How can a government department that was widely criticised for the way it introduced Part L a year ago suddenly chastise building control so vehemently (5 October, page 42)?
When it comes to sustainability, the government can’t exactly claim an unblemished record either, as it continues to send out conflicting signals and guidance.
Early last year, building control bodies waited to receive training on the new Part L, as it took such a long time for those doing the training to get their head around the changes.
Now, planning bodies are allowed to enforce their requirements in isolation of building control, when each could surely complement the other. The government is aware that local authority building control bodies are in a unique position but does little to assist them. Local authorities can’t compete with private sector salaries. As a result, they continue to haemorrhage qualified staff. They aren’t allowed to be flexible on charges, and funds usually go to poorer performing services rather than to making improvements.
Nobody claims the system is perfect, but has anyone involved in the criticism of building control taken the time to visit offices around the country to examine the millions of defects identified through the inspection processes? Would these be identified by those organisations carrying out the work?
Rather than being replaced by self-certifying individuals with conflicting interests, building control professionals should be involved in the design process at a much earlier stage than is usually the case.
Mark Key, principal building control officer, Copeland council