Written evidence submitted by NHBC [BSB 322]


About NHBC









Executive Summary












  1. How well does the Bill, as drafted, meet the Government’s own policy intentions?










Recommendation: While NHBC supports many elements of the Bill, the current proposals restrict the BSR from choosing the best possible organisation to deliver Building Control. There should be no default preference to use LABC and the Regulator should be allowed the freedom to select for itself the most competent provider for each specific development.



  1. Does the draft Bill establish an appropriate scope for the new regulatory system?















Recommendation: The draft Bill does not contain sufficient detail or information to be able to assess whether it will make buildings safer. The proposals create a three-tiered approach which creates a conflict of interest where the Regulator is also able to act as the BCB. The Bill should instead create a separate, independent body outside of Government and the BSR to oversee all BCBs and have all Building Control Professionals working to a single unified competence framework.



  1. Will the Bill provide for a robust – and realistic – system of accountability for those responsible for building safety? Are the sanctions on those who do not meet their responsibilities strong enough?







Recommendation: NHBC supports establishing a system of accountability for those responsible for building safety. However, there is missing detail on the accountability and sanctions for other key roles in the design, planning and construction phases of the build process. A detailed road map of the entire life cycle process to clarify the roles, accountability and sanctions would be welcomed.



  1. Does the Bill improve the product testing regime in a way that will command the full confidence of the sector?






Recommendation: While NHBC welcomes the improved controls to place designated, non-designated and safety critical products in the UK market, the draft Bill does not go far enough to ensure clear certification is provided, including on how products will perform when constructed with additional products.



  1. Is it right that the new Building Safety Regulator be established under the Health and Safety Executive, and how should it be funded?







Recommendation: NHBC supports the establishment of a Building Safety Regulator, but we have concerns on the conflict of interest created with the regulator also being able to be the service provider. A regulator should not be involved with the functional delivery of the service it is regulating. As well as creating a separate, independent body for oversight of building control bodies, NHBC would suggest the funding for the BSR should follow the same ‘user pays’ model as CICAIR. This will ensure that those interacting with the BSR bear the cost of its operations.



  1. Does the Bill present an opportunity to address other building safety issues, such as requirements for sprinkler systems?





Recommendation: Further details are required to establish if the regulatory system provides opportunities to address other safety concerns, including how the BSR would identify emerging building safety issues or how the reforms will be easily and clearly communicated.



September 2020

[1] https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Financial-sustainabilty-of-local-authorites-2018.pdf

[2] Page 96, Building A Safer Future consultation

[3] Recommendations on the future regulation of the Building Control Sector and Profession in England