CIBSE survey reveals that non-compliance with regulations is widespread

Building Control Officers rarely carry out the checks that are required by Building Regulations, according to a small survey carried out by CIBSE among its members. The survey was carried out to support CIBSE’s view that Part L compliance should be modelled on the use of competent personnel employed for Part L2A (new non-dwellings) to reduce technical and cost burdens on Building Control Officers. It would also reduce the administrative burden on the Department for Communities & Local Government by taking responsibility for accreditation of suitably qualified persons and competent persons for these task.

Five questions were asked in the survey.

• Is compliance with the limits on fabric, services lighting and controls checked? Only 16% of respondents answered ‘yes’, with 3% indicating ‘sometimes’. The vast majority, 71%, answered ‘no’.

• Have you been asked to demonstrate that a logbook has been produced for a building? 59% answered ‘never’, 36% ‘for some buildings’ and only 5% said yes for every building.

• Do Building Control officers routinely check that target emissions ratings (TER) calculations have been carried out and then check that building emissions ratings (BER) calculations are based on the as-built and not the design data? 70% said ‘no’, and 16% said ‘yes’. The remaining 14% did not answer.

• Do Building Control Officers ask if there is a commissioning plan and ask to see it? 78% answered ‘no, 7% ‘yes’ and 5% ‘sometimes’. The rest did not answer.

• Has the compliance checklist from Approved Document L2A been used? Only 14% answered ‘always, 36% sometimes and 28% never. 22% of respondents indicated that the first time they has been asked the question was when had seen this form.

The findings were presented by CIBSE technical manager Alex Nenadovic to a workshop in future changes to the Building Regulations. To simplify matters he reported that CIBSE proposes combining Energy Performance Regulations with the Building Regulations.

He explained, ‘There is significant scope to combine the technical development, consultation, legal drafting and compliance arrangements for these two activities. We therefore believe that the department should seek to implement the recast entirely through revisions to the Building Regulations, absorbing the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations.’

CIBSE has identified opportunities to rationalise and streamline the energy-efficiency elements of the Building Regulations and the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations, which are currently separate. Rationalising these regulations would enable their regulatory burden to be reduced and make possible cost savings in the implementation of the recast EPBD, which has to be undertaken in parallel with the next cycle of revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations.

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