Regulatory change is coming

There has been much talk about the need for change in the Building Regulations, driven as much by consumer related demand as by Dame Judith Hackitt’s Interim Report on Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

A major problem with the regulations today is the confusion that the extensive documents generate in the minds of those who want to be compliant.

Even though there will be amends to regulation – publicised as a triumph for consumer care and protection – industry will remain concerned about the legal ramifications and understanding what the documents are saying.

This type of environment often creates opportunities for those who profit from perplexity at the detriment to the market as a whole.

Historically there was an Explanatory Booklet for the Building Regulations, but this has been without update since 2005 when Part P was introduced into electrics. Therefore, guidance has previously been short within industry with associations and bodies seeming to profit more from confusion than making it easy to understand.

Installers say they cannot see the line between requirement by law and the best practice guidance of the association or manufacturer.

The cost of compliance has been raised even before the amendments, and upcoming TV campaigns from within the sector, will unfortunately focus on breeding fear within the consumer mindset where the only shining light is to look for a specific logo.

However, government has not been asleep, and whereas we often feel it moves at a glacial pace, what will come will level the playing field as regards to information on regulatory compliance.

Consequently, we will see a reinstatement of the Building Regulations Manual, aimed at the largest number of people possible. This will provide information, in a form that is understandable, to consumers and industry alike about how to interpret what is within regulations.

This manual will most likely be produced digitally to ensure maximum availability and is aimed at enabling all people to understand their responsibilities and remove any confusion that occurs from third-party interpretation.

Through its guidance, consumers and industry will understand: where building control bodies are required; competent person schemes; approved inspectors; and information concerning materials and workmanship.

This move can only help the relationship between consumer and tradesman, and it is one that we at Certass fully support.