6. Quality of Service
6.1 Advice, guidance and staff service
Around two thirds of surveyed customers (67%) agree that they received sufficient advice and guidance from the local authority verifier building standards service. This is a slight decrease from 69% in 2019. A majority of 64% feel the advice and guidance they received was consistent and 68% found it generally helpful (Figure 12).
The strength of satisfaction is much higher among applicants than among agents, with over two thirds of applicants (69%) being generally satisfied with the quality of advice and guidance received, compared to just over half of agents (53%) (Figures 13 and 14, respectively).
The majority of customers (82%) agree that building standards staff were polite and courteous, which is 2% lower than in 2019. The strongest areas of disagreement relate to feeling valued as a customer (21% disagree) and feeling that someone took ownership of the enquiry (17% disagree) – Figure 15.
The strength of satisfaction follows a similar pattern between applicants and agents, with higher proportions of agents strongly agreeing and being less prone to disagree than direct applicants, in a switch from previous years (Figures 16 and 17, respectively).
Customers strongly agreeing and/or strongly disagreeing with at least one of the above statements were asked to provide their reasons.
Customers stating ‘strongly agree’
A total of 1,577 customers provided supporting reasons. The most common adjectives given to describe staff (from most to least cited) are as follows:
A small number of respondents, particularly direct applicants, commended building standards staff for helping them to interpret the standards and regulations and proactively helping customers to resolve any technical issues or sticking points.
“I felt my allocated officer was very knowledgeable and the technical terms I didn’t understand she explained in a language that I did understand.”
“From the admin staff to the building control officer, everyone provided me with clear and helpful advice.”
“Everything was done in a timely manner and technical issues were resolved without drama and with mutual respect.”
Customers stating ‘strongly disagree’
A total of 461 customers provided supporting explanations for their disagreement. Many reiterated concerns raised previously, including lack of responsiveness to queries, inaccessible staff, inefficiency, and inconsistency in the quality of service between different officers in a single local authority verifier.
“I was given guidance on a technical enquiry by one building standards officer prior to submitting a warrant application which was then proved incorrect by the officer dealing with the application. This resulted in a late design change to the building being required.”
“A detailed application was submitted, the feedback for further information was inconsistent and didn't mirror the application. The period of time between the application and return of information is painfully slow, we chase constantly and do not get any feedback.”
6.2 Inspection visits
Just over half of customers (52%) confirmed that an inspection visit was undertaken by building standards service staff (Figure 18). This is 14% lower than in 2019.
Among customers confirming that an inspection visit had taken place, the majority (84% on average) were satisfied with various specific aspects of the visit (Figure 19). This is the same proportion as in 2019.
Satisfaction levels are slightly higher among direct applicants than agents (Figures 20 and 21, respectively).
6.3 Meeting the requirements
Almost all surveyed customers (95%) stated that they were aware of the need to notify the building standards service prior to commencing warrantable work. This is a 2% decrease from 2019. Awareness is marginally lower among direct applicants (94%) than agents (over 99%).
Respondents were also asked if they were aware of and/or familiar with the Construction Compliance Notification Plan (CCNP), which is issued by the local authority verifier at the same time as the building warrant is granted. The majority of agents said that they are aware (90%), which is an increase of 4% from 2019. Less than half of direct applicants are aware (48%), which is a small decrease of 1% from 2019. Familiarity has decreased from 38% in 2019 to 36% this year (Figure 22).