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President Pringle nails his changes to the door

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RIBA president Jack Pringle has submitted his ideas on how to improve the Building Regulations as part of the review currently being undertaken by the Government.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Cabinet Office have launched an internal government bid to rediscover the clarity of the original 1984 Building Act.

But Pringle has decided to throw in some ideas of his own. RIBA director of practice Richard Brindley said: 'The original format of the 1984 Building Act remains sound, however, over the past 20 years the original clarity and ease of use has been eroded by piecemeal and uncoordinated changes as well as the introduction of other overlapping and often conflicting legislation.

'There is considerable support from architects for building regulations to develop higher building-performance standards to deal with climate change and sustainable energy usage.

'However, this must be done with a clarity of purpose and a long-term vision for improved performance; as well as the regulations being practical and understandable for effective implementation and compliance.'

The list of changes follows extensive feedback from RIBA architects and work by the RIBA's Building Regulation task group.

Pringle has proposed the following six actions:

a review of all building legislation to incorporate and co-ordinate all building performance criteria into the new building regulations, and not using planning legislation;

reform of the Building Regulations to achieve the original clarity of the 1984 Regulations, with all performance standards concisely stated in the statutory act;

revision of the approved documents to provide self-contained practical guidance on compliant typical construction details, without the voluminous third-party documentation;

establishing an implementation process for the new regulations, allowing for proper consultation and training;

establishing consistent and practical self-certification processes that are proportionate, enforceable and that relate to design and installation; and

creating targeted incentives and awareness for building owners and users to improve the standards of both new and existing buildings.

by Richard Vaughan

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