Publication - Consultation paper

Building regulations - compliance and enforcement: consultation

We are seeking views on the development of a new Compliance Plan Manager role within the building standards system which will apply to specific High Risk Building (HRB) types, the definition of these HRBs and the level of fines where work is not carried out in accordance with the regulations.

Building regulations - compliance and enforcement: consultation
Annex B: Proposal For A New Compliance Plan Manager Role On High Risk Building Types

Annex B: Proposal For A New Compliance Plan Manager Role On High Risk Building Types

Introduction

1. This paper sets out the proposed role of the Compliance Plan Manager (CPM).

2. The CPM's role is to ensure that the Compliance Plan (CP) is fully executed and achieved on behalf of the Relevant Person (RP) as their 'Duly Authorised Agent'.

3. The Compliance Plan details the inspections and other compliance evidence that the CPM determines is required for the RP or CPM as their agent to submit the completion certificate, inspections and compliance evidence that the verifier will require to support their application of reasonable inquiry.

4. It is proposed that a CPM will require to be appointed on all High Risk Building (HRB) projects (detailed in guidance/legislation) and will work collaboratively with the designer and 'contractor' (where appropriate due to procurement route as contractors may not always be appointed at this early stage) to develop a project CP for approval with the building warrant plans and details based on the "Compliance Plan Handbook" (CPHB). The CPM will oversee and be responsible for ensuring the developed and agreed CP is fully discharged from building warrant pre-application discussion stage through to completion.

5. There will be a requirement to appoint a CPM by the pre-application discussion stage—at the latest. This is in recognition that a building project, can take a long time from start to finish, beyond that of the building standards process, and the pre-application stage is likely to be the first interaction with the building standards system. The CPM will be responsible for the building standards stages of the project and therefore needs to be appointed no later than this stage. This however does not preclude the RP appointing the CPM earlier as good practice. The early appointment of a CPM may add value to the design process by identifying risk elements in the proposal that may not otherwise have been considered.

6. Where a building warrant application is submitted without a CPM being appointed (on an HRB projects), this will delay the progress of the application. A CPM must be appointed before the application will be considered. The Scottish building standards system is pre-emptive, and work cannot proceed legally until permissions are in place. Therefore there is a requirement to identify the CPM on the BW application form at the start of the application process. It is recognised however that the CPM should have been identified and appointed by the RP prior to this stage to enable involvement in the mandatory pre-application discussions on HRBs.

7. A CP must be agreed at the outset of every project and will be used to demonstrate, through the collection of evidence and documentation how the risk of non-compliance has been minimised and also the verifier's (local authority building standards service) reasonable inquiry requirements have been met. All parties involved in a project must be able to provide the necessary written assurances and documentation to the CPM throughout the project as well as at the completion stage. The CPM will collate and interrogate the evidence to support the compliant construction and completion of approved building warrant works. They will provide the necessary assurances, in the form of a fully discharged CP, to the RP to permit the competent submission of the completion certificate to the verifier either by the relevant person or the CPM acting as their agent.

8. The appointment of a CPM to act on behalf of the RP will remove any ambiguity over responsibilities. The responsibility for compliance, under the Scottish building standards system, rests with the RP (usually the building owner or developer). This will place a duty on any RP procuring a new HRB building or new HRB building works, to have in place appropriate compliance oversight, in the form of the CPM, from pre-application discussion stage through to completion.

9. The Building Warrant application form will be amended to require details of the RP to be added at the outset. This will clarify that the RP is legally responsible for compliance with the building regulations. The RP or their duly appointed representative is responsible for undertaking all the necessary checks needed to ensure compliance. This makes it clearer to all involved, from the outset, that the role of the verifier is to undertake periodic inspections to ensure the checks that are put in place by the RP are working as intended.

10. On lower risk projects, out with the definition/scope of an HRB, it may be feasible for the compliance oversight role to be performed by the RP or the builder. This may be more proportionate due to the relatively low cost and lower risk factors. The application of the CP approach must be proportionate to risk as agreed by the Working Group. However, this would still result in a strengthening of the current process where it is unclear who - if anyone - is actually performing a compliance check beyond the checks undertaken by the LA verifier in their checks under reasonable inquiry. This would clarify the oversight put in place on behalf of the building owner/RP as set out in the extract from the Compliance and Enforcement review detailed below.

11. This requirement for a CPM or Duly Authorised (Compliance) Agent aligns with the findings of the review panel on Compliance and Enforcement:

"It is clearly the legal responsibility for the building owner or developer to comply with the Building Regulations and it should be expected of them to have appropriately expert inspection during the course of the construction."

The Role of the Compliance Plan Manager

12. The view of the Compliance Plan Manager sub-group, formed of industry stakeholders and academics, is that the CPM role should be undertaken by a construction professional with appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). This will provide assurance to the RP that checks will be thorough and discharged in a professional way. The CPHB will have CPM competency requirements guidance.

