Why we are consulting
Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, London in June 2017 a Ministerial Working Group (MWG) was set up to oversee a review of building and fire safety with two expert review panels being created. One panel considering Fire Safety and the other focussing on Compliance and Enforcement, the latter chaired by Professor John Cole who had led on the independent inquiry into the collapse of a brick outer wall at Oxgangs primary school in February 2017 during a storm. The review panels published their reports and recommendations and this consultation focusses on recommendations from the Compliance and Enforcement report.
The review panel on Compliance and Enforcement in Scotland concluded that the Scottish system is not broken but that evidence clearly shows there is a need to strengthen compliance, both in relation to statutory procedural requirements and in addressing non-compliant work on site.
The report also concluded that the current system in Scotland has much to commend it, in particular the pre-emptive aspect of obtaining a building warrant prior to starting on site. The benefits of this element of the Scottish approach were recognised in the Dame Judith Hackitt report on building standards in England, which recommended the adoption of the Scottish pre-emptive approach for use in the case of high rise residential buildings and other higher risk developments.
Despite the recognised benefits of the current system in Scotland, recent evidence has indicated that there are issues that need to be addressed, particularly in relation to how effectively the system is actually implemented, especially during the construction phase to ensure works are completed as intended with the design and approved building warrant.
The review panel concluded that, whilst simultaneously maintaining the core elements of the system, some reshaping would be advised to ensure that it addresses the identified weaknesses. The focus of this reshaping is to improve aspects of the current system and its implementation, not to fundamentally change it.
In 2018 the Scottish Government consulted on the review panels recommendations. A total of 222 survey responses were received, and 246 individuals attended awareness events that were held around the country.
This consultation seeks to build on the findings from the 2018 consultation which have already been accepted as part of the new Compliance Plan process (as included in Annex B) and further develop the work on compliance and enforcement. Views are sought on strengthening the system by adding additional requirements, including a new Compliance Plan Manager role that will manage compliance, as set out in the agreed Compliance Plan, from the start of a project through to its completion. It will also look to strengthen enforcement measures by considering the use of fines and penalties for offences.
This CPM role would apply only to High Risk Building Types (HRBs) and the consultation seeks views on the types of buildings classed as HRBs. Views are also sought 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.
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