The Department of Communities and Local Government has today (just in time for Christmas!) published a new consultation regarding the authorisation of self-certification schemes under the Building Regulations. Essentially as the Regulations have become more complex they have become difficult to police effectively. This was recognised back in 2002 and was dealt with by licensing certain organisations (such as CORGI, FENSA and OFTEC) to ensure that their members carried out work to the appropriate standard. Therefore where work had been carried out by a member of an approved organisation it could be assumed that it complied with the Regulations and it would not need to be inspected by the relevant local authority’s building inspectors.
Over time this system has got a bit mixed up due to slightly differing standards applied to and adopted by various licensing organisations. This has led to suggestions that work done by one organisations tradesmen is of a lower standard than another which also causes an unfair competition model.
In an effort to resolve these issues the Government has already suspended the certification of new bodies and now plans to provide new criteria for certifying approved bodies. Existing bodies will have to be recertified under the new criteria.
The consultation itself is on the nature of these criteria, the new application process and the consumer protection aspects. The consultation closes on 19 March 2010.