Publication - Advice and guidance

Building standards performance framework: April 2021

Published: 31 Mar 2021

Key performance outcomes used to monitor the work of building standards local authority verifiers.

Building standards performance framework: April 2021
4. Key Performance Outcomes

4. Key Performance Outcomes

4.1 Professional Expertise and Technical Processes

KPO1

Minimise time taken to issue a first report or to issue a building warrant or amendment to building warrant.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is to minimise the time taken for customers to obtain a building warrant, or amendment to building warrant, whilst maintaining the appropriate levels of competent plan assessment.

Turnaround time is important for the majority of customers seeking a building warrant, or an amendment to building warrant, as this allows them to start work.

Turnaround times are influenced by the verifier and the customer (applicants and agents). In addition to the verifier assessment, other influencing factors include the complexity of the project, customer actions, and the quality and number of submissions.

An important aspect of overall performance is the time it takes for the verifier to issue the first full technical assessment (first report) to the customer.

Requirements of verifiers

1. Maintain records of applications for building warrant and amendment to building warrant with breakdowns for reporting work categories and value of work categories.

2. Maintain records of the time taken from receipt of a valid1 application to issue a 'first report'.2

3. Maintain records of the time taken from receipt of all satisfactory information to issue a building warrant, or amendment to building warrant.

4. Maintain records of the overall time taken from receipt of a valid application to the time to issue a building warrant, or amendment to building warrant.

5. Seek to minimise the time taken to issue a building warrant whilst maintaining high standards of verification.

6. Maintain records of applications for building warrant that utilised customer agreements.3

Reporting

The triggers for KPO1 are:

  • the issue of a first report to an application for building warrant, or amendment to building warrant, within the reporting period.
  • the issue of a building warrant, or amendment to building warrant, within the reporting period.

Data reporting:

Number of first reports issued.

Number of first reports issued (and building warrants and amendments issued without a first report):

  • within 15 days
  • in more than 15 days and within 20 days
  • in more than 20 days and within 35 days
  • in more than 35 days.

Number of building warrants and amendments to building warrant issued.

Number of building warrants and amendments to building warrant issued (following a first or subsequent report) within the following days of the verifier receiving all satisfactory information:

  • within 6 days
  • in more than 6 days and within 10 days
  • in more than 10 days and within 15 days
  • in more than 15 days.

Number of days taken from receipt of a valid application for building warrant or amendment to building warrant to issue the building warrant or amendment to building warrant (i.e. the overall time taken by verifier and applicant).

Number of building warrants that utilised customer agreements.

Reporting

Context reporting (if necessary):

Commentary on any significant changes from previous reporting period(s).

The number of days in 1.2 and 1.5 are working days measured from receipt of a valid application for building warrant or amendment to building warrant.

The number of days in 1.4 are working days measured from when the verifier receives the final piece of information allowing them to issue the building warrant or amendment to building warrant.

When a first report is not issued because the building warrant or amendment is issued immediately, the case should be reported under 1.2 (i.e. the date of issue of the warrant or amendment should be treated as the date of first report).

The case should not be reported under 1.4.

Three-monthly reporting to the Scottish Government using the ScotXEd web platform. Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

1.1 95% of first reports (for building warrants and amendments) issued within 20 days – all first reports (including Building warrants and amendments issued without a first report).

1.2 90% of building warrants and amendments issued within 10 days from receipt of all satisfactory information – all building warrants and amendments (not including Building warrants and amendments issued without a first report).

Implementation date

For all first reports, building warrants and amendment to building warrants issued from 1 April 2017.

Notes

1 For the purpose of this KPO, a valid application is one that has sufficient information for the verifier to undertake a substantive technical check and be able to issue a first report if one is necessary.

2 If the verifier, following a full technical assessment of the application, cannot issue the warrant, they will issue the "first report". This report indicates any failures to comply or areas requiring further clarification and should provide a level of detail sufficient to identify clearly which standards must be addressed or what further information is required.

3 A Customer Agreement for a project is likely to cover a range of aspects from pre-application through to completion on site. It should include the anticipated time to issue the first report.

KPO2

Increase quality of compliance assessment during the construction processes.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is to promote quality and consistency of compliance assessment by undertaking timed and proportionate reasonable inquiries using a risk-based approach to inspection and other forms of assessment e.g. photographic evidence.

The development of safe and compliant buildings is of paramount importance to building standards verification. This means protecting the public interest by minimising the occurrence of non-compliance with building regulations.

The "relevant person" (usually the building owner or the developer) is responsible for complying with building regulations. The person carrying out work must notify the verifier when work commences, and at other stages determined by the verifier. The verifier will carry out site visits or other means of inquiry to assess compliance during the construction.

When the work is finished, the relevant person must sign the completion certificate confirming compliance with building regulations. The verifier is responsible for accepting or rejecting the completion certificate submission but only after they have made reasonable inquiry.

The verifier issues a Construction Compliance and Notification Plan (CCNP) with the building warrant. This details their risk-based inspection regime and the stages when the relevant person should notify the verifier.

The CCNP will enhance the likelihood of compliance by assisting the verifier to carry out their inspections as work progresses. This approach seeks to promote partnership working on the project between the relevant person and the verifier. It should also give the relevant person a better understanding on both their and the verifier's roles and responsibilities.

Requirements of verifiers

1. Embed risk assessment methodology into normal working practices for undertaking reasonable inquiry before accepting a completion certificate.

2. Issue Construction Compliance and Notification Plans (CCNP) with all building warrants issued.1

3. Maintain records of CCNPs for "accepted" completion certificates2 with breakdown into reporting work categories and value of work categories.

4. Maintain records of numbers of CCNPs that were fully achieved3 in terms of:

  • notification by the relevant person
  • inspection by the verifier.

5. Maintain records of construction non-compliance4 locally and report trends and issues with a national impact to drive forward improvements in verification. Escalate national issues through LABSS for further discussion.

Reporting

The trigger for KPO2 is the acceptance of a completion certificate within the reporting period.

Data reporting:

2.1 Number of CCNPs for 'accepted' completion certificates.

2.2 Number of CCNPs for 'accepted' completion certificates fully achieved by the relevant person and the verifier.

2.3 Number of CCNPs for 'accepted' completion certificates fully achieved by the relevant person (i.e. the relevant person's performance only).

2.4 Number of CCNPs for 'accepted' completion certificates fully achieved by the verifier (i.e. the verifier's performance only).

Context reporting (if necessary):

2.5 The main reasons why CCNPs were not fully achieved (prioritised).

2.6 The main aspects of construction non-compliance found through reasonable inquiry (prioritised).

Three-monthly reporting to the Scottish Government via the ScotXEd web platform. Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

Targets to be developed as part of future review of KPO2.

Implementation date

For all completion certificates accepted from 1 April 2017.

Notes

1 Amendments to building warrant or staged warrants may require review of the CCNP at each stage as the design progresses.

2 Building warrants covering multiple dwellings need a completion certificate for each dwelling. Therefore, CCNP achievement should be reported for each completion certificate, not for the building warrant.

3 Reporting from April 2014 has included the number of CCNPs fully achieved by the relevant person and the number of CCNPs fully achieved by the verifier for use by verifiers who can provide further breakdown.

4 "Construction non-compliance" in this context is a reference to the failure of a building to meet a minimum building standard.

4.2 Quality Customer Experience

KPO3

Commit to the building standards customer charter.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is for verifiers to publish and adhere to the commitments in the building standards customer charter, which contains all required national and local information.

The building standards customer charter has been embedded in all verification services since 2012. It will demonstrate the shared commitment to service levels and a consistent standard of quality across all verifiers.

The customer and the verifier may sometimes have differing opinions over a technical or procedural matter, or consistency of approach with another verifier.

These are often resolved by escalating the query to senior staff in the verifier. Where these queries cannot be resolved within the verification service, the verifier can work in partnership with other verifiers to resolve it or determine a national interpretation.

The customer may have concerns about the performance of the verifier, for example around delays in turnaround times or communication. The customer may report their performance concerns to SG Building Standards Division for investigation.

Notwithstanding the above, a customer dissatisfied with their local authority can use its formal complaints procedure. If they are still not content they can register a complaint with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsmen (SPSO).

Requirements of verifiers

1. Maintain their customer charter and incorporate national performance targets and national and local information into the template.

2. Publish their customer charter prominently on the verifier website.

3. Ensure the facility for online applications through the Scottish Government eBuilding Standards system is detailed in the customer charter.

4. Ensure the customer charter includes details of customer dispute resolution, complaints and performance procedures (e.g. LABSS Dispute Resolution Process, LA complaints procedures, SG Verifier Performance Reporting Service for Customers).

5. Review the national customer charter regularly (at least quarterly) maintaining localised information to ensure contact details and appropriate website links are kept up to date.

6. Apply national building standards verification policies and interpretations.

7. Adhere to the commitments in the national customer charter.

Reporting

3.1 Verifier publishes the national customer charter prominently on their website and incorporates version control detailing reviews (review frequency at least quarterly).

3.2 The number of cases referred to:

  • LABSS Dispute Resolution Process
  • LA Complaints formal procedure
  • SG Verifier Performance Reporting Service for Customers1

3.3 Verifier to demonstrate adherence to the national customer charter through the annual verification performance report under KPO7.

Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

3.1 National customer charter is published prominently on the website and incorporates version control detailing reviews (frequency of reviews to be at least quarterly).

3.2 95% of BSD requests for information on a BSD 'Verifier Performance Reporting Service for Customers' case responded to by verifier within 5 days.

Implementation date

Verifier to publish their customer charter annually, and review quarterly from 1 April 2017.

Notes

1 The SG Verifier Performance Reporting Service for Customers allows building standards customers to report concerns on verifier performance directly to SG Building Standards Division.

KPO4

Understand and respond to the customer experience.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is to monitor customer satisfaction with the building standards service, ensuring the service meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Customer satisfaction is an essential part of building standards verification. Meeting this KPO will enable verifiers to gain a more detailed and comparable understanding of their different customer groups and to be able to respond most appropriately to their needs.

Verifiers should undertake their own local customer engagement through focus groups and other interaction.

Requirements of verifiers

1. To assist the Scottish Government Building Standards Division to supply customer data for research purposes.

2. Promote the national customer survey and inform customers that they may be contacted for research purposes.

3. Use findings from the national customer survey for the purpose of customer segmentation.

4. Use findings from the national customer survey and local engagement to identify and make improvements to the customer experience.

5. Incorporate actions to improve the customer experience into the continuous improvement plan and monitor progress.

Reporting

4.1 Performance to be measured against 'overall satisfaction' rating.

4.2 Verifier to report on any accredited customer service awards such as 'Customer Service Excellence'.

4.3 Verifier to incorporate improvements to the customer experience into their continuous improvement plan and report changes in their annual verification performance report.

4.4 Verifier to demonstrate progress on improvements in 'annual performance reporting' in their annual verification performance report.

Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

4.1 Minimum overall average satisfaction rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Implementation date

The national customer survey is carried out by the Scottish Government annually.

Survey and future frequency to be reviewed for 2023 onwards to consider the following factors:

  • delivery mechanism e.g. using verifier-provided emails or through eBuilding Standards portal registered users.
  • timing e.g. users over last 12 months (as currently) or surveying users at building warrant granting and completion certificate acceptance through the portal.
  • recognition of accredited customer service awards such as 'Customer Service Excellence'.

Long term ownership of national survey.

Notes

Verifiers will be advised by the BSD of any changes to the measures and targets in this KPO where they depend on the national survey process and frequency.

Operational and Financial Efficiency

KPO5

Maintain financial governance.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is to monitor verification fee income and the costs of running the verification service, in order to:

a) identify the relationships between fee income and verification costs, and performance levels

b) identify where efficiencies can be improved

Building standards verification is intended to be financed by the building warrant and associated fees. Underpinning this KPO is the need to ensure that resources including funds, employees, IT and other infrastructure are fully harnessed to ensure efficiencies are maximised.

Requirements of verifiers

1. Maintain records of the income received from building warrant and related statutory fees and the expenditure incurred (staff costs,1 non-staff costs and other verification-related investments2) to run building standards verification services.

2. Maintain records of the value of work for building warrant and amendment applications and completion certificate submissions where no building warrant granted.

3. Have systems in place to identify time spent on verification activity, and thus enable direct staff costs required to run the verification system to be calculated.

4. Undertake regular reviews of income and cost streams in order to inform and embed efficiency savings where possible.

5. Adhere to the national approach for identifying staff costs.

Measurement and reporting

The trigger for KPO5 is a building warrant-related fee received or a verification-related expenditure occurring within the reporting period.

Data reporting:

Value of work:

5.1 Value of works for building warrant-related applications and submissions.

Verification costs:

5.2 Staff costs for verification – overall and separate breakdowns for 'plan checking' and 'inspection'.

5.3 Non-staff costs associated with verification.

5.4 Other verification-related investment (not included in 5.2 or 5.3).

Fee income:

5.5 Building warrant-related fee income.

Context reporting (if necessary):

5.6 The main reasons for significant changes to value or work, expenditure or fee income.

5.7 The main reasons for significant variations in the relationship between verification fee income and costs.

5.8 Verifier to demonstrate financial performance in the annual verification performance report under KPO7.

Three-monthly reporting to the Scottish Government via the ScotXEd web platform. Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

5.1 Building standards verification fee income to cover indicative verification service costs (staff costs plus 30%).

Implementation date

Verifiers to record all financial data from 1 April 2017.

Notes

1 Staff costs are the costs for technical and support staff directly involved in the verification service. They include wages and salaries, social security costs, pension costs and temporary staff costs. They should include any costs for specialist services outsourced due to verifier not having appropriate resources available in-house e.g. structural, fire engineering or energy design checking.

