Building standards fee income and re-investment in service delivery: review

Research looking at the fee income generated by building warrant applications and the level of re-investment of income back into the local authority building standards service following the 2017 fee increase. It also provides initial modelling for a new building standards fees model.

1.3 Methodology

1.3.1 There were three main components to the research:

  • Analysis of published data and data held by BSD.
  • Stakeholder engagement including:
    • An online survey of Scottish local authorities.
    • Consultations with Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) and Local Authority Building Control (LABC).
    • Consultations with eight Scottish local authorities and four English building control departments.
  • Modelling of different options for changing fee rates.

1.3.2 The analysis of published and other data was undertaken to establish the current position of the building standards service in Scotland including the number of building warrant applications, fee income associated with these applications, the cost of delivering the building standards service, the number of certificates of design and construction and the performance of the Scottish local authorities on the key performance indicators.

1.3.3 An online survey of all 32 local authorities was undertaken with 19[3] authorities responding which represents a response rate of 59%. A copy of the questionnaire in included in Annex A which sought to consider:

  • The extent to which fee income covers the cost of delivering the verification service.
  • The role of grant aided expenditure (GAE) in supporting statutory functions.
  • The level of re-investment in the service following the 2017 fee increase.
  • Future changes to the verification delivery model and effects on workload.
  • Additional data to assist with modelling fee income.

1.3.4 To further our understanding of these matters, more detailed consultations were undertaken with eight[4] local authorities. The case studies were selected to reflect a range of authorities in terms of their urban/rural position, their size in terms of the number of building warrant applications, their position in terms of verification income and expenditure and their performance on key performance outcomes (KPO) KPO1 and KPO4.

1.3.5 Consultations were undertaken with four[5] English building control departments to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the approach to fee setting in England and Wales where local authorities set their own fees.

1.4 Report Structure

1.4.1 The report is organised as follows:

  • Section 2 assesses the income and expenditure associated with the verification and building standards service for Scotland and by local authority. It draws on published statistics and data held by BSD.
  • Section 3 provides an overview of the performance of the local authorities against three of the KPOs – KPO1, KPO4, KPO5.
  • Section 4 analyses the change in fee income which occurred following the 2017 fees increase. The analysis considers the effect on grant aided expenditure and the level of reinvestment in the service.
  • Section 5 provides an overview of the approach to fee setting in England and Wales and considers the issues related to that approach.
  • Section 6 considers future changes to the building standards system and the potential additional costs associated with the changes.
  • Section 7 sets out a number of options for raising additional income from fees.
  • Section 8 sets out details of the “fee model” and the results of modelling the different options for raising fees.



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