Leading M&E associations claiming that enforcement of regulations isn't happening, and raise fears over EPC enforcement. Building Control defends its record

Building control is ‘turning a blind eye’ to Part L enforcement according to members of two of the largest mechanical and electrical (M&E) contractor associations.

A statement issued on behalf of M&E Sustainability said that the Government’s failure to support its own legislation threatened to undermine the industry’s sustainability drive.

The group was formed from the combined membership of the Heating and Ventilation Contractors Association (HCVA) and the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) (which represent 4,200 member companies between them.

Senior members of the associations call the situation ‘shambolic’ and recounted an occasion when Building Control told an engineer that a building log book ‘wasn’t required’ as well as multiple examples of HVAC equipment not being reported to Building Control. Under Part L regulations, all HVAC installations are required to be controlled and logged.

No change

"The grassroots of the industry has seen no change at all," said HVCA President John Miller. "Contractors are not hearing or seeing anything about enforcement of Part L. Building Control Officers have responsibility for this, but many are turning a blind eye.”

HVCA head of technical, Bob Towse, said that ultimately the Government would be responsible to the European Commission on the issue.

Since Part L is the most sexy part of the Building Regulations, in one sense we would say it was the most important to enforce

Paul Everall, LABC

He told Building: “Government are going to have to generate evidence to show Brussels we are doing what we are saying we are doing. We will need some statistical evidence. At this point, we have got nothing.”

ECA Group CEO, David Pollack, said he feared the (now delayed) introduction of EPC certificates and their policing by Trading Standards later this year.

"This year sees the introduction of Energy Certificates for buildings and mandatory inspection of air conditioning systems, but will these important measures also be undermined by the Government's reluctance to adequately police them?"

But Paul Everall, Chief Executive of Local Authority Building Control,(LBAC) said the claims were inaccurate: “We rebut the suggestion that Building Control turns a blind eye. The advice that we give to our members is that they should enforce all parts of the building regs. Indeed, since Part L is the most sexy part, in one sense we would say it was the most important to enforce."

Everall admitted that, in the first six months of the introduction of the new Part L, Building Control was not trained to enforce it as well as they liked, but added that times had changed. “If they HVAC has evidence to the contrary, then I should be delighted to see it.”