Fresh rules and government legislation that come into force this month are causing major problems across the industry

An addition to Building Regulations designed to improve electrical safety in homes is causing labour problems for councils who lack the expertise to test installations.

Part P, which came into force on Saturday, requires that all work involving the addition of a circuit to a home is either carried out by an approved competent person or tested by local authority building control.

However, many councils no longer employ electricians, so building control officials must be trained before they can check the work. Councils will also have to bear the expense of contracting the work out to approved electricians.

Meanwhile, the Private Security Industry Act, which comes into force next Monday, will lead to a £20,000 increase in the cost of securing sites, according to a leading expert.

The act makes it compulsory for anybody carrying out security duties on site to be licensed. Companies will have to pay a fee of £225 to license each security officer.

But the British Security Industry Association estimates that the total cost, including administration and mandatory training, could be up to £600 for each security guard. Security officers who cannot prove where they have lived for the past five years could risk losing their jobs.

The BSIA has warned that the act could force up to 15% of an estimated 135,000 security officer workforce out of the industry and push up the cost of hiring guards.

Gary Sullivan, managing director of logistics at security firm Wilson James, said: “There will be labour shortages and those with licences will be very marketable.” He added the licence-vetting procedure would prevent anybody with a criminal record from working in the security industry.

Failure to comply with the legislation could lead to £5000 fines or six-month prison sentences for security firms and those responsible for employing them, such as clients and contractors.

The Chromium (VI) Directive, coming into force on 17 January, could force up the price of cement by up to £1 a tonne as cement manufacturers are forced to eliminate chromium from products.

The directive is being introduced to minimise chromate-related allergic dermatitis. It requires producers to add a reducing agent to eliminate Chromium VI from products. It also applies to any business making preparations containing cement.

David Evans, director of commercial business sustainability at cement manufacturer RMC Rugby, said that putting the treatment equipment in place had cost his company millions.

He added: “There is also the continuing cost of buying the reducing agent and the price of the treatments such as ferrous sulphate have gone up as the industry has increased its demand.”