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RIBA calls for a more consumer-focused approach to building regulations


09 September 2010

Press office contact:

Mina Vadon
T: +44 (0)207 307 3761
E: mina.vadon@riba.org

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has written to MP Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, responding to a consultation on future changes to building regulations.

One of the RIBA’s key recommendations is that the building regulations should be simplified, and written in plain English as the existing regulations are impenetrable and alienating for a lay person. The RIBA believes these changes will, for example, enable a homeowner to make an educated choice when undertaking small building works to their home.

Following detailed consultation, the following key issues were raised for the Minister to consider:

  • Coordinating regulation
    Review all related building legislation, including Planning, and integrate compliance under the jurisdiction of Government.
  • Reducing complexity
    Reform the Building Regulations and their practical guidance (Approved Documents) to provide clear, concise, flexible regulations, which contain all the performance standards and explanation of their objectives. They should be written in clear practical language, and co-ordinated with other building development legislation across the UK
  • Simplifying guidance
    Revise the Approved Documents to be self-contained practical guidance on compliant typical construction details for less complex projects and processes without reliance on third party documentation.
  • Planning implementation
    Establish a planned implementation process for any new or revised Building Regulations, allowing for full consultation, training and gearing-up by the construction industry, as well as for practical compliance processes.
  • Achieving compliance
    Measurement and feedback of results is a necessity, but for those who ignore, flout or stray from the required performance we must have effective enforcement and as a last resort real penalties for non compliance.
  • Improving building performance
    Establish a greater relevance for the Building Regulations in improving the existing building stock by creating targeted incentives and awareness for building owners and users to improve the performance standards of existing buildings.

Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:

“We do not need more regulation, but better regulation. The UK Building Regulations come from firm foundations, but in recent times have become complicated and disorganised through uncoordinated and piecemeal amendment and addition. Changing requirements on energy performance will require better regulation and monitoring of compliance meanwhile in other areas regulation can be simplified and reduced.”

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