13. The sub-group also concluded that it would be unrealistic for the CPM to possess all the specialist knowledge and expertise needed on all aspects of a building project. Therefore there will be a need for the CPM to draw on the experience and expertise of others involved in the project. This will include designers, specialist contractors, site inspectors and others as appropriate to confirm compliance has been met. It would be the CPM's responsibility to identify information required from others and ensure this information is documented to support the CP being discharged in full.

14. Having a CPM does not remove the duty from contractors or others to have in place measures to ensure works are carried out in accordance with the approved design and the building regulations/standards. The CPM does not undertake a supervisory role for every aspect of a project. The CPM may undertake inspections, at specific stages set out in the CP and the inspections will be based on the nature of the project and the identified risks. The CPM will also collate other pre-determined compliance evidence, including that required by the verifier. The CPM role has been developed for use on all high risk buildings initially with the potential of scaling/tailoring to suit lower risk projects as the role is introduced.

15. Having the CPM role embedded within the building standards system is intended to ensure that the RP has continuity of professional oversight, regardless of the contract or procurement method. It will also provide the RP with the necessary assurances that the 'agreed level of inspection' (the Compliance Plan) from pre-application meeting to completion has been fully discharged to support the RP's submission of the Completion Submission to the verifier and that the verifier's necessary inspections, checks and supporting evidence to support the verifier's reasonable inquiry have all been enabled/provided as per the CP.

16. The level of inspection to be undertaken by the CPM will be based on a risk assessment. The number of inspections will vary depending on the building types and the nature of the work being undertaken. The inspections will focus on works that cannot be readily inspected once the building is completed. However, inspections undertaken by the CPM and others specialists should take into account, but should not be limited to:-

  • The risk associated with elements in relation to the integrity of the building as a whole.
  • The experience of the contractor undertaking the works (which may vary during the process and either to increase or decrease if the contractor is found to be more or less competent than originally thought).
  • The pace of the construction i.e. how quickly it will be concealed.
  • How complex the works are (which may require greater levels of inspection).
  • Whether the works are common industry practice or innovative (the latter requiring greater inspection).
  • Accessibility to works (works that cannot be easily inspected, or easily inspected after a certain stage e.g. once scaffolding is removed).
  • On repeatable items, the initial works should be inspected until the CPM is satisfied that the works are to the required standard.

17. The CPM's role within the BS System must have the appropriate authority to be successful. This authority will be drawn from the inability to submit a Completion Certificate (CC) submission without the support of the CPM's sign-off of a fully achieved CP. Without a fully discharged CP, the verifier would automatically reject any CC submission that is not supported by a fully discharged CP. The CP will be an evolving/living document and accordingly, if inspections are missed, then alternative evidence or disruptive inspections could be required to evidence compliance. The CPM as the single point of contact will be responsible for facilitating the checks at the right time ensuring that all the necessary evidence and documentation has been collated and checked to support the CP being fully discharged and enabling a competent CC submission to be made to the verifier.

18. Confirmation from the CPM to the RP will enable the submission of the Completion Certificate to the verifier in the knowledge that they have not submitted it recklessly, which is an offence under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

19. The role of the CPM is to support the RP. Under the 2003 Act the RP has the legal responsibility to demonstrate compliance. Accordingly, the RP must ensure appropriate checks and oversight are put in place to provide the necessary assurances to facilitate the competent submission of a completion submission at the end of the project.

20. The role of the verifier will continue to be an independent check of work that is subject to building warrant approval. Verifiers will continue to deploy their resources accordingly, based on risk, as they determine appropriate. Inspection stages will be identified within the CP (the former Construction Compliance Notification Plan (CCNP)). Verifier inspections may not always be in the form of physical on-site inspection and may be discharged using alternative evidence such as photos, videos, live video feed, third party certification or declarations from construction professionals. It is expected that with a CPM managing the CP a higher number of, verifier inspection stages will be programmed and facilitated by the CPM. Which will, in turn, will lead to higher levels of notification and completed inspections. Under the CCNP system, verifiers are not always notified when works reaches the identified stages in the CCNP. As such, not all CCNPs were fully achieved. Under the proposed CP verifiers will be informed by the CPM when verifier inspection stages are reached. Therefore it is expected that the number of inspections carried out by verifiers will increase due to increased notifications.

21. The role of the RP will not change as a result of the proposals. The aim of the changes are to strengthen the system as recommended by the Compliance and Enforcement review panel. The roles within the system will be clearer and the process more robust to increase the level of compliance assurance from the beginning of a project to the end culminating in a competent CC submission.

