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Change restrictive building control laws

Comment 1st July 2010

 

 

  • The Tories prescription to scale down Building Regulations to make them “simpler and reduced”

     This is welcome in particular to those in the DIY business. Homeowners face a raft of difficult to understand & costly regulations and some are because of this, ignored on the basis of "who is going to find out"

     Take Part P covering electrical work for instance – whilst it was right to regulate trades people to ensure that their work meets the required standards, Part P also requires the DIY electrician to go through a minefield of regulation & large cost for installing say a new circuit which might only cost about £80 for them to do.

     Most DIY electricians are competent people & some are even practicing tradesmen, yet under Part P they still cannot carry out work on their own home because they are not registered in an approved scheme. The upshot is that most won’t call in an approved tradesman as the costs far outweighs the small amount of work involved so they simply go along to their local B&Q, buy what they need & do the work without notifying their local council which is why most dub Part P as Part Pointless.  Pointless because it largely is ignored by the DIY homeowner.

     The solution is simple, remove the need for competent homeowners doing their own electrical work to notify their local council but ensure that scheme registered tradesman are required to offer a checking & testing service at a regulated fee (like an MOT) If the home owner knows that they only have to pay a fixed low cost fee of say £50 without going through lots of regulation, then you will more likely have DIY electrics checked & tested.

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    Why does this matter?

    The idea of building regulation is important to maintain standards but regulation should not define every aspect of the build or introduce such levels of bureaucracy that they are rendered unworkable or just ignored.

     Good regulation must have flexibility built in that allows local councils to adapt to meet local need & more importantly, does not treat the homeowner as a criminal for simply wanting to carry out work on their own home. In the case of DIY homeowners, regulations should encourage a more supportive less bureaucratic approach by local councils to assist rather than punish them for not complying with rules which most do not like Part P, understand why so much cost & paper work is needed just to undertake a simple half hour job which costs less than £100.

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