Building Control Manager to report.
The Joint Committee received an update from the Building Control Manager regarding the Government Proposals resulting from the Hackitt Enquiry.
He drew the Committee’s attention to the following points:
· The government’s proposals had been published following the Hackitt Enquiry and the post Grenfell response was as follows:
Ø A review had been commissioned.
Ø An established safety programme had been implemented.
Ø Amended building regulations had been published.
Ø The social housing green paper had been published.
Ø Housing Health and Safety system had been reviewed.
Ø Any gaps and inconsistencies had been identified.
He added that as part of the scope, the building regulations for multi-occupied buildings that were more than 18m high had been amended to ban the use of combustible materials in the facades of buildings over that height. He reassured the Joint Committee that there we no buildings of that nature within the North Devon and Mid Devon areas. There was however, the potential for the inclusion of prisons, hospitals and other public buildings in the future. The regulations currently excluded multi storey offices and hotels.
The Head of Place added that the Civic Centre tower block could become a potential issue if it were to be redeveloped into housing. The Building Control Manager advised that he had not had any recent updates in relation to the progress made with the negotiations for the Civic Centre tower block. In response to this, the Head of Place advised that he could provide the Building Control Manager with an update in relation to the latest position following the meeting.
The Building Control Manager explained the Duty Holder roles and their place within the design and construction phase. He also explained the enforcement process.
In response to a question regarding whether there had been any potential applications for the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the Building Control Manager advised that he was not aware that any case of that nature that had been followed through.
He advised that in terms of competence there were 12 working groups established together with a licensing regime that required re-qualification of officers every three years. He added that there were concerns that in an area which was already difficult to recruit to more people might leave the profession. In terms of the impact upon local authority Building Control, there had not been many cases nationally that had taken the route of the Magistrates Court; however, the government were keen to change that. There was a potential risk terms of the retention of existing employees and the impact upon future recruitment. He added that the risk could be mitigated via the job evaluation process to recognise individual qualifications.
He explained that the Building Control team would not be able to undertake work for its own local authority due to a conflict of interest. He added that it was currently unclear as to how the Building Control bodies would be appointed.
Following the update, the Joint Committee discussed the following:
· The importance of regular updates to keep the Members informed of any developments or issues that arose.
· The role of the Joint Committee within the communication channel.
· The importance of bringing urgent issues to the attention of the Joint Committee at the earliest opportunity.
In response to a question regarding the submission of the minutes of the Joint Committee to the Strategy and Resources Committee. The Solicitor and Data Protection Officer advised that a report could be submitted to the Building Control Manager to highlight any issues to the Strategy and Resources Committee.
The Chairman added that both Councils would need to agree a formal route in regards to the arrangements for disseminating information from the Joint Committee.
that a standing item be added to each agenda of the Joint Committee to provide Members with regular updates in terms of the management arrangements; and
that emails be circulated between meetings with any important information that should be brought to the attention of the Joint Committee members.
The Chairman thanked the Building Control Manager for the update.