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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.


6. Conclusions

6.1 Creation of a new compliance plan approach

1 There is strong support (82%) for the Compliance Plan Manager (CPM) role for High Risk Buildings (HRBs). The role has the potential to enhance compliance and improve safety. Further detail would be needed on the detail of the role, including its precise functions, how it would align with certain other roles, as well as competency, accountability and insurance requirements.

2 There is also strong support (88%) for the independence of the CPM role. This would ensure it is not compromised (i.e. by being too closely linked to the developer or contractor), although consideration would be needed as to the potential impact on project timescales and the work of other actors in the system.

3 The majority of respondents (85%) recognise the value that the CPM role would bring to building projects across Scotland and that the earlier the CPM can become involved with a project, the better for ensuring their knowledge and understanding of a project, as well as quality and consistency.

4 Finally, there is widespread support (89%) for a standardised competency framework for the CPM role. Most favour this being developed by appropriate professional bodies, although there are suggestions from a minority of respondents for alternative models for its development and oversight.

6.2 High risk building types

1. There is strong support (83%) for the proposal that a Domestic Building or Residential Building higher than 11 metres should be defined as a HRB. This is for fire safety reasons and given the importance of mitigating risks. For a broader definition of high risk to be adopted, then consideration would be needed around: i) what level of burden that would place on the CPM role and number of CPMs needed; and ii) whether the risks associated with buildings of fewer storeys (as well as non-residential buildings) may be lower in terms of the ease of any potential fire rescue operation, and whether those risks can be tolerated.

2. The consultation has established majority support (74%) for educational, community, sport and non-domestic public buildings under local authority control being included within the definition of HRBs. This would help to safeguard the public and directly protect community spaces. There is a potential need for greater specificity and clarity regarding building characteristics and uses. This might include (for example) tailored compliance plans and a more granular classification system. That said, greater complexity on the definition could make it more difficult and resource intensive to determine which buildings fall within or outside the definition, especially where they are marginal.

3. There is almost unanimous agreement (96%) that hospitals be defined as HRBs due to their local community importance and the complexity of any evacuation due to thigh occupancy with vulnerable individuals.

4. For a greater level of risk mitigation, residential care buildings could also be included within the HRB classification, for which there is also overwhelming support (96%). Additional considerations here might include: i) the definition of high-risk in this context (as there may be such facilities that are smaller, and do not identify as HRBs); and ii) what structures fall under the definition of 'care' buildings (i.e., if this definition includes institutional residential buildings, prisons and psychiatric facilities).

5. There is somewhat less support (36%) for low-rise volume house building sites to be defined as HRBs, with views broadly divided. The risk level is considered to be lower and would likely depend on the type of building. There is also the question about the additional burden this could place on the CPM role vis-à-vis higher risk building projects.

6. There is strong overall agreement (86%) 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. Additional considerations might include the type of build. estimated value of works, floor areas, if any escape routes are altered, as well as cladding alterations.

6.3 Enforcement

1 Overall, there is substantial support (84%) for local authorities having additional enforcement powers. Wider considerations include increased staffing and funding required to deliver enforcement; a need for clarification around technical elements such as which building types this would apply to and exact responsibilities; whose responsibility it should be to undertake retrospective amendments and whether these should be performed at all.

2 The consultation responses (76%) suggest that the level of fines should be high enough to prevent instances of non-compliance from occurring. In setting fine levels, consideration should be given to ensuring proportionality, such as the scale of the risk, likely consequences of a breach or a percentage of business turnover.

6.4 Impact assessments

1. There are indications from a small number of consultation respondents (8%) that the creation of the CPM role has the potential for impact on certain equality groups. This might span the potential CPM or building occupants themselves, with specific mention of women, those with disabilities, ethnic minorities and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, however no specific examples of impact on these groups were mentioned. That said, findings suggest that certain protected groups as building owners might be afforded better protections.

2. A total of 63% of respondents feel that proposals would have financial, regulatory or resource implications for them and/or their business. The implications could be manifested in terms of increased resources and/or higher skills demand for design and verification teams; as well as increased staffing and project costs. These are balanced alongside the potential for positive impact, including improved compliance with the building standards; ensuring the safety and quality of the products used in design and construction; improved building skills and methods; and a reduction in the need for inspection and enforcement in the long run.

Contact

Email: thomson.dyer@gov.scot

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