LABC has released independent research that, amongst other things, looks at the number of interventions local authority building control teams are making in the pre-commencement planning assessment stage of construction. The research, carried out by Lychgate Projects Ltd, involved 42 local councils over a sample three week period, revealing a total of 3,973 interventions in that time.
This means that up to a 1,000,000 interventions were carried out last year when all plan assessments in England and Wales are taken into account. Of these 40% represent a “high risk of failure”.
Over half of the interventions recorded that relate to Part A (Structure) and Part B (Fire Safety) were classified as a “high” or “intolerable risk”.
In addition to these findings, 86% of business customers (interviewed by phone as part of the project) found the LABC network’s plan assessment service to be “extremely” or “fairly” useful, and 20% of customers thought the process saved them money by simplifying design and specifications.
The report underpins LABC’s core belief that demonstrates the importance planning assessments have in reducing unnecessary risk and costs during the building process. They do this by helping to stop building faults before work even starts.
Other key findings
- Most interventions were produced by non-compliance with Approved Documents Part A and Part B, followed by Part C (Resistance to Contaminants & Moisture) and Part L (Conservation of Fuel & Power)
- The new homes sector accounted for 20.1% of interventions
- 98% of customers said that the plan assessment is a positive step and 88% communicated it to their end-client.
- 53% of business customers felt that the advice (interventions) led to a safer builder
Plan assessments successful and critical
Paul Everall, Chief Executive of LABC said:
“This research shows that we prevent nearly a million faults from occurring during construction. This is worth millions to the economy.
“The plan assessment is successful and critical in ensuring buildings are produced to the right standard and in doing this we also save clients and industry the cost of wasted materials and wasted time.”
Local authority building control teams have to provide a plan assessment service for full plan applications within their building control fee, whereas Approved Inspectors are not obliged by their regulations to do one. If the customer requests an assessment they can charge for it as an optional extra.
“Since we can show the huge positive contribution plan assessments make it seems sensible to change Approved Inspector regulations to match that of the public sector so that all building control bodies are obliged to provide a full plans assessment prior to commencement of work on site.
This would improve quality outcomes, save industry wasted costs and provide a fairer basis for competition.”