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LABC expresses “repeat concerns” over building control capacity

26 February 2024

AS PART of its ongoing dialogue with Government departments and the Health and Safety Executive, Local Authority Building Control (LABC) has sent a detailed letter to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Building Safety Regulator and the Welsh Government repeating its concerns in relation to building control capacity given the 6 April deadline for the registration of the building control profession.

The letter, which is signed by LABC CEO Lorna Stimpson, concentrates on the aforementioned deadline and its implications on local authorities going forward, while also proposing suggestions as to how Government could mitigate some of the key issues outlined.

LABC explained: “We feel it’s important to consider all of the options available at this stage to ensure that, come 6 April 2024, the pipeline of construction, compliance and enforcement is not negatively impacted.”

As things stand, the LABC asserts that “a significant number” of building control professionals will not achieve successful certification – and, that being so, registration – ahead of the stated deadline.

Active encouragement

At present, LABC is “actively encouraging” all building control surveyors to submit their applications “as soon as possible. In parallel, the organisation – which represents all local authority building control teams in England and Wales – is “undertaking an urgent review of the position of all local authorities to determine their position with regards to the number of surveyors likely to be certified and registered prior to the deadline”. According to LABC: “The picture does not currently look encouraging.”

Lorna Stimpson and the team at LABC have requested that the deadline should be extended by six months or more.

LABC has asserted: “Legal advice is clear. Those who have not achieved registration by the legislative deadline are not able to meet the contractual obligations of their role and, as such, could have their employment terminated by their employer. This is the same for [practitioners in] both the public and private sector and yet another pressure added to already struggling surveyors.”

Validation of competence

On a positive note, LABC states that there are many experienced and technically skilled surveyors from across England and Wales who have already had their competence validated via the Building Safety Competence Foundation (BSCF) and other routes, while “many more” will be joining them before the Government’s proposed deadline.

There are over 500 surveyors being assessed by the BSCF in the coming three weeks, in fact, all of whom will receive their results in time for the 6 April deadline. LABC explained: “We are aware that the other two independent assessment schemes are working equally hard to ensure that those surveyors who have applied are assessed in time.”

Developers, architects and clients concerned about the availability of building control services “should be reassured” that the BSCF is doing everything it can to ensure that as many surveyors as possible have had their competence validated by the deadline such that oversight of projects remains unaffected.

For its part, LABC “will continue to work positively with all parties” in the managed transition to the new building control regime, providing updates to LABC members and, indeed, all stakeholders over the coming weeks.