Organisation’s chief executive said highly experienced people were “desperately needed” to train new recruits

One of the UK’s leading building control bodies has said it is “very concerned” about an exodus of highly skilled people from the sector ahead of the introduction of the new building safety regulator.

Local Authority Building Control chief executive Lorna Stimpson said older building control surveyors were considering either retirement or a career change instead of getting up to scratch with the regulator’s requirements.

The building safety bill became law last year and the first stage of the new safety rules is expected to come into force from October. Regulation and registration will apply to all building control surveyors on all types of buildings, including small residential, for the first time.

Lorna Stimpson

Lorna Stimpson (right) speaking at yesterday’s Building event

Stimpson, who was speaking at Building’s Risk and Regulations Live event this week, said: “We are very concerned because as a profession we’re going to lose people.

“We’re an ageing profession and people are thinking ‘why should I do this, I don’t need this at my time of life, I’m going to walk away and either do something else or go and sit with my slippers on’… because that’s easier and better than having to go through proof of competence and registration as a building control professional, and we can understand that.”

The LABC, which represents all local authority building control teams in England and Wales, has been handed £20m of government funding to train and expand the building control profession ahead of the introduction of the regulator.

New recruits will be centrally employed by the LABC and seconded out to around 85 local authorities, with the majority located in London due to the capital’s higher amount of high-risk buildings.

Over the last two months the organisation has signed up 105 trainees, chosen from more than 1,000 applications and 250 interviews. Around two thirds of those are coming for second careers, and 35% are women, more than double the construction industry’s average of 14%.

But Stimpson said there was “no point” bringing in new trainees without experienced people who could train them and the profession would be “in demise” if these people left the sector.

“I hope to goodness that those older, wiser building control surveyors don’t hang up their boots just yet because we desperately need them,” she said.

“You do not learn building control from a book. That’s an absolute fact. You learn building control from those senior people who you work with, so without them, our profession is in demise.”

She said building control surveyors across England and Wales were “really struggling” with how the profession will change when the regulator comes into force. “It’s a tough pill to swallow,” she said. “Qualified once, practice for life is going to be no longer for the building control profression.”