The CPM role:

  • CPM is appointed by the Relevant Person at the design stage, no later than the design team appointment (CPM being a requirement for all high risk projects).
  • Envisaged that there should be a duty to produce a Compliance Plan for verifier approval at the building warrant approval stage for all Building Warrants. For the high risk 'prescribed' building types (e.g. high rise residential, schools, healthcare buildings) a CPM would be required.
  • CPM should be a 'suitable' building professional (chartered member of building profession) with PII (CPHB would provide competency guidance for client) acting on behalf of the RP and independent from the contractor. Regardless of the way in which a building is being procured, the CPM appointment should be appointed/identified by the Relevant Person to act in their interest and the wider public interest to reduce the risk of non-compliance during construction and once buildings are complete by creating and overseeing the Compliance Plan from inception to completion.
    • Guidance could state requirements for chartered membership with a professional body which confirms that membership requires competence in assessing a building design and construction for compliance with building regulations along with competence and experience to undertake the manner of works proposed. Supported by an organisational requirements for members to undertake on-going Continual Professional Development.
    • Creation of this role should be driven by professional bodies/industry to define 'suitable' via a set criteria - qualifications, experience, level of indemnity cover.
  • CPM is acting as "duly authorised compliance agent" to provide continuity of oversight from inception to completion on behalf of the RP. The responsibility for compliance responsibility under the Act remains with the RP, therefore, for the RP to competently discharge their responsibility, they must ensure they appoint, an independent, appropriately resourced, qualified, skilled and experienced persons to undertake the role of CPM, (CPM behaviours would be controlled by professional conduct, clients contract, risk of offending against the Act).
  • CPM duties would be discharged if the Compliance Plan is completed/delivered. Discussion around independent construction advisors suggest insurers happier with this approach where scope of inspection/oversight is identified.
  • CPM duty encompasses management of information and verification that required actions are undertaken and recorded. A declaration of the undertaking can be made by the CPM at relevant design and construction stages.
  • Using national Compliance Plan Handbook (development and extension of Verification During Construction):
    • At Design stage, a risk assessment statement would be required to be submitted with Building Warrant application to support interrogation of proposals by the verifier.
    • CPM drafts the Compliance Plan for discussion at pre-application meeting, based on the nature of the project, setting out assurances to demonstrate to the verifier how compliance with the building regulations will be achieved with the responsibility of demonstrating compliance resting with the applicant.
    • This would include the Relevant Person Compliance Evidence (RPCE) which would detail the complete package of documentation to be submitted to the Relevant Person including the programme of intended inspections and testing, project dates and stages etc. and
    • the Verification Compliance Evidence (VCE), a separate collation of documentation containing only the relevant evidence required to support the completion certificate submission and includes details of verification notification and inspection stages and any alternative evidence.
    • Finalises and agrees Compliance Plan with verifier for approval with the building warrant.
    • CPM then manages collation of all information, ensures all requirements of the Compliance Plan are met, is the single point contact for verifier, ensures all inspections are facilitated (e.g. designers, specialists and verifiers as part of their reasonable inquiry), submits completed compliance plan with VCE to RP for submission with CC submission – verifier approves or rejects.
    • Verifier would reject CC on basis of unfulfilled Compliance Plan, which strengthens the role of the CPM and the Compliance Plan.
  • Compliance Plan to be in digital format, accessible to CPM, design team, client and verifier during the building warrant construction phase and would form part of the golden thread of evidence showing how compliance was managed, achieved and evidenced. The Compliance Plan would then be issued with CC, final set of approved building warrant plans and supporting evidence as submitted including for example the fire safety design summary.

Compliance Plan Manager Duties:

  • To develop, with the design team and contractor, the RPCE and VCE (the Compliance Plan) based on the building type and associated risks identified in the project and carry out the inspections during construction. The CPM may bring experience that highlights risks that may have been overlooked.
  • To co-ordinate and liaise with the contractor on their planned inspection of works.
  • To co-ordinate the certification and inspections by others, including the designer, contractor; sub-contractors and specialists.
  • To act as the single point of contact for the LA Building Standards Verifiers and to facilitate all verification inspections.
  • To ensure that the approved building warrant plans match the building as constructed at least in relation to all building warrant matters to enable the submission of the CC.
  • To maintain and compile a record of compliance evidence (consisting of a full and complete documentation for the RP (RPCE) and the VCE required to support the submission of the CC. This must be in an electronic format that can be transferred to new owners and be updated where necessary throughout the life of the building.
  • The role of CPM would not include responsibility for the supervision of any contractors. That would be a matter for each individual to ensure they were working to agreed quality assurance standards or standards and codes set by contractual arrangement, their company, trade association or professional body.
  • To confirm that the Compliance Plan has been fully discharged.
  • The CPM will play a vital role in the process. Without the assurances provided by the CPM that the Compliance Plan has been properly discharged, it is expected that the verifier, under their duty to undertake reasonable inquiry, would not be in a position to accept a completion submission application. This would mean the building would not be able to be sold, occupied or possibly insured.
  • The verifier would also be expected to consider if the CC had been submitted properly. If any person submits a CC containing a statement which that person knows to be false or misleading in a material particular or recklessly submits a CC containing a statement which is false or misleading in a material particular, the person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
  • The intention is that the CPM role or responsibilities will be applicable to any project and as such has scalability in application dependent on the nature of the project. Many building owners/clients may see the value in independent scrutiny of a builder.
  • The change of a CPM should be notified to the verifier as soon as possible with the RP being responsible for ensuring the continuity of compliance.

Contact

Email: thomson.dyer@gov.scot