Building regulations – compliance and enforcement: consultation analysis
Analysis of the building regulations compliance and enforcement consultation which ran between 11 November 2021 and 9 February 2022.
This document is part of a collection
About the consultation
1. The Scottish Government undertook a consultation between 11 November 2021 and 9 February 2022 to seek views on the introduction of a Compliance Plan Manager (CPM) role on new buildings which can be defined as High Risk Buildings (HRBs). The consultation also sought opinion on whether there should be a requirement to appoint a CPM on existing buildings that would fall within the scope of the HRB definition where they are being created by a conversion or in situations where these types of buildings are being altered or extended.
2. The four parts of the consultation were as follows:
- Part 1: Creation of a new Compliance Plan Manager (CPM) oversight role on High Risk Building types on behalf of the Relevant Person (normally the owner or developer);
- Part 2: The definition of High Risk Buildings requiring a CPM;
- Part 3: Level of penalties/fines relating to enforcement action under the building standards system; and
- Part 4: Impact assessments.
3. Pye Tait Consulting was commissioned to undertake the consultation analysis and a summary of the main findings are set out below.
Creation of a New Compliance Plan Approach
4. 82% of respondents agree with the CPM role as outlined in Annex B of the consultation document, on projects for all High Risk Buildings (HRBs). They believe this will help to ensure greater compliance with the building regulations, including better compliance in the case of HRBs; a marked improvement in safety for all building occupants; and improvements to the current construction and approval process.
5. 88% agree that the CPM role should be independent of the contractor. They feel this would mitigating any possible conflict of interest. Others emphasised that the role should be coupled with greater efforts to improve the responsibility and processes of the developers, contractors and builders.
6. 85% agree that the CPM needs to be appointed no later than pre-application stage for all HRB projects. This will help to ensure compliance through the design stage; a better understanding of the requirements of the project; and enable the CPM to understand the most significant areas of risk as soon as possible.
7. 89% agree that a standardised competency framework for the CPM role should be developed by professional bodies/industry. This, it is felt, will ensure high standards and consistency across Scotland.
High Risk Building Types
8. 83% agree that a domestic building or residential building higher than 11 metres should be defined as a HRB. This is mainly for fire safety reasons and the importance of mitigating such risks; and that it is key to consider ease of access to the fire rescue services and the availability or reach of rescue equipment.
9. 74% agree that educational establishments (schools, college and universities), community/sport centres and non-domestic public buildings under local authority control should be defined as a HRB. Many believe that due to the heavy use of these building types, they should be classed as high-risk. This is on the basis that they are often occupied to maximum capacity with members of the public, which can include young and/or vulnerable people.
10. 96% agree that hospitals should be defined as HRBs. Many note that hospitals typically have a high occupancy, including vulnerable members of the public with reduced mobility; furthermore that such buildings are visited by people unfamiliar with the structure and layout, which poses an additional risk in the event of an evacuation caused by a fire.
11. 96% agree that residential care buildings should be defined as HRBs for similar reasons as with hospitals.
12. Views are divided as to whether low-rise volume house building sites should be defined as a HRB, with 36% agreeing, 39% neither agreeing nor disagreeing, and 24% disagreeing.
13. 86% agree that where a building falls into one of the defined HRB categories either by conversion or where an existing HRB is being altered or extended, that these building types should follow a strengthened Compliance Plan regime and require a CPM to be appointed. Respondents make the point that the process of a large conversion or alteration introduces a significant risk to a building and as such should be treated as comparable to the risks associated with new builds. According to respondents, this is especially the case if the work done is complex, causes the building to become part of a higher risk category or requires a building warrant.
14. 84% confirmed that they have a view on the introduction of a new enforcement power for local authorities to take action on non-compliant work after the acceptance of the completion certificate Approximately half (38 respondents) expressed general agreement with the idea. Just under half (27) argued that such powers should not be the responsibility of local authorities, but a matter between the building owner and contractor.
15. 76% confirmed that they have a view on the level of fines for non-compliance with the building regulations. A total of 29 respondents share the view that fines should serve as a means of encouraging compliance and deterring non-compliance; furthermore that fines should be proportionate to such factors as the risk they carry, project value, type of compliance requirement that has been breached, and scale of the intervention needed to fix the problem. A minority of others expressed concern that current fines are too low.
16. Similar views were echoed on the level of fines for non-compliance with HRBs.
17. 8% feel that proposals in the consultation would impact or have implications on equality groups. Four said there could be an impact specifically for women, those with disabilities, ethnic minorities and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Two anticipate a positive impact on vulnerable groups due to greater protection provided from fire and other safety risks.
18. 63% believe the proposals would have financial, regulatory or resource implications for them and/or their business. Over half mentioned the possibility of increased resources and/or higher skills demand for design teams and verification teams; as well as increased staffing and project costs. A minority of others mentioned positive impacts in terms of improving compliance; ensuring safety; improving building skills and methods; and reducing the need for inspection and enforcement in the long run.
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