excessive mortar droppings in cavity and building up on wall ties
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The project was sponsored as part of the 2001 Partners in Innovation (PII) programme, with contributions from construction industry partners, including the National House-Building Council (NHBC), the Building Control Division at the Cherwell District Council (initially), the Building Control Department at the West Oxfordshire County Council, the RICS Building Control Forum, and the Building Control Research Associates.
- Prof. Ray Ogden (Department of Architecture), Research Co-ordinator, OISD:Technology
- Dr Bousmaha Baiche (Department of Architecture), Project Manager, OISD:Technology
- Dr Nicholas Walliman (Department of Architecture), OISD:Technology
- Additional input provided by: Mr Owen Edwards (West Oxfordshire County Council); Mr Christopher Mills (NHBC); Mr Hugh Johnson (RICS Building Control Forum); Mr Ian Bourne (Building Control Research Associates). Monitoring was undertaken by Mr Russ Wolstenholme (W S Atkins) on behalf of DTI
- total grant value: £50,000
- time duration: 2002-2005
The principal objective of the research was to generate data (based on sample of new-build housing schemes) about the levels of compliance typically achieved with Building Regulations and standards in England and Wales. The data included estimations of the levels of non-compliance associated with particular building elements or constructions processes. This will inform government policy and assist BCBs to develop effective inspection procedures.
the research was carried out with contributions from people in the building control from both Local Authorities and Approved Inspectors. It consisted of three linked surveys carried out in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire:
- On-site inspections of eleven speculative housing projects during construction. A questionnaire survey of 200 occupants of eight recently completed speculatively built housing projects, with follow-up calls made in cases where building failures were reported.
- Interviews with six Building Control Inspectors, both Local Authority and Approved Inspectors.
- The project steering group decided to make the project be broad-based, involving as many surveys as possible, rather than a smaller number of detailed surveys. It was also thought best to look at indicators of non-compliance rather than levels of compliance, and concentrate on areas detrimental to health and safety, which are of greater interest to relevant government departments. One of the main objectives of the project was to identify repeated patterns of failures, which will highlight the areas of Building Regulations that tended not to be complied with, and which should be given more attention during inspections.
According to the findings of this research, there did not seem to be a widespread and purposeful flouting of the Building Regulations. However, the results of the site investigations, together with feedback from house-owners and Building Inspectors did indicate that certain aspects of construction are more prone to incidents of non-compliance than others.
Apart from the occasional occurrence of incompetent and malicious builders described by the building inspectors, there was generally a realisation that the Building Regulations should be complied with in order to achieve structurally sound and good performing buildings. However, there were several reasons why non-compliance occurred.
The recommendations pointed out the need for more and continuing training of tradesmen, both in trade skills and knowledge of the provision of the Building Regulations, and more rigorous site management procedures, particularly when pressure for completion is at its greatest. A national system of checking and reporting should be devised to provide ongoing monitoring of standards of compliance.
The research project generated the following:
- A report issued by Oxford Brookes University and the project partners, with recommendations to assist in development of effective inspection procedures and highlight major areas of Building Regulations that tend not to be complied with.
- A website, in a user-friendly format, containing all the findings from the research project, and with links to a range of relevant sites, including those of ODPM, RICS and NHBC.
Forthcoming 2005: ‘Building Regulations Compliance in Speculative Housing’ Building Control (Journal of the RICS Building Control Forum).
Prof Ray Ogden
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 483208
Dr Bousmaha Baiche
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 483279