Building regulations


Sir, – The new building regulations require builders and “assigned certifiers” to sign-off to local authorities for new building works.

Private contracts for new homes, extensions and other buildings are private. They are arranged between the clients and their chosen main contractors and/or their subcontractors. Developers and home builders decide what they want in a building. Designers help to achieve the required result. Most building work is carried out in accordance with building regulations.

A small number of projects received planning permission but were not inspected nor monitored by fire regulators or other local authority supervisors. To whom will the new regulation bring peace of mind?

It is surprising that any professional institute would be prepared to back this regulation. The law in this country does not imply a warranty that a professional will achieve a desired result, eg a surgeon cannot guarantee that their patient will be cured by the treatment given to them and a solicitor cannot guarantee that their client’s case will be won in the courts. But designers are now expected to guarantee that a building they designed will be fit for the purpose for which it was designed and that it was carried out to the design, specification and building regulations by signing a document certifying those works, which must then be submitted to the planning authorities.

Will the planning authority take direct legal responsibility if the assigned certifier or the registered builder has gone out of business before any building defects become apparent because this regulation is now legally required? The appointment of a full-time “clerk-of-works” individual for the duration of the contract, plus an “assigned certifier” who will have to be available to alter drawings and specifications in accordance with the contract, will be a minimum requirement.

Those costs will certainly eliminate self-building and a considerable amount of small to medium building works throughout the country.

The registered builders will need to be on constant alert to all design details and variations, which will have to be recorded under the registration certificate and changed under the terms of building contract. Separate contracts may be required for assigned certifiers. Building contract conditions will be used more than ever in order to shift responsibility between the designers and the builders.

A greater likelihood of litigation will arise as the contracts for certification compliance are not time limited. Insurance is renewable annually.

The additional building costs to the developer and home builder are going to be considerable. – Yours, etc,