is the process of ensuring these regulations are met and this task is undertaken by local authority building control teams or private sector approved inspectors.
However, because a competitive dual system of building control exists in England and Wales (public and private sectors), successive Government Ministers in England and Wales have maintained an advisory group to measure performance. The Building Control Performance Standards Advisory Group (BCPSAG) sets and measures the standard of service provided by these building control bodies each year.
A new article describing the performance standards applied to these organisations and explaining how these affect customers, is now available on the BCA web site and also LABC’s and ACAI’s. The article explains how customers can use these standards as a way of evaluating, short-listing and comparing building control bodies for their own work.
Paul Wilkins, Chair of ACAI welcomes the new standards and the explanation of their value to customers. “There are a great many building control bodies in both sectors and it is important that customers understand how to compare them and how to judge which provider has the competencies, resources and management systems to deliver a really worthwhile service.”
Paul Everall CBE, Chief Executive of LABC, says that the whole building control industry needs to explain its value to customers. “The problem with the building control profession is that it is still maturing from the introduction of full competition back in the 90s. It still needs balancing with a focus on quality and competencies. Therefore, our joint efforts working under the BCA to support BCPSAG, have at least defined how to measure the elements any good building control body should have, whether in a local authority or private sector company. Customers have no choice and must use a building control service. Therefore, it makes sense that they should find a good quality provider. Our explanation of how customers can use the BCPSAG standards to evaluate providers is an important first step.”
The new incoming chairperson is now Paul Wilkins.
A collaborative group representing electricians has published new Guidance outlining the skills and competences required for individuals to carry out electrical installation work within dwellings in England and Wales.
Please see attached release.
Chairs Update – 23 October 2012 – 23 January 2013
With the exception of the on-going representation at the Housing Standards Review Groups, the past 3-months have been less hectic than during the summer quarter of 2012. consequently this update is a little thin on substance
BCA attendance at HSRG meetings – DCLG, London
I met with other HSRG reps from across industry and DCLG on 13 Nov and 20 Dec 2012 at DCLG offices.
The next meeting will be on Weds 23 Jan at 2pm – hence the reason for bringing the BCA meeting forward to 10am.
I shall provide an overview of the work of the HSRG at the meeting, but am under DCLG rules not to divulge any detailed discussions of the Working Groups and current thinking at this time.
Technical Guidance updates
The updates from the BCA TWG have been submitted to the web administrator for inclusion onto the website.
The guidance notes are as follows;
The work carried out by Alison Pipes and Kevin Dawson to amend the IN Protocol and Commencement Policy has been completed and issued for inclusion on the BCA website.
I have received a further two mediation cases.
We responded to a request from DCLG to offer advice on what, if anything, needs to be retained or modified for the future to make the TP’s fit-for-purpose.
I received an enquiry about the guidance relating to gas boiler flue installations in timber frame premises. The enquirer also sought a recommendation from the BCA of an installer.
Subject: Gas boiler flue in timber constructed flat
I have a boiler flue which may have to be re-routed horizontally through the rear wall in a timber constructed building. I have been told by the original builders that this is not an advisable thing to do and reading the BCA article on flues in timber constructed buildings I see the fitter has to be very careful to get it right…….some fitters not aware of the regulations.
How can I be sure that the job can be done 100% safely ie. are you able to recommend the right people for the job? (Bristol area)
Thanks for any help,
The following response was provided.
Thank you for your recent email enquiry.
Your assessment of re-routing a flue in a timber-frame property is correct in that it can be complicated by the fact that the walls comprise combustible materials and added precautions should be taken to ensure the structure is protected from the high temperatures that can be created in the flue pipe.
The BCA is not able to recommend contractors but I can direct you to the Gas Safe web site, who should have a register of appropriately qualified installers across the country.
In some instances Gas Safe installers can self-certify an installation, but if you are particularly concerned, you could submit a Notice to your local council in order that the work can be independently assessed by a 3rd party Building Control Surveyor. You may wish to discuss your concerns with your chosen Building Control provider in advance of the work commencing – to identify what you particularly wish to have inspected.
