If 2023 has taught us anything, it is that staying informed in our industry is essential.
More than 100 construction professionals attended Premier Guarantee’s InSite: Building Safety and Standards conference to do just that.
They travelled to Savoy Place on the banks of the River Thames to listen to experts discuss the biggest challenges facing homebuilders and developers and how we can be ready for them today and in the future.
Some of the key points that were discussed were:
The most significant discussion points of the day focused on:
Audience members were encouraged to ask questions as the panel took part in a lively discussion on:
- What the Future Homes Standard will actually mean and look like for developers
- How the standards of building new homes and achieving energy efficiency go hand in glove
- Why homes in this country are substantially under-ventilated
- How developers and homebuilders can get an insurance guarantee around the energy performance of a building
“The evidence is very clear. That most new homes in this country are under ventilated substantially. It is not a coincidence that we also have the highest rates of respiratory ill health as a nation.”
– Gavin Dunn, CABE Chief Executive
"What they are trying to say, right, is 'well we can build 20 homes on the River Trent and we can actually create the energy ourselves for those 20 homes, we don't have to stick it into the National Grid'."
– Stuart Fairlie, Elmhurst Energy Managing Director
Operational Policy Lead at the Health and Safety Executive, Neil Hope-Collins, faced questions after a spirited rallying cry to the room on embracing the new building control regime.
Neil's discussion focused on questions such as:
- Are we ready to make the new system work?
- How up-to-date are you with the Building Safety Act 2022 and the changes from the 1984 act?
- Achieving that completion certificate – how can you get there efficiently and within the new scope of the law?
- How do you manage changes during the construction phase? Have the changes made a difference to how the building complies with the functional requirements?
- Who will monitor the Building Safety Regulator?
“As an industry, you guys were not in a good place. Change needed to happen. Change is what we are going to be about.”
– Neil Hope-Collins, HSE Operational Policy Lead
Natalia Thomas-Alvarez and Matt Shum's gave a very well received presentation on competency, its definition in the new regulatory landscape.
At end of the presentation, delegates were up to speed on:
- Whether they have confidence in their own competence
- How to get their staff competent in the same way Premier Guarantee have in 2023
- The new regulation. Matt broke it down for delegates in a welcome and understandable manner
Following on from this presentation, we released a 30 minute comprehensive explainer video of everything you need to know about the building control regime change.
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“You don’t have to look too far to realise that there have been some major failures in our industry.”
– Natalia Thomas-Alvarez, Premier Guarantee Technical Competency Manager
“When you appoint someone as a principal contractor or principal designer you need to notify us within 14 days of that appointment."
– Matt Shum, Premier Guarantee Senior Regulatory Specialist
NHQB chief Leon Livermore gave delegates an in-depth insight into the code, how it can work with developers and raise standards for the good of the industry.
Key points from Leon's presentation:
- Do we build our entire regulatory system around rogues?
- Change is difficult. How do we manage it as an industry?
- How do we ensure that building quality new homes on a systemic level works for both homeowners and homebuilders?
"We are asking you, as a sector, to change. Not radically change but just every now and again to place your customer at the heart of the journey. I think it is really important; this is not your sale, it is their purchase."
– Leon Livermore, New Homes Quality Board Chief Executive
As the day wrapped up, delegates chatted with speakers and each other to discuss what the day’s topics.
Attendees were enthused by the knowledge shared ahead of a crucial time in the industry.
James McCrae, Technical Director at Berkeley St Edward said: “It was very worthwhile attending and useful for us. We heard some sobering remarks from the Building Safety Regulator which served to underline the size of the task the industry has ahead of us in relation to HRBs.”
“It’s a very interesting and enlightening day outlining the new regulations on Building Safety and Standards. It’s certainly opened our eyes up to the requirements and timescales covering competencies and work on high-risk buildings. It’s definitely worth coming along to see what needs to be done and to learn just how much the industry is changing.”
“For personal competencies it has been really interesting and has explained very clearly what has to be achieved. That’s something we can take on board and work on quite quickly.”
Another attendee called the conference ‘very interesting and enlightening’.
Paula Foxley, Design Director at Thomas Homes, said: "For personal competencies it has been really interesting and has explained very clearly what has to be achieved. That’s something we can take on board and work on quite quickly.”
“It was a very interesting and enlightening day outlining the new regulations on Building Safety and Standards," Paula Foxley added. “It’s certainly opened our eyes up to the requirements and timescales covering competencies and work on high-risk buildings.”
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Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication (October 2023). Guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. For the most up to date Premier Guarantee technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the Premier Guarantee Technical Manual.