8.1 Making contact with the building standards service
On a scale from 1 ‘very difficult’ to 10 ‘very easy’, customers were asked to rate how easy they found making contact with their local authority verifier building standards service. Average ratings are broadly similar for each contact channel, with email appearing to be the easiest.
Those customers finding it generally easy to make contact described an efficient service with few or no issues, supported by helpful, prompt and approachable staff.
Customers providing lower ratings have had opposing experiences referring to unanswered emails, slow response times to communications, staff not being available and phones going to voicemail and messages being unanswered. Many customers put these issues down to staffing issues in the service and staff starting to work from home due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The impact of Covid-19 also meant that meeting staff in person could not go ahead but instead some inspections and site visits took place using online video conferencing platforms.
Half of surveyed customers (51%) agree that building standards service staff are accessible if they want to meet with them in person. This is a decrease from 58% in 2019. Applicants are more satisfied than agents, with 52% and 48% in agreement, respectively (Figure 28).
Just under three quarters of customers (72%) agree that building standards service staff are approachable. This is a slight decrease from 75% in 2019. Agents (73%) are slightly more likely than applicants (71%) to agree on this (Figure 29).
8.2 Visiting the offices of the building standards service
Fewer than a quarter of surveyed customers (23%) reported having visited the offices of their local authority verifier building standards service – a continued decrease from 33% in 2019 and 42% in 2018. Instances of customers visiting the offices has decreased among direct applicants (19%, down from 27% in 2019) and agents (3%, down from 46% in 2019) – Figure 30.
The majority of those customers who visited the offices of their local authority verifier building standards service (82%) are satisfied with various specific aspects of their visit (Figure 31). This is the same level as in 2019.