Publication - Advice and guidance

Building standards operating framework: April 2021

Published: 31 Mar 2021

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

Building standards operating framework: April 2021
Annex A – Considerations for the Appointment of Verifiers

Annex A – Considerations for the Appointment of Verifiers

Before making an appointment as a verifier under section 7(1)(a) of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, the considerations to which
the Scottish Ministers shall have regard include Qualifications; Competence; Accountability to the Public; and Impartiality.

Qualifications

Verifiers shall have suitably qualified and experienced staff to undertake their verification work. Verifiers shall have procedures in place for resourcing technical specialists when they are not available in-house.

Building standards service staff range from trainees and building standards officers, through to senior officers, team leaders and managers. Professional roles include (but are not necessarily limited to) surveyors, engineers and architects.

New recruits should typically be on a career progression pathway leading to, or already possess, at least a degree level qualification in a relevant discipline, such as building surveying, building engineering or architecture. Chartered professional status (e.g. RICS, CABE or CIOB) is an integral part of career progression and be supported by experience in the field where possible. Attainment of chartered professional status should be encouraged as part of Continuous Professional Development in the role (see 'Competence').

There may be instances where longstanding staff members with extensive proven and relevant experience do not already possess chartered professional status and verifiers may use their discretion in determining whether this route would be appropriate.

There may be instances where the verifier does not have the appropriate technical specialists in-house and will need to resource them externally.

Competence

Verifiers shall undertake a competence assessment of staff using the Competence Assessment System, and regular performance and development reviews with staff and support their training and professional development. Chartered professional staff should also undertake a programme of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to ensure they maintain up-to-date knowledge and competence relevant to their role.

Competence is shaped by the nature of working activities and based around having a safe, efficient and skilled workforce. Competence therefore designates the ability to independently perform a role or task to the required standards. Individual competence is required to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and safety but must be enabled and supported by effective managerial and organisation capability.

It is important that verifiers allocate work using a risk-based approach. This should ensure that assessment and inspection activities are allocated to the most appropriately competent, qualified, skilled and experienced staff depending on the nature, complexity and risks involved in each case. A risk-based approach should allow more junior verification staff to become involved in certain verification activities where this would support their professional development, however, these staff must be subject to appropriate levels of supervision.

Accountability to the Public

Verifiers shall undertake verification in an open and transparent way. Sufficient, relevant, timely and accurate information must be made available to the public in an easily accessible format so that local verification services can be subject to appropriate public scrutiny.

Verifiers entrusted with public resources must be answerable for their actions and there must be redress when duties and commitments are not met. Achieving public accountability requires minimum standards of service to be set and maintained. These standards must be sufficiently robust to protect the public interest and ensure that buildings are safe and compliant with the building regulations. The standards must also ensure a consistent and high quality verification service that places the customer at its heart.

Impartiality

Verifiers shall have procedures in place to validate the impartial nature of verification activities within and between local authorities and enable good practice to be shared.

Verifiers must undertake their activities and make decisions based on objective criteria. These criteria must be designed to serve the public interest and meet the requirements of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. Their work must be carried out in an unbiased way, without prejudice and without preference to one person or organisation over another for improper reasons.


Contact

Email: buildingstandards@gov.scot