The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has published implementation plans outlining the proposed changes to the system of building control in England and Wales.

The plans follow the government’s consultation on the 'Future of Building Control' as well as discussions with local authorities and approved inspectors.

Some of the main changes being proposed include:

  • ‘Periodic Review’ programme set for changes to Building Regulations, giving everyone more clarity of what will change and when.
  • Publication of ‘project guides’ to help with Building Regulations compliance on certain types of domestic building projects like loft conversions and extensions.
  • Local authorities allowed to set their own building control fees.
  • Local authorities required to adopt a ‘risk assessed’ approach to building control – ie. inspections and levels of intervention set to reflect the likely risk of a project, rather than inspecting just at fixed statutory notification stages.
  • Abolishing ‘Building Notices’ for new housing projects.
  • New enforcement powers for local authorities to take action against cowboy builders.
  • Further work to look into regulatory overlaps between building control, planning, health and safety etc.
  • Improved complaints systems.
  • Improved performance management systems for building control bodies.
  • Better evaluation programmes to check compliance with Building Regulations.

Geoff Wilkinson, spokesman for the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI) welcomed the proposals. He said: “Building standards usually dip significantly during and just after a recession. So we will continue to lobby Government to ensure that building control authorities don’t forget their vital enforcement role. This is not a role the private sector can take on to compensate.

“As recent accidents have proved, there is still a need for councils to ensure they have enough inspectors to crack down on illegal building work and to take enforcement action when it’s needed without fear of losing favour. Consumer protection must not be compromised by the rush towards deregulated fees and flexible inspection regimes, or this will risk peoples’ safety and bring our whole profession into disrepute.”

Click below to read the 'Future of Building Control' document by CLG.