Getting the quality of building improvement work right the first time is a key priority for the National
Home Improvement Council (NHIC). It’s a view Local Authority Building Control (LABC) shares. Too
often the quality of building work – for a new building as well as renovation – is below standard.
LABC is there to protect consumers from the rogue builders – we are an independent national network
of public service building surveyors – with 3,500 staff across every local council in England and
Wales. We offer free advice and guidance to the public and assess and process grants for home
improvements for disabled people – a service worth £2.5m each year. Through our collaboration
with organisations such as NHIC, Federation of Master Builders, Trustmark, Chartered Institute of
Architectural Technologists, we encourage the use of competent and ethical businesses and
And when things go wrong it will be an LABC surveyor who will take enforcement action and in the
most extreme cases arrange the prosecution of the worst offenders. LABC is also responsible for
public safety after fires, explosions, collisions, building collapses and weather damage – often
providing safety advice for blue light responders.
So the quality of work and the competency of our surveyors is vital for us to provide a cost-effective,
24 hour a day, 365 days a year service. And LABC has been leading the way – investing in an ISO
backed, independently audited, quality management system. So far, more than 180 of our local
building control teams have gained their formal accreditation – with many more in the pipeline. This
gives our clients the peace of mind that they will get a consistent service to agreed national quality
standards wherever they go.
We’ve also identified more than 1,000 highly skilled surveyors with competencies to work on high
risk or complex buildings and we’re working with the Institution of Fire engineers to verify their skills
through tough testing.
To support our continued investment in standards and competencies LABC recently launched a
virtual learning hub making it easier for our 3,500 surveyors and technical staff to take part in
training, personal development and improve and evidence their competencies. The platform
provides over 100 courses at the click of a button and most of the courses are free of charge.
LABC is also helping to shape the industry’s response to the terrible fire at Grenfell tower. Dame
Judith Hackitt produced an expert report showing that a better way was possible with proper
regulation of building work, an end to the conflict of interests where developers can choose who signs
off their work and an investment in skills and competency.
LABC entirely supports her recommendations – all 53 of them. So with the BBA – the leading
authority in the UK on building product testing and certification – we formed the 100% Hackitt
initiative. This has two purposes – to allow the industry to come together to share best practice,
coordinate experience of change and to keep the pressure on the government to implement all of the
recommendations. More at www.100-Hackitt.co.uk
So you can see why LABC is determined to build a safer future at all levels of the construction sector
and why we value the work NHIC does to improve repairs and maintenance and make our homes
more energy efficient.