The bringing of fire and building regulation together under one ministry has been praised by the industry.
Both now fall under the new Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions after the post-election shake-up. Fire regulations were covered previously by the Home Office.

The Construction Industry Council, which has lobbied for such a reorganisation, supported the move. Chief executive Graham Watts said: "It is an opportunity for better regulations. There will be more co-ordination."

David McCullough, the RICS Building Control Forum chairman, said: "It drives forward the government's wish to involve all the parties, enabling a truly integrated approach towards the important subject of building regulation."

The move came as concerns were raised about changes to the energy regulations, due to come into effect in February 2001, was raised by the steel window sector.

The Steel Window Association warned that insulation demands for windows in Part L would play into the hands of cowboy builders.

The changes to Part L of the Building Regulations mean that new windows will have to be better insulated and for the first time the regulation will apply to replacement windows.

The Steel Window Association claims that 1.2 million window installations will now have to be declared to building control each year.

Peter Johnson, the association's specialist consultant, said some would hoodwink the public with false certification. He said: "The whole window trade is bewildered as to how this regulation is going to be enforced. It's a bit of a cowboy's charter at the moment."

The chairman of the technical committee of the District Surveyors Association, Stephen Driscoll, claimed local authority building control officers do not the resources to deal with "the sheer magnitude of installations".

  • Electrical safety is set to be included in the Building Regulations for the first time. The new regulation, Part P Electrical Safety, is due to be issued for public consultation at the end of this month.

    The regulations are expected to propose that electrical installers self-certify installations.