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Plea against repeat of 'disastrous' Part L launch

The Government is being urged to avoid the disastrous way it introduced Part L when it reviews the building control system

Paul Timmins, chairman of the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI), welcomed this launch of consultations on the issue, but argued changes to Part L, covering energy efficiency and fuel conservation, had been badly managed.

He said: “The changes to Part L in 2006 and the disastrous way these were foisted onto the construction industry have taught everyone a harsh lesson.

For the full details on 'The Future of Building Control: Consultation Paper' - click here
“Here were highly complex regulations, brought in two years earlier than expected. They were published just three weeks before they were supposed to be implemented, without adequate or even accurate supporting guidance, to an industry which was entirely unprepared and has struggled to comply ever since.

“That’s why we’re calling for a clear route map for how regulations will change from now on.”

Mr Timmins said there should be a clear structure for reviewing regulations: “We should have a fixed four or five year cycle for the review of regulations, which should then be published at least nine months before they must be implemented.

“We also want to see the Approved Documents and other guidance written in plain English and split into documents for residential and commercial projects. It’s the only way to make this guidance comprehensible.

“Government should involve us, the regulators, in writing future guidance because we know how the regulations are applied, what works and what doesn’t. We need more effective regulations, not necessarily fewer or more. Better regulation and its pragmatic application is everything that approved inspectors stand for.”

The ACAI represents private sector building control consultancies and inspectors in England and Wales.

Mr Timmins said changes his members would like to see included “proper performance indicators based on quality rather than quantity” and “more transparent monitoring”.
He also proposed a national auditing system that checks up on all building control services, public and private sector.

He said: “That way we can really demonstrate the value of building control to the whole development community.”