Knight’s Guide to Building Control Law and Regulations

Commentary

Knight's Guide to Building Control Law and Regulations

Issue 88
November 2019

As was also reported in our Issues earlier this year, visible progress on implementing the Hackitt Inquiry recommendations by the government this summer continues to be tardy. This of course is due to its time being largely absorbed by the need to find a way of carrying forward the Brexit process currently intended to be completed by the 31 October 2019.

However, it is pleasing to note that one of the main recommendations of Hackitt, the clarification and updating of the Approved Documents for Part B (Fire Safety), was achieved in April and new versions of the documents were published in July. Commentary on the matter is included in Section 7 and the new documents are included with this issue.

With the resignation in July of Prime Minister Theresa May in favour of the newly appointed leader of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson and the formation of a new administration, it should now be possible to contemplate an acceleration of the processes needed to implement the Hackitt recommendations.

In this Issue the Sections listed below have had some changes made to them.

Section 1 Legal Overview
Section 1 Annex Future of Building Control
Section 4 Building Act 1984
Section 5 Building Regulations – consultation papers
Section 6 Ancillary legislation
Section 7 Approved Documents and British Standards
Section 10 Appeals and Determinations
Section 11 Circulars and Guidance
Section 15 Planning Matters
Section 16 Water and Drainage
Section 17 Fire Safety Legislation

In particular:
Section 1 The tortuous processes involved in allowing the government to implement the result of the Referendum on the European Union are further recorded. At the time of writing, the government was still focussed on achieving an agreement or otherwise with the EU in a manner that could allow for a parting of the ways to occur on the 31 October 2019.

Annex to Section 1 The Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire disaster continues its work and this is duly recorded in updated text. The Inquiry will continue for some time yet and its progress will continue to be covered in subsequent Issues.

Section 4 Minor adjustments have been made to the text relating to the legal provisions for dealing with dangerous or defective buildings for localised parts of East Anglia.

Annex to Section 5 The Government has set out proposals for further amendments to Building Regulations for England in two Consultation Papers both of which are reviewed. One proposal is that new dwellings etc in future must be provided with electric vehicle charging points (EVCs). The second paper proposes a lowering of the height at which the provision of sprinklers will become mandatory in high-rise buildings containing homes.

The second consultation arises from an analysis by the MHCLG of the responses made on proposals made earlier this year for the further enhancement of Approved Documents B after their consolidation and following further research being concluded. But the analysis identified that many organisations thought that increasing the use of sprinklers in certain buildings was something that should be treated as a priority for earlier consideration.

Section 6 Reference or commentary has been added to text concerning:
  • Government advice on complying with the EU Construction Products Regulation in the event of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement, the so-called ‘no-deal’ scenario.

  • Government advice on recognising EU qualified architects in the event of the UK leaving the EU under a ‘no-deal’ situation.

  • A change to the designated listings of football grounds in the current Safety of Sports Grounds Order.

    Section 7 This has had its regular update recording the amendments and changes made recently by the British Standards Institute to standards called up by the Approved Documents for England.

    Text has been included on a Paper issued by Wales on proposed amendments to its AD B relating to the acceptance or otherwise of assessments in lieu of tests when evaluating fire resistance proposals under Part B.

    Reference has also been made to the consolidated versions of Approved Document B for England, volumes 1 and 2 published in July together with corrections found to be necessary after they were published. The corrections are also listed in MHCLG circular 03/2019 in Section 11

    Text is also included regarding the MHCLG listing of published research papers concerning means to resist the build-up of moisture in buildings, a matter related to the requirements of Part C of course and the guidance found in its Approved Document.

    Section 10 This has been updated to include for a recent Determination case regarding compliance or otherwise with Welsh Building Regulation 37A (Automatic fire suppression systems).

    Section 15 New government guidance issued in respect of appeals taken under s 76 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 has been reviewed and text added together with some updating of related text concerning the Permitted Development Rights Guide for householders.

    Amendments to fees regulations for applications and to the levies imposed for community infrastructure have been reviewed and relevant text added. Three sets of Special Development Orders have been referenced on certain special arrangements that will need to be made by the government in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

    Section 16 Changes made to the text in this Section includes commentary on OFWAT responses relating to Sewerage sector guidance and to the new-connections charging regimes for Wales and for England. There is also commentary on the revised recommendations from Water UK regarding Water sector guidance together with a proposal from OFWAT to extend the powers of the Water Industry Act 1991 to apply it in the Isles of Scilly.

    Section 17 Reference has been added to the 5th Edition of the ‘Procedural Guide for Building Control Bodies and Fire and Rescue Authorities on Building Regulations and Fire Safety’. It is intended that this publication will be reviewed for the next Issue.