Building Control Journal June-July 2015

Page 1

Building Control Journal Holding court

Safety matters at Wimbledon PG.


Park life

Safe and sