Clearer rules on standards for builders

Building Regulations Minister Lord McKenzie said:

"These changes help us to tackle long term challenges. A growing population and the need to tackle climate change mean we need to build more homes, and to ever higher standards of safety and sustainability. These improvements to the building control process mean that the high standards we set on paper are also delivered on the ground, and with all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 this is an essential step."

At present builders have to contact their building control inspector up to nine times during each construction project, irrespective of its size and complexity. A new approach is being developed which will allow councils and private building control bodies to focus their attention on the highest risk projects and therefore reduce the number of inspections required for simpler projects.

Lord McKenzie said:

"The Government fully recognises the economic climate is difficult at the moment and these measures will also support responsible builders through the recession by cutting the amount of red tape they face. But for the minority incompetent builders things are going to get even tougher through enhanced inspection powers for local authorities.

"It’s understandable that, particularly during a recession, people will be tempted to take up the cheapest quote for building work and it’s right the Government should offer increased protection to consumers. But of course people should remain vigilant too."

The Government also pledged to limit changes to the Building Regulations to every three years from 2010, providing greater certainty to builders and housebuilders. New guidance to be published will help builders and homeowners to meet the rules.

Speaking about the announcement, Paul Timmins, Chair of the Building Control Alliance, said:

"The Implementation Plan sets out a very positive and structured vision of the Building Control Service and the Building Regulations for the future. The Building Control Alliance, representing the Building Control profession, is fully committed to support all areas of the proposed plan, in particular to improve upon the valuable outputs that the service currently offers and new challenges for the future."

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