I was at the Science Museum last week with my grandson and among the interesting displays was the syphonic-action flushing system invented by Thomas Crapper.

This picture sprang back into mind this morning when one of my most senior surveyors came in totally exasperated by the amount of time taken to deal with a relatively simple conservatory extension.

His main concern was the amount of detail now required on such a proposal under the new Parts F and L alone, and the time it takes to get these details to a satisfactory level of compliance.

My concern is that the finite resources of building control are being diverted from more serious matters, such as fire safety and structural stability, in order to get tiny details right. In reality, the impact of these details on carbon emissions is minuscule.

The Building Regulations are losing the respect of the industry – not a good move. One of the immediate results of this is that builders and designers, unable to cope, are increasingly turning to building notices, thereby evading the need for detailed design requirements. This leaves it to hard-pressed building control surveyors to try to sort things out on site.

We are doing our best to get fully up to speed on ever more complex requirements, as we have all undertaken to do. But we are driven to think there is much that might benefit from a good round of syphonic action, thus releasing resources that are effectively being flushed down the pan under the weight of these new requirements.

Adrian Prest, head of building control, East Hertfordshire council