Research reveals extent of Building Control compliance

Published:  22 March, 2012

Research presented to the Building Regulations minister shows that the majority of contractors support inspection by Building Control officers across England and Wales.

The studies of Building Control activity in England & Wales cover the work of Local Authority Building Control and Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors members.

Stunell said: “I very much welcome the building control industry coming together to rise to the challenge and undertake these two timely and important pieces of work. The reports and their findings will inform discussions as we look to shape the building regulations and building control system for 2013 and beyond."

The first survey recorded the extent of compliance instructions issued by building control surveyors, and the second measured customer opinion.

The levels of compliance activity undertaken by both public and private sector building control surveyors are higher than previously estimated. On an annual basis, just under 5 million instructions would be issued to change designs or construction in order to achieve compliance. with building regulations.

The BCA said breaking these monthly totals down by each Part of the Regulations shows that claims building control surveyors only enforce 'life threatening contraventions' are not true. Part L is the third highest source of interventions, and is close to the level of activity on fire and structure. There is also a very good distribution of compliance actions across all areas including Part E covering acoustics, Part P electrical work and Part N glazing, where alternative compliance routes should have minimised interventions.

Disappointingly, Part M, covering Access, is still an area creating relatively high levels of compliance interventions despite continuing publicity and campaigns by groups and charities representing disabled people.

The compliance research also looked at the importance of these interventions and established over two-thirds would cause serious immediate or long term problems if left unchanged.

The second research project measured customer opinions of building control, with a sample of users of building control ranging from small specialist contractors to national PLCs, and local architects to top 100 firms.

The results showed 92% believe they benefit from an independent third party service. Almost half of those responding had no issues with the current system. Even when asked whether their own company would be better off with self-certification, 80% said “no” and that they preferred external inspection. On this point 94% felt that the end-customer was reassured by external building control involvement and 70% felt that an independent check reduced risk by providing expert peer review.