Geoff Wilkinson, incoming chairman of the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors
More from: Building Regulations
‘The ACAI believes there should be a single, national licensing process for all Building Control bodies, with an auditing system that checks inspectors’ skills are up to date. It makes sense to give local authorities the freedom to set their own fees, to inspect if and when they want to and so on, but to recognise that they are operating as approved inspectors and should be licensed accordingly. Enforcement can then be done more effectively by a local authority team, paid for by public money and free from any risk of commercial conflicts of interest.
Approved inspectors have always adopted a risk-based approach to site inspections. In our view this approach should now be adapted for use by the public sector too and statutory notifications ditched – and this is likely to happen. However, big changes are required in the way the regulations are enforced, in particular the policing of illegal building work, which is likely to increase as a result of the recession. This is not a role that could – nor should – befulfilled by the private sector, as there is risk of bias. But there is a pressing need for an effective enforcement team within the public sector. This should be separate from the quasi-privatised work of a local authority Building Control department.
Changes to Building Control probably won’t be felt by architects and their clients for a year or so, but I’m confident that everyone will benefit.’