The regulatory changes impacting the profession

Following my inauguration, it is back to business as usual both at NHBC and CABE, and it is still fair to say that, as an industry, there are several challenges at this unprecedented time of regulatory change.

These are challenging times by any standard, with significant industry reforms creating a great deal of change for many members – changes to the standards and regulations we use daily, and changes to our job roles and responsibilities. Many are taking advantage of the resulting opportunities to move into new roles.

For those working in UK building control, the new registration process for building inspectors in England opens in October 2023 with the aim that the process will be completed by April 2024. This is an ambitious target considering that, at the time of writing, the process of registration is still unclear and doesn’t leave a great deal of time to prepare. However, in June, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) invited professional bodies to submit proposals regarding the competency assessment process for building inspector registration. I am pleased to confirm that CABE has submitted its proposal and, subject to approval, will be able to offer its members a route to registration in the coming months.

Likewise for those members working on higher risk buildings (HRBs) or considering doing so, CABE – working with Engineering Council – can now also offer members an assessment and registration process for duty holders working on HRBs or helping clients and contractors discharge their duties under the new Building Safety Act.

For those of us working in England, the end of the transitional arrangements for the implementation of Part L 2022 (England) is a momentous change in that any individual building not already commenced on-site must now comply with the higher new energy efficiency standards. Certainly, here at NHBC, we have seen a much larger proportion of foundations commencing during this period, and this has had an impact on the supply of certain materials such as concrete. Changes also include the new requirement for developers to provide photographic evidence to demonstrate that the building is constructed in accordance with the design. It may also require developers to re-design the fabric and fixed building services for non-commenced plots. This may cause initial confusion, but the long-term opportunity to close the compliance performance gap must be seen as a positive step in the right direction.

Remember, this is just the interim step change in the regulations; with the next change to Part L (England) coming in 2025, developers are already starting to look at specifications that support a non-fossil fuel home. It is encouraging to see that there is an increase in the use of heat pumps and PV. As a result, fabric standards will obviously improve, and developers are exploring different wall-type build-ups to gain maximum insulation standards while keeping wall thicknesses to a minimum.

Finally, I was informally introduced to members of our Hong Kong Chapter via a short online call. This has further encouraged me to visit the various regions and chapters of the Association during my year as President.

Image credit | Sam Kerr

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