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Modernising and Strengthening Building Control Launched by the UK Government

The Government today launched a major modernisation of the Building Control system with the publication of a paper detailing its vision for how the system can be improved.

The Future for Building Control sets out a package of options that the Government is minded to develop further and invites interested parties to provide suggestions on how reform should proceed. The publication follows detailed discussions with key members of industry on the strengths and weaknesses of the current system, which have highlighted the strong case for reform.

The paper recognises a number of important shortcomings with the current system including the lack of a clear future vision for the purpose of Building Control, the current piecemeal approach to regulatory change and the complexity of guidance. Problems with achieving compliance and with effective enforcement are also highlighted as key areas for action.

Amongst those ideas included in the package are options for:

  • providing greater enforcement powers for local authorities to tackle persistent offenders;

  • further helping with compliance by providing simple customer focused guidance that helps with specific building work or types of problems;

  • moving away from a piecemeal approach to building regulation review and towards a longer fixed-term cycle with planned pauses and a clear indication of future changes; and

  • formulating options for making sure that building control bodies are properly resourced into the future.

Angela Smith, Minister for Building Regulations said:

“There is a clear case for reform of the Building Control System both for industry and for the consumer. Initial talks with stakeholders have proved very helpful in giving Government a steer on the areas we need to modernise to make it as effective and straightforward as it should be.

“We are determined to ensure that we have a Building Control System that is efficient in its purpose to deliver buildings which are not only safe, healthy and accessible but also sustainable and make a direct contribution to tackling climate change. I invite all interested parties to get involved in the debate and offer any other suggestions that will contribute to making a Building Control System fit for the future”.

Michael Finn, chairman of BRAC said:

“The present system of Building Regulation has served us well, but more complex construction techniques and the need to achieve greater energy efficiency mean we need to take a hard look at ways of improving and simplifying the technical guidance and setting milestones for future step changes.

“I welcome this initiative which BRAC wholeheartedly supports and we will work with Ministers to develop a robust system for the future.”

Also published today is study document Achieving Building Standards, which has fed into the Government’s analysis of the current system. A full consultation document will be published in due course.

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