Agenda and draft minutes

Building Control Joint Committee - Thursday, 10th February, 2022 9.30 am

Venue: Barum Room - Brynsworthy. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

Note: From the 7 May 2021, the law requires all councils to hold formal meetings in person. The Council is also required to follow Government guidance and ensure that all venues used are Covid secure and that all appropriate measures are put in place. There are six spaces available for members of the public to attend. If you would like to book a place, please contact Corporate and Community Services by 12noon on Tuesday 8th February 2022 to book a place by telephoning 01271 388253 or emailing member.services@northdevon.gov.uk. For track and trace purposes you will be required to provide your name, address and contact telephone number. This data will be held by the Council for 21 days. 

Items
No. Item

18.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Angela Barratt and Paul Deal MDDC.

19.

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 4th November 2021 (attached) pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 4th November 2021 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

20.

Declarations of Interest

(Please complete the enclosed form or telephone the Corporate and Community Services Unit to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary).

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

21.

Pooled budget and 2021-22 trading account for Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 439 KB

Report by North Devon Council Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (attached).

Minutes:

The Joint Committee considered a report by North Devon Council Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive (circulated previously) regarding the 2021/22 Q3 Forecast Building Control Partnership Trading Account.

 

The Accountancy Services manager (NDC), gave the Committee the following summary:

 

· Column one of the trading account showed the budget for each Council.

· Column two showed the actuals expenditure and income.

· Column three showed the percentage split of trade income between the two authorities, with the trading position for North Devon Council at 58.15% and Mid Devon District Council at 41.85%.

 

He added that there was an improvement in the figures from quarter two of £3,940. The quarter four outturns indicated a slightly higher surplus.

 

He explained that for revenue monitoring purposes shown in the reconciliation table there was a forecast surplus of £12K for North Devon Council and £15K for Mid Devon District Council.

 

Councillor Deed requested that the abbreviation for Mid Devon District Council in the report was changed from MDC to MDDC to reflect the official name of the authority.

 

The Chair added that she should have mentioned at the start of the meeting that following an email from the Senior Solicitor at North Devon Council, legal representation at the meeting will only be utilised if required and the joint Committee agreed to keep the agreement under review.

 

RESOLVED, that the report be noted.

22.

Building Control Business Update. pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Report by Building Control Manager (attached).

Minutes:

The Joint Committee considered a report by the Building Control Manager (circulated previously) regarding the Building Control Business update.

 

The Building Control Manager advised the following:

 

·       There a typographical error with regards to 2.1 of the report, which had resulted from the copy and paste from the previous report.

·       In January 2022, the service received more applications than it had since the beginning of the partnership, which had put a lot of pressure on the department and led to a couple of resourcing issues.

·       There was still a member of the Technical Support team on maternity leave who anticipated returning to work on 17 February 2022 on a part time 20 hour contract. As soon as her revised contract was signed and returned the service anticipated advertising for a further part time post to make up the difference.

·       The service had advertised unsuccessfully three times to fill the vacancy created by the promotion of a member of the Technical Support Team to Team Leader. However, due to a change of circumstances the out-going team leader had decided not to retire at this point and had been appointed as a Technical Support Officer to fill the vacancy although the contracted hours had been reduced to 29.6 hrs.

·       A new trainee has now been recruited to the team with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Building Surveying. The service was hopeful that their training and development would follow the pattern of the previous trainee resulting in a fairly rapid contribution to servicing the workload. However, at the current time this was an effective reduction in productive resource.

·       There was also a long term sickness issue with a Senior Surveyor who had been absent since the beginning of December 2021.

·       Staffing issues were now placing a strain on individuals due to the reduction in available resource. This would be further exasperated with the retirement of the Building Control Manager at the end of March 2022 as duties were delegated to other senior members of the team until a replacement was in post.

·       At current workloads this reduction in resource would impact performance and was likely to require some prioritisation of inspections. In the short term it was anticipated that the shortfall in resource would in part be relieved by the use of overtime to aid plan checking response times. This would be budgeted for via the absence of the Building Control Manager.

·       More information with regard to the requirements for validation as a registered Building Inspector was gradually becoming available although the distribution of information from the Building Safety Regulator and LABC had been limited and contradictory to date, which had caused significant despondency and moral issues amongst staff. Unfortunately it now transpired that the Level 6 validation achieved by five of the staff in November 2019 would no longer be considered adequate for registration purposes with the scope of skills and experience required having been expanded beyond just the fire safety elements.

·       Grant aided funding was now available for upgrading of Surveying staff  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Key Performance Indicators. pdf icon PDF 446 KB

Report by the Building Control Manager (attached).

Minutes:

The Joint Committee considered a report by the Building Control Manager (circulated previously) regarding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

 

The Building Control Manager advised the following:

 

·       That 98% of Building Regulation Full Plan applications had been determined within two months.

·       That 99% Building Regulation Applications examined within 3 weeks.

·       That the average time to first response (Days) was eight days.

·       The figure of 295 for the number of applications received to date was high for the time of year.

·       The market share had risen to 84% for quarter three which was the highest percentage recorded using the current methodology which was adopted in 2015.

·       The market share of new housing completions had contoured to be strong at 42% although this was based on a relatively low level of activity in the sector.

·       The service had not seen a marked drop in demand in Quarter 3 with December’s activity being sufficiently strong to ensure income currently exceeds budget expectation at this point in the year.

·       The net result was that the budget at the end of quarter two was on target at this point taking into account the uneven receipt of fees throughout the year.

 

In response to a question regarding resource issues within both the planning and building control service and how additional income could be utilised to support those services and procure staff, the Director of Place, Mid Devon District Council advised that each Council currently had its own structure and support staff. He acknowledged that a different joint operational structure might allow for more flexibility in the future. However, there was still a long way to go in terms of exploring such options.

 

RESOLVED, that the report be noted.

 

The Joint Committee thanked the Building Control Manager for his hard work and dedication to the partnership, wishing him well in his retirement.

24.

Dates and locations of future meetings.

To agree dates and locations of future meetings of the Committee for 2022/23:

 

·       Thursday 12th May 2022 at 9.30am.

·       Thursday 7th July 2022 at 9.30am.

·       Thursday 10th November 2022 at 9.30am.

·       Thursday 16th February 2023 at 9.30am.

 

(NOTE: Unless otherwise agreed the Joint Committee must meet at least on a quarterly basis with the meeting held at 9.30am and the offices of the Chairman’s partner authority).

Minutes:

The Joint Committee noted the scheduled dates of the meetings for 2022/23, which were scheduled to be held on the following dates:

 

·       Thursday 12th May 2022 at 9.30am.

·       Thursday 7th July 2022 at 9.30am.

·       Thursday 10th November 2022 at 9.30am.

·       Thursday 16th February 2023 at 9.30am.

 

Following discussions in relation to the venue for future meetings, the Joint Committee agreed to keep the option of meetings being held at the Woodlands Enterprise Centre under review until such a time that COVID 19 restrictions permitted.