2 An example of other types of investment might be new or upgraded hardware and software for eBuilding Standards enablement.

KPO6

Commit to eBuilding Standards.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is to promote the digitisation of verification services to improve customer interaction and maximise efficiencies.

Customers have been able to submit building warrant and related applications electronically to verifiers through the Scottish Government eBuilding Standards system since August 2016. Verifiers have been undertaking substantial improvements to digitise their services and invest in new technology.

The application is the formal start of the verification journey for customer. It is important that digitisation is continued through the other verification activities that lead to the successful sign-off of the completed building.

Requirements of verifiers

1. eBuilding Standards details are published prominently on the website.

2. Maintain records of building warrant-related applications and submissions through the eBuilding Standards portal.

3. Maintain records of the extent of digital processing of verification activities i.e. the key activities from receipt of a building warrant application or amendment through to acceptance of a completion certificate.

Reporting

The triggers for KPO6 are when an application reaches each key processing stage as it passes through the building standards system.

Data reporting:

Numbers of applications for building warrant, amendments to building warrant, completion certificates and other forms submitted through the eBuilding Standards system.

Extent of digitisation of building warrant-related processes:

  • Plan checking being done electronically
  • Building warrant or amendments (and plans) being issued electronically
  • Verification during construction being done electronically
  • Completion certificates being accepted electronically

Context reporting (if necessary):

6.3 The main reasons for significant changes.

6.4 Verifier to demonstrate commitment to digital services in the annual verification performance report under KPO7.

Reporting under 6.2 is for all applications i.e. those submitted electronically, by paper or a combination of both. It is not limited to applications submitted via the SG online portal.

Three-monthly reporting to the Scottish Government using the ScotXEd web platform. Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public. Three-monthly reporting to the Scottish Government using the ScotXed web platform. Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

6.1 Details of eBuilding Standards are published prominently on the verifier's website.

6.2 75% of each key building warrant-related process being done electronically:

  • Plan checking
  • Building warrant or amendments (and plans) being issued
  • Verification during construction
  • Completion certificates being accepted

Implementation date

For each key verification processing stage, from 1 April 2017.

Notes

None

KPO7

Commit to objectives outlined in the annual verification performance report.

Purpose

The aim of this KPO is for verifiers to demonstrate their commitment to:

  • building standards verification and services
  • meeting strategic objectives and outcomes
  • business planning
  • customers
  • partnership working
  • continuous improvement
  • verification performance

Progress should be demonstrated in each verifier's building standards annual verification performance report.

Verifiers have used a balanced scorecard approach since 2005 to report performance across key areas to Scottish Ministers. Since 2012 the performance framework has focussed on three core perspectives with two cross-cutting themes underpinning them. An additional cross-cutting perspective has been introduced from 2017 to recognise the value of partnership working.

Continuous improvement refers to the dynamic and ongoing effort to improve services and processes, respond better to customer needs and adapt in a changing business environment. Services should embed a culture of learning and improvement to evolve, become more effective and ensure business outcomes continue to be achieved.

From 2017, the balanced scorecard and continuous improvement plan templates have been refined to allow the verifier to report performance across the framework and KPOs. The annual verification performance report template will enable a consistent approach to structure and content and contribute towards transparency and accountability to the public.

Requirements of verifiers

1. Maintain the annual verification performance report using the relevant template and set out performance in relation to the following:

Core perspectives:

  • Professional Expertise and Technical Processes
  • Quality Customer Experience
  • Operational and Financial Efficiency

Cross cutting themes:

  • Public interest
  • Continuous improvement
  • Partnership working

2. Publish and promote the performance report prominently on the verifier website.

3. Review the performance report regularly (at least three-monthly) and update any service or corporate changes.

4. Provide annual update to performance report on progress against the performance framework.

Reporting

7.1 Verifier publishes their annual verification performance report prominently on their website and incorporates version control detailing reviews (reviewed at least quarterly).

7.2 Verifier to include annual performance data for the previous year including demonstration of adherence to the performance outcomes.

Three-monthly reporting to the Scottish Government using
the ScotXEd web platform. Reporting is to inform the verifier, Scottish Government and the public.

Performance targets

7.1 Annual verification performance report published prominently on website with version control (reviewed at least quarterly).

7.2 Annual verification performance report to include performance data in line with KPOs and associated targets (annually covering previous year e.g. April 2020 – March 2021).

The report is to include:

  • adherence to the national customer charter (KPO3)
  • appropriate actions to respond to customer feedback (KPO4)
  • financial performance (KPO5)
  • commitment to digital services (KPO6)

Implementation date

Verifiers to review performance report quarterly, and publish annually from 1 May 2018.

Notes

None.


Contact

Email: buildingstandards@gov.scot