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Remove the Approved Inspector regulations

Comment 1st July 2010

Government should repeal the The Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2000 they and thir 1985 predecessors are the basis of a failed experiment of introducing competition into a regulatory service; the building regulations. Local Authorities and private company Approved Inspectors have to compete to regulate but LA's are the only ones with the ultimate enforcement powers. This enables architects and builders to chose which people apply the regulations to them. Sounds great? In reality all it has led to, particularly in the last 10/15 years is that the route of least resistance is chosen and important building regulations such as for structural safety, fire safety, disabled access and of course energy saving measures are not being applied correctly in thousands of schemes across the country because the people applying the regulations, LA's or AI's have to have one eye on where the next job will come from. Yes it's improved the service to the customers, Building Control Surveyors are nice smiley people now but the application of the regulations is coming at most second best. This is plain wrong. Give the application of the building regulations back to LA's where it can be properly administered and enforced if necessary.

This way an expensive and confusing dual system of regulation can be removed, people working in AI's will come back to work for LA's becuase they will need them taking on the additional workload. The CIC quango that currently overses AI's can also be cut back.

Continue to make LA's only able to break even on their building regulation income (as they do now) which will ensure fees are proper and that the user pays.

Why does this matter?

This way the Govt will be assured that the building regulations they apply will be properly applied by a dedicated service who don't have to waste time and effort marketing and competing for work. They can concentrate on the proper part of their role. The building regulations are too important to leave them to market forces to control. The private sector is excellent at design, innovation and production but by its very nature it doesn't do regulation well at all. No other regulatory service has to compete to regulate, which points to the fact that it doesn't work.

A critical part of the building regulations in the coming decades will be the Govt's energy conservation measures. If building regulations are in the sole province of LA's they can really ensure that new buildings and works to existing buildings comply with these regulations to ensure that the full energy and carbon saving measures work. This will massively assist the Govt's carbon reduction programme and hence its green agenda.  

Ask the construction and design industry, they like sensible building regulations applied by a dedicated service because it will protect them from the cowboy builders and from future claims against them.

I commend this suggestion to you.


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