Publication - Advice and guidance

Building standards operating framework: April 2021

Defines operational standards to be met by local authority verifiers and how to meet them.

24 page PDF

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24 page PDF

426.1 kB

Contents
Building standards operating framework: April 2021
2. Functions of a Verifier

24 page PDF

426.1 kB

2. Functions of a Verifier

The following pages summarise requirements under each of these functions. The considerations of appointment are explained in Annex A.

Function

Description of requirements

1.1

Acceptance of verifier appointment

Function:

Verifiers must meet the terms and any conditions of their appointment.

Verifiers must accept the verification operating framework and verification performance framework.

Prescription:

Verifiers must demonstrate that they meet the terms and any conditions of their appointment.

Verifiers must demonstrate acceptance of the verification operating framework and verification performance framework and compliance with the frameworks.

1.2

Resourcing

Function:

Verifiers must have staff with the appropriate competence, qualifications and experience, and have contingencies for when resourcing is not available in-house.

Prescription:

Verifiers must demonstrate that they have the appropriate staff and record their competence, qualifications, experience and training, refer to Annex A.

Staff competence, qualifications, experience and training must be maintained through CPD records, which are maintained and available for inspection. Staff holding professional membership are responsible for maintaining and recording their CPD records, and their availability for inspection.

Verifiers must demonstrate they have measures in place for resourcing staff when specialisms are not available in-house, for example for checking structural designs and fire engineered designs.

1.3

Business management and operational resilience

Function:

Verifiers must have business planning in place and have embedded risk management and continuous improvement in their service. Verifiers must have provisions in place to minimise disruption to service operation as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

Prescription:

Verifiers must demonstrate that they meet their appointment criteria, have business planning in place and have embedded risk management and continuous improvement in their service. Verifiers must demonstrate measures are in place:

to fulfil their appointment criteria and meet the performance framework

for the proportionate risk management of processes which enable identification, management and mitigation of risks that may prevent verification services, threaten sustainability of the business and the reputation of buildings standards compliance generally

to ensure operational continuity in the face of events such as the loss of key staff, staff illness, fire and flood damage

to protect data from unrecoverable loss, unauthorised access or theft

to ensure that, in the case of ceasing to trade, core information and resources have been maintained in such a way that a successor organisation can be appointed to take over responsibility for ongoing operation of verification services

Desk instructions must be provided for essential processes to support operational integrity should changes to staff or systems occur.

Desk instructions must be regularly maintained and reflect current practices.

1.4

Financial integrity

Function:

Verifiers must demonstrate that they have appropriate arrangements in place to ensure financial integrity and continued operation.

Prescription:

Verifiers must submit performance returns and financial reports to the Scottish Government to demonstrate the ongoing viability of the appointment.

Verifiers must provide evidence of compliance with corporate policies on anti-bribery and corruption.

1.5

Conflict of interest

Function:

Verifiers must operate to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between operation as a Verifier and any other activities they undertake (corporately and individual staff).

Prescription:

Verifiers must assess and record such risks and record activities and measures put in place to demonstrate that any conflict of interest is resolved.

2. Administration Of Building Warrant Applications And Completion Certificate Submissions

Function

Description of requirements

2.1

Risk management of applications for building warrants

Function:

Verifiers must have risk assessment protocols in place for dealing with applications for building warrants.

Prescription:

Verifiers must have processes and measures in place to demonstrate a risk-based approach to dealing with applications for building warrants.

Verifiers must integrate 'local' project and process related risks to 'local authority' operational and strategic risks.

2.2

Risk management of completion certificate submissions (including inspection regimes)

Function:

Verifiers must have risk assessment protocols in place for dealing with completion certificate submissions and determining inspection regimes.

Prescription:

Verifiers must have processes and measures in place to demonstrate a risk-based approach to determining and undertaking inspection regimes and dealing with completion certificate submissions.

Verifiers must integrate 'local' project and process related risks to 'local authority' operational and strategic risks.

2.3

Quality assurance of building warrant and completion certificate decisions

Function:

Verifiers must have quality assurance procedures in place for building warrant decisions (granted/refused) and completion certificate submission decisions (accepted/rejected), and to undertake appropriate corrective action where the required standard is not met.

Prescription:

Verifiers must have processes and measures in place to ensure that a minimum sample (5%) of the total number of building warrant applications decided and completion certificate submissions decided is checked for accuracy.

Verifiers must ensure that samples are checked regularly, and sampling considers risk profiles of applications and submissions and staff competencies.

The sample should be based upon a random sample, augmented by any identified need for targeted audit as a result of complaints or requests from other organisations identified by the Scottish Government.

2.4

Adherence to legislative procedures, appeals and complaints

Function:

Verifiers must adhere to legislative procedures and deadlines, appeals processes and complaints processes.

Prescription:

Verifiers must have processes and controls in place to meet legislative procedures and deadlines.

Verifiers must demonstrate they have measures in place for managing decisions and non-compliance, and must record compliance with legislation and other processes. Details of key legislative procedures are set out in Annex B.

Verifiers must proactively communicate with applicants at relevant times regarding key decisions and implications.

These measures must be applied in a fair and open way, including that those carrying out the assessment of applications and complaints declare any conflict of interest.

3. Maintain Records To Facilitate Effective Business Operation And Periodic Audit By The Scottish Government

Function

Description of requirements

3.1

Provision of information for business and performance management (including minimum requirements for review and record keeping)

Function:

Verifier must maintain and review all procedures, documentations and systems to ensure they remain relevant to their role as a Verifier.

Prescription:

This must include local and national policies, technical and procedural guidance, and management information systems (casework and documents). Reviews must address changes:

to meet amended requirements issued by Scottish Government

arising from changes in national or local policy and

where improvements are identified by internal review or examples of wider good practice

Verifiers must advise staff and ensure they are adequately trained in changes to procedures, documents and software requirements, and changes should be clearly identified.

3.2

Provision of information for members of the public (including minimum requirements for review and record keeping)

Function:

Verifier must maintain their Building Standards Register and maintain and review verification-related information for easy access by members of the public.

Prescription:

Verifier must maintain Part I and Part II of the Building Standards Register (BSR) in accordance with legislative requirements.

Verifier must provide appropriate guidance and advice to members of the public, which must be reviewed and updated as necessary. Published guidance and advice must be readily accessible to members of the public. This must include at least the following information:

Part I of the BSR published online (data) and Part II of the BSD available at all reasonable hours (copy documents)

National Customer Charter and updated Annual Verification Performance Report published online

Appeals and complaints procedures

General information about the building standards system

Information on the performance of the Verifier

Verifier must ensure that the requirements of the GDPR and Data Protection Act and other legislation relevant to the form and content of data stored are met.

3.3

Reporting and audit of Verifiers by Scottish Government

Function:

Verifier must provide reports and information for Scottish Government under section 34 of the Act in relation to their functions as a Verifier. Each Verifier will be subject to audit by the Scottish Government under section 40 of The Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 or by an organisation appointed on their behalf.

Prescription:

Verifier must provide reports and information as requested by Scottish Government in relation to their verification activity. These may cover their verification business and performance, and include data and contextual information.

The following key points are identified:

Verifiers to provide reports and information (for example returns in accordance with the Performance Framework for Verifiers 2017)

Verifiers to publish an Annual Verification Performance Report (template in the Performance Framework for Verifiers 2017)

Verifiers to be subject to audit during their term of appointment

A programme for audit will be developed and notice of audit will be provided at least six months in advance (except when an emergency audit is deemed necessary)

Verifiers will be required to provide reports and information prior to audit

Reporting and audit of Verifiers by Scottish Government – continued

Verifiers must:

allow monitoring of operations periodically to ensure that it continues to meet the terms of its appointment.
This includes access to their operations and records for audit

maintain records in a form that allows audit of the successful implementation of the functions set out in this document.

Records may be kept either electronically or on paper. Verifiers have to demonstrate to the Auditors how such records can be retrieved if necessary. Back-up data needs to be stored in such a way that it can be reasonably expected to survive instances which might affect the original material stored by the Verifier (fire, theft, various forms of attack on the Verifier's IT systems).


Contact

Email: buildingstandards@gov.scot