School buildings and public safety
Sir, – Irrespective of any inspection regime, all building contractors, without exception, are legally obliged to build according to the building regulations. This is an absolute basic requirement and no amount of obfuscation about inspections and BCAR (Building Control (Amendment) Regulations) and “rapid build” can get away from that responsibility.
Second, the idea that the new system of inspection, the so-called BCAR system, would have made any difference is nonsense, as the assigned certifiers or inspectors are not independent, being employed by either the contractor or the client.
In design-build scenarios, they are most likely employed by the contractor who is also the client, making any notion of “independence” illusory. It is still self-certification, no matter how it is dressed up.
The only system that will work is a third-party inspection regime, preferably by the local authority, where the inspection regime is robust and, critically, totally independent. This is the system which works well in the United Kingdom, is well understood and where local authority inspections are taken very seriously.
We need to end this regime of self-certification, whose supposed benefits are illusory, and replace it with a properly independent system of third-party inspections. Anything else is simply failing the end-users of our buildings. – Yours, etc,
KELLY, BArch, MRIAI