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What industry figures want: Peter Caplehorn

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Peter Caplehorn, technical director, Scott Brownrigg, and advisor to the RIBA on Building Regulations and health and safety issues

The design and construction of buildings is a complex and difficult procedure, and ensuring that they are safe to use and contribute to society falls to Building Regulations. In recent times, we have seen countless examples where this is not the case and designershave been wrong-footed by the complexity of the regulations, or compliance is so difficult to define that it is a challenge for everyone involved. A by-product of this consultation is to bring together the whole industry,a process that has resulted in greater understanding and cooperation than ever before.

Both as a practitioner and working as the RIBA specialist, I am keen for there to be some very specific outcomes. The industry needs regulations it understands and which act as the benchmark for a minimum standard of performance. We must ensure that for projects where resources are limited, a clear, simple solution is available while at the other end of the scale, the regulations allow for innovation and flair.

It is essential that a principle is established for changes to be announced prior to implementation, ensuring that the whole industry has plenty of time to become familiar prior to using them in earnest. There is already something called the Part L Training Strategy Group that is looking at how architects and services engineers could be trained together for this.

These days, we need to resort to many third-party documents. These may look complex but limiting their number and ensuring that all the information is as clear as possible and available from the beginning is also needed.

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