Construction stage – assessment and inspection
Building Control Authorities are to adopt a formal policy for the assessment and inspection of building work as notified on the Building Control Management System. Authorities should adopt a risk management-based approach in undertaking this work. This will include consideration of matters such as: –
- (the use of the building;
- the type of construction;
- the level of experience of the design team and the Builder; and
- past experience regarding compliance by the parties involved in the project.
In addition, a level of random assessment and inspection should be carried out. In line with the agreed Service Indicators for Local Government, Building Control Authorities are required to carry out a level of inspection equivalent to 12% to 15% of new buildings for which valid Commencement Notices have been received. Building Control Authorities should keep full records of all assessments and inspections carried out. Inspection reports should be made available to the Assigned Certifier.
The Assigned Certifier and other persons nominated to undertake necessary inspections should adopt an appropriate Inspection Plan which takes full account of relevant factors for the building work concerned. Relevant factors should be assessed at the outset and regularly reviewed so that effective control is maintained for the duration of each project, with adequate site inspections and records sufficient to demonstrate the application of reasonable skill, care and diligence.
The building control process, in order to be effective, requires an Inspection Plan of appropriate intensity and frequency. However, it is not practicable for every item of work to which the Building Regulations relate to be examined. The supervision by the Builder is, therefore, of critical importance.
The test of the Inspection Plan will be its success in achieving reasonable standards of health and safety in or about buildings, and of energy conservation, accessibility and sustainability for building users. Inspection staff should use professional skill and judgement in their selection of priorities for inspection.
Depending on the complexity of the project, such inspections may need to be carried out by personnel with greater expertise. Inspection staff should be briefed by their employer and, where necessary, by the Assigned Certifier on the Design lodged to the Building Control Authority and on appropriate inspections and tests to carry out.
Factors in Determining Inspection Plan
The Inspection Plan is dependent on many factors including:
- type of building, type of construction and expertise of the Builder;
- how complicated or relatively straightforward the method of construction is;
- whether recent experience indicates current problems in interpreting and/or achieving compliance with certain requirements;
- how serious the consequences of a particular contravention might be;
- the impracticability or impossibility of subsequent inspection of closed up work; and
- the speed of construction, or methods of fast-track construction.
Subject to the appropriate professional judgement and risk assessment, and recognising that it is not practicable to examine every item of work to which the requirements of the Building Regulations relate, inspection arrangements should normally make provision for inspection of:
- elements and components, the failure of which would, in the opinion of the certifier, be significant;
- works which, in the opinion of the certifier, constitute unusual designs or methods of construction;
- work relating to fire safety;
- types of work, construction, equipment or material which could, if not verified, cause defects which would, in the opinion of the certifier or designated
- inspector, be seriously detrimental to the fundamental purposes of the Building Regulations; and
- additional areas of work necessary for the subsequent issue of a certificate at completion.
The most important thing is to have an appropriate Inspection Plan; the scope and frequency of inspection should be determined and incorporated in a formal written plan. This plan should be kept under review as the project proceeds. It should take into account the Inspection Plan factors above.
Periodic inspection should be carried out depending on the size and nature of the particular building project. This should include critical milestone inspections and inspections as set out in the Inspection Notification Framework (INF).
Inspection Notification Framework
The Assigned Certifier should, as part of the Inspection plan and before the Commencement of work on site, agree with the Building Owner and Builder an INF, taking account of the building works involved and other factors. The INF should identify generally the stages or items of work the individual certifiers wish to be notified of, as and when they are ready for inspection.
The Assigned Certifier should make available an Inspection Plan including the Inspection Notification Framework (INF), taking account of the complexity of the project and other factors. The INF should identify generally the stages or items of work which the Assigned Certifier wishes to be notified to him/her and nominated
Ancillary Certifiers when such stages or items are ready for inspection. The INF should be prepared:
- in conjunction with the Inspection Plan;
- in consultation, as far as possible and necessary, with other members of the Design and Construction team and with those providing Ancillary certificates; and,
- before the commencement of work on site;
- and should be communicated to the Building Owner and Builder.
Each certifier and testing agency together with the Builder and others should then respond, as appropriate, to all notifications identified in the INF. It t should be made clear to the Builder that the Assigned Certifier and the other persons referred to above may carry out unannounced inspections between the stages identified in the INF and/or in the Inspection Plan.
Follow up procedures
Effective follow up procedures are essential to check that previously noted noncompliance issues have been corrected. The person responsible for the particular inspection, e.g., the Assigned Certifier or the Ancillary Certifiers, should check that the matter raised has been resolved satisfactorily.
Certain tests may need to be carried out, as necessary, in order to demonstrate compliance. In some cases, such tests may be ones referred to in the Technical Guidance Documents published to accompany the various parts (A to M) of the
Building Regulations. The Assigned Certifier and Ancillary Certifiers should consider and identify the need for such tests at the earliest possible stage and as far in advance as possible. They should include them, as far as possible, in the building contract documentation where there is a contract in place.
The Inspection Plan and the INF should indicate the tests that the Certifiers wish to monitor periodically and, where necessary, the Building Owner should be notified about test requirements.
Records of inspection
Records of each inspection should be maintained by the person and firm responsible and should be sufficient to identify the work inspected and any non-compliance.
Where the work inspected is not shown on drawings available to the person inspecting, these records will necessarily be more detailed. It is important, in order to ensure that proper, evidence-based inspection arrangements and procedures are in place, that adequate records are maintained to show what works were inspected, the result of the inspection and any remedial action considered necessary and when such remedial action was carried out.