If you work in local authority building control services, you’ll know that it’s impossible to plan for absolutely everything.
Try as you might to have the right resources in place, you can never quite know when an unexpected issue, unplanned team absence or spike in demand could be lurking around the corner. However, while you can’t predict the future – you can take steps to becoming more adaptable, prepared and resilient.
That last word – resilient – is one you might’ve heard in a business context before. But you may not know what it means for your specific industry. In this article, I’ll be explaining what resilience in building control looks like for local authorities – and how you can achieve it.
For teams like yours, resilience means being able to continue doing what you do to excellent standards, even when facing disruption or increased demand. And it means being productive today, and ready for tomorrow.
Once you’ve cultivated a resilient building control service, you’ll be able to have the resources and specific expertise and experience to do the following things.
Keep your local area as safe as possible
The more applications you can take care of at pace, the more buildings will be compliant and safe for the public. When you’re able to engage with your customers in a punctual, helpful way, you’ll encourage consistently high standards and avert non-compliance issues. Plus, if you do need to intervene or take action, you can do so in a timely manner.
Provide the services your residents need, when they need them
Another benefit of being resilient is having the expertise and capacity you need to achieve better outcomes, on time and effectively. By increasing the capacity and capability of your service, you can process more applications and bring more building regulation fees into your council. And, by avoiding backlogs and long waiting times, you can build trust. Meaning fewer customers feel compelled to turn to Approved Inspectors for a faster service.
Guarantee an excellent service
Being resilient means consistently delivering an excellent service – this not only includes turnaround times, but quality of inspections, decisions and notes. As a result, you’ll satisfy more customers. You’ll become the local authority that customers trust. That builders want to put work through. And that architects or developers want to use to check plans and administer applications.
Protect your reputation
By cultivating that excellent service, you’ll create more happy residents, members and builders, shorter delays and fewer complaints.
Meet your aspirations
Finally, achieving resilience also means becoming more cost-efficient. Which is what happens when you’re able to break even between fee earning and non-fee earning jobs.
So that’s what resilience is, but what might be stopping you from achieving it? From my own experience, the answer is more complex than cut-and-dried.
Local authority building control services teams across the UK are reporting a variety of different challenges – many of which you might identify with. For example, due to inadequate resources, there are those who are facing a backlog of building regulation applications and other building control queries. Not only is this creating a delay in developments for customers, but stress and anxiety for the teams themselves. This is due to the pressure caused by increasing workloads, along with a constant need to prioritise urgent queries where safety might be compromised.
Then there are those who, because they’re not equipped with the right expertise and resources, are unsure how best to prepare for impending regulatory changes. Those who are finding recruiting Building Control Inspectors to be a hard task. And those who have had team members move on to become Approved Inspectors.
Next are those who sometimes feel like their jobs are an uphill struggle. Held back by a lack of capacity, training and experience at crucial moments, they’re unable to deliver against demand. Especially when it comes to providing specialist services such as fire safety and structural assessments.
So that’s my summary of today’s industry challenges. But how can building control service teams achieve resilience? How can local authorities take back control today, and safeguard tomorrow?
The answer is: with flexible switch-on, switch-off expert support – such as Capita’s building control resilience.
As the Director of Building Control, I recently received a call from a team that needed to add specialist skills to their offering, at very short notice. They called me on the Friday and, once the contracts were agreed and signed, I had the relevant experts in place by Monday. Similarly, I’ve known situations where we’ve rallied at the drop of a hat to cover long-term sick leave. That’s the beauty of our service – it can help local authorities respond to almost any building control need.
It’s quick and easy to procure, too. And, once the client is signed up, we can provide capacity and expertise how and when it’s needed. What’s more, our on-demand experts work with local authorities every day to build on their already significant expertise. Meaning they’re able to integrate with tools and teams at a moment’s notice. All of which can help building control services prepare for situations they can predict – and adapt to those they can’t.
As well as providing on-site support anywhere in the UK, it’s also possible to draw on our service in a remote capacity. To find out how, read my first article. Or, if you’d like to chat about your specific needs, get in touch.
Capita Building Control Resilience – our full services
- Pre-application advice
- Plan checking
- Site inspections
- Dangerous structures
- Building standard compliance
- Structural design assessment and advice
- Fire risk assessments
- Fire engineering analysis
- Site investigation and geotechnical surveys
- Pursuit and resolution of unauthorised building works (enforcement)
- Clerk of works services
- Environmental and energy services for SAP/SBEM calculations and EPC compliance, including sustainability advice
- Completion, handover and defects management
- Practitioner-led service reviews of service (health checks)
- Health and safety
- Design services and specifications
- Condition surveys
- Building audits
- Party wall surveying services
- Warranty services
- Project management
- Event safety managemen.