I hope this has been of some assistance to you.
Wayne Timperley BSc(Hons) FRICS
The BCA met at RICS on 24 October and was well represented. Three months seem to have flown by since the last meeting and much has happened since then.
First of all I’d like to apologise for not publishing my update after the 23 July meeting. There was some glitch with uploading this to the website but, better late than never, it’s now included in the website.
At the meeting we welcomed new observers from both DCLG – Sandra Simoni, replacing Tracey Cull and the Welsh Assembly – Colin Blick.
The agenda was full and we managed to get through a great deal of business, which I’ll attempt to expand upon.
The BCA have been approached by various bodies over the past 3-months and I’m pleased that the BCA has been able to respond in a positive and collaborative fashion.
I attended a Zero Carbon Hub (ZCH) led meeting to discuss how industry can ensure that new housing will meet the challenging target of zero carbon by 2020. The ZCH used the meeting as a sounding board with industry about how the perceived gap between design and compliance could be closed. The ZCH took ideas away to present to a meeting with the, then, minister Andrew Stunell, to consider what might be necessary to move this initiative forward.
On 17 September the BCA presented a paper at the Housing Summit 2012 in Birmingham, on the proposed changes to the Building Regulations and possible future direction of regulatory change and the Building Control service. http://www.masonryfirst.com/summitregister2012.asp
The BCA has been approached by DCLG to attend working groups on various topics within the Building Regulations including Access/inclusion and Transitional Provisions improvements. I shall update on these initiatives as the work of the BCA develops.
The work of the Technical Working Group continues and there are new/amended guidance notes posted on the website. These notes are cross-sector and reflect best practice advice to both LA’s and AI’s. I recommend that BCB’s do make themselves familiar with the guidance.
Additionally work is on-going to create/amend guidance in respect of: High rise student accommodation; Low cills and climbable guarding; enclosed balconies; egress from 4-storey houses; the sizing of package sewage treatment plants; and air-tightness testing.
The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) has approached the BCA to work with them on developing guidance on how non-Part P registered electricians (albeit qualified and experienced electricians) can undertake notifiable installations, without the need for BCB’s to double check their work and allowing for a reduction in charges to occur where suitable conditions exist.
DCLG are taking a keen interest in the work of the BCA TWG and it is their intent, where possible, to attend future meetings.
The BCA is now a member of the Fire Sector Federation and we will be presenting a paper at the FSF’s first public event, the FSF Parliamentary Seminar, on 27 November. http://www.firesectorfederation.co.uk/news/events/.
There has only been one mediation case in the past 3-months, relating to the validity of a rejection of an Initial Notice; on the grounds of there not having been provided a suitable site location plan. The BCA mediation panel considered that the ground for rejection was not valid. Details of this and past mediation decisions can be found on the website. http://www.buildingcontrolalliance.org/downloads/
The Building Control Performance Standards Advisory Group (BCPSAG) have approached the BCA asking if it would be possible for the BCA to web-host their webpages. Discussions between the BCA and BCPSAG are positive and an announcement will be made on any developments in connection with this initiative. http://bcpsag.wetpaint.com/.
Colin Blick from the Welsh Assembly provided the meeting (by teleconferencing) with an update on the status of the Welsh Part L and their residential fire suppression initiative.
The Part L consultation for Wales ended on 23 October 2012. Consultee feedback appears to have been welcoming of the Welsh proposals. The guidance documents will remain broadly similar to the English versions i.e: four parts L1A&B and L2A&B. The style of guidance may be altered and L1A will be a trial for a new format, with the other parts following suit, if the trial is well received. Part L1A is, in Wales, being targeted to come into force on 1 January 2015. The Welsh Parts L1B, L2A&B are targeted to be brought into force on 1 June 2014.
The Welsh Part L will place greater emphasis on fabric insulation and there will be an element of prescription in providing renewable technologies (no trading off between higher fabric or service performances). Consequential Improvements will be applied to existing buildings with floor areas below 1000m2 – including dwellings. Conservatories, to remain fully exempt, must not have any heating or cooling – amongst the other criteria normally applied. http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/planning/buildingregspartl/?lang=en
Work on the Welsh regulations for residential fire suppression (including non-domestic premises with sleeping accommodation – such as care homes etc) are being targeted to be in force by September 2013 and Arup Fire have been appointed to undertake work on how the standards/regulations will fit with current technology and Welsh legislation. http://wales.gov.uk/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2012/sprinklers/?lang=en
The meeting was informed that, following a recent meeting of the Consortium of European Building Control (CEBC), there has been raised concerns by one member state that there has been little take-up (approx. 2%) of the structural Eurocodes. The CEBC meeting was informed that the perceived reason for the poor take-up was the complexity of the application of the Eurocodes and the additional time, training and costs that occur as a consequence.
The BCA is aware that, in the last consultation of Part A – this year, it was a proposal to refer to Eurocodes as a means of demonstrating compliance. The BCA is to keep a watching brief on the European scene, to determine if the matter is wider than the one state.
The next meeting of the BCA will be held on 23 January 2013 and will be the last to be chaired by RICS.
The BCA secretariat will transfer to LABC for 2013/14 and I shall give an update on the changes to the secretariat after the January meeting.
In the meantime (and I know it’s a little premature) I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween, safe bonfire night, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Wayne Timperley BSc(Hons) FRICS
Chair – Building Control Alliance
On Wednesday 25 April the first BCA meeting – under the RICS secretariat – was held. Those of you familiar with the history of the BCA will note that this isn’t the first time that RICS have chaired the Alliance. It was in 2007/08 that the BCA was first brought together and it was RICS then who held the secretariat – chaired by David McCullogh. Since then all the representative bodies: LABC, ACAI, ABE and CIOB have taken their turn in acting as the BCA secretariat – we’ve now come full circle.
As a relative newcomer to the BCA I have to say that I find this to be an exciting challenge and look forward to working with all the BCA board members, those who represent the BCA on both the technical and mediation panels as well as meeting and working with partners and stakeholders in government and industry. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the outgoing chair Kenton May and secretary Kevin Dawson for all their hard work over the last year, during the CIOB’s term of office. It cannot be understated the amount of time and effort that it takes to organise and maintain the continuity and consistency of the BCA’s work.
As you’ll see from Kenton’s update and the soon to be published Annual report the last year has been particularly hectic, with the work carried out with BCPSAG, the Compliance surveys and the recent consultations of the Building Regulations and Building Control system, not to mention the various best practise and technical guides and mediation cases reviewed by the various panels.
The work of the BCA will continue and I trust that ministers, civil servants and service users will be reassured that the BCA is committed to its mission statement of providing ‘one voice for professional standards of building control and service’.
At the time of writing the BCA is putting together the finishing touches to its responses to the government’s consultations on Building Control and the Building Regulations amendments to guidance and this will be ready for the 27 April deadline.
Mediation cases are under scrutiny and the twelve members of the panel have been kept on their toes with some challenging cases – details of the decisions can be reviewed on the website.
Following the finalisation of the consultation, the technical working group will continue with their work in developing cross-party guidance – agreed by the public and private sector advisors. As a flavour we hope to shortly publish best practise on the application of fire safety guidance for the construction of residential buildings over 30m high. We have also asked the working group to review the guidance relating to FD20 fire doors used in domestic premises, also the application of multi-foil insulation systems, and the application of the Construction Products Association guidance for means of escape in domestic loft conversions particularly the option to use extensive fire detection and alarms in conjunction with a fire engineering report.
The BCA recognises the importance of the devolution of power from Westminster to the Welsh Assembly and the likely impact this might have on Building Control professionals working in Wales. As a result the BCA has extended an invitation to representatives in Wales to meet with the BCA to discuss how we might assist with any future changes to either the regulations or system in Wales.
Policy guidance on the Initial Notice protocol is currently being reviewed and I hope to give update on this in the near future. Similarly, guidance is also being drafted in relation to the transfer of projects between BCB’s either AI – AI; LA – AI; or AI – LA. Issues of best practise, arising from mediation cases, will also be closely considered and guidance developed as necessary.
Recent guidance on ground level egress for disabled persons has been developed and circulated to the representative groups, for inclusion in their respective journals and to circulate to their members. A copy of the guide can be downloaded from the BCA website.
Future BCA meetings are planned for July, October, and January and I’m looking forward to these and, in association with the other members of the BCA, contributing towards maintaining the positive collaborative image of the Building Control profession.
Wayne Timperley BSc (Hons) FRICS
Compliance and Customer Surveys
On Wednesday 7th March 2012 the “Compliance Actions” and “Customer Opinion” research surveys were presented to Building Regs Minister Andrew Stunell and twelve civil servants in his team at DCLG. He gave the BCA representatives more time than they were allotted and he thanked the BCA for responding to the need for evidence of building control performance. It was made clear that further research would be added and that the team have been working hard with BCPSAG to bolster its contribution.
Anthony Burd said he would talk with to the BCA about future work including a detailed project covering unreported work, regularisations, reversions and prosecutions.
The BCA representatives felt that the meeting was positive and the Minister and the DCLG team were obviously pleased to see cooperation between LABC and ACAI through the BCA forum.
Both the research projects are available on the BCA website. In addition, the research projects will be sent direct to key people within the construction and building control industry.
Please refer to the Press Release for briefing information.
BCPSAG/BCA Building Control Performance Surveys
The same day a second presentation was made to Building Control Performance & Standards Advisory Group (BCPSAG). Again the response was very positive. BCPSAG will be adopting both pieces of research as Building Control Performance Indication (BCPI) evidence and there was discussion on repeating the surveys annually or periodically, on a sampled basis, to enable gain annual insights into the performance of the Building Control industry.
At this meeting, the proposed new BCPI questions, previously accepted “in principle” by BCA members, were agreed and will be used in the next BCPI survey in May.
It was agreed by BCPSAG and BCA attendees to retain some simple questions on human resources in the forthcoming BCPI survey and these were agreed in outline. The proposals involve reference to staff and qualifications.
This information is very important to gain greater understanding of building control industry staffing issues for use at both local and national level. This information additionally enables informed debate for the defence of our industry, can influence training and illustrate opportunities and direction within the industry.
Red Tape Challenge
The BCA responded to the Red Tape Challenge stating that the current Building control system is fit for purpose and should not be radically changed.
Building Regulation Approved Document Consultation Documents
The BCA members are actively involved with the consultation and proposals for changes to both the building control processes and guidance documentation, the intention is to send a co-ordinated response within the various timescales.
There has been several further peer review Mediation cases principally involving the submission of Initial Notices, with this in mind the BCA is reviewing the content of the existing Guidance Note accessed on this website. The current edition remains valid until any revisions are completed.
The outcomes of the BCA Mediation Cases are available as additional guidance on the website to use to avoid further mediation and enable projects to keep to programme.
The next BCA meeting is scheduled for 25th April 2012.
My year’s tenure as the BCA Chairman on behalf of the CIOB has passed in a blur. As an Alliance we have achieved much, as reported in the Annual Report for 2011/2012, available soon. I wish to thank BCA members for their support and wish Wayne Timperley (RICS) best wishes as the new BCA Chairman for the coming year.
Kenton May MSc, BSc(Hons.) FCIOB, MRICS.
BCA Chairman’s Introduction
First of all Happy New Year, we at the BCA are looking forward to a very busy 2012.
Since my last update it has been a busy few months. I am keen to share some of the subjects of discussion, BCA progress and successes that have been achieved during this time.
In the pursuit of a proactive approach to professional Building Control, the BCA have attended various events and discussions concerning Building Regulatory and other matters including;
There have additionally been further cases that have successfully utilised the BCA Mediation Scheme for dispute resolution.
The next BCA meeting is scheduled for 25th January 2012.
Kenton May MSC, BSc(Hons.) FCIOB, MRICS.