Compliance & Accreditation, do they matter?
If you listened to, or read, the closing statements of Richard Millett QC, leading counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, in the week of 13th September 2021, you’d be in no doubt about the answer to that question. “Truly a case of donkeys led by donkeys” is how he described lead contractor Rydon, the firm of architects Studio E and specialist cladding contractor, Harley Facades.
Whilst the focus of his comments relates to the façade cladding, the detail of what he talks about relates to every element of the design and construction process, and the products used within it. Whatever we build in construction, whether new build or refurbishment, commercial or domestic, there are regulations to be complied with, standards to guide us and accreditations to support demonstration of compliance.
Before moving on Dear Reader, another question – did you know that anything written on a green background in the Building Regulations is LAW? Compliance with these requirements isn’t optional, it has the same place in life as any criminal offence, from speeding, to theft, to murder. Fail to meet these requirements and you face the risk of prosecution. The reason for this is that the Building Regulations focus is on the prevention of loss of life. Everything else; Codes, Rules, Standards and Guidelines, all hang from these Regulatory requirements and are there to assist in finding ways to provide compliance with the Regulations.
British Standards provide guidance on meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations, and following their guidance is recommended within the Building Regulations as it demonstrates best practice has been adopted, and the Building Regulations will point you in the direction of the relevant British Standards.
Trade Associations also produce guidance that is recognised as contributing to complying with the Building Regulations. This is because Government recognises that it cannot keep up with innovations/change in the market or be experts in every nuance of construction products. Government therefore looks for industry experts to collaborate and produce industry specific guidance in the form of Code of Best Practice, Design Guides, Specifiers Guides etc. For manufacturers, third party accreditations, such as BBA Certification, are a relatively simple method of demonstrating that a product or system is compliant with the Building Regulations. They also make it simple for architects and designers to ensure that relevant expertise is applied to meeting the requirements of the application, hence the huge demand increase for certification post the Hackitt report.
One last question: do you have a copy of the relevant Building Regulations for roofing? Without them you are leaving yourself and your business exposed… PS, the main ones you need are Part B fire safety, Part K protection from falling, collision and impact, Part L Conservation of fuel and power and Part M access to and use of buildings. You can get them free at:
Next month’s QI by QI – ViP’s, what are they and are they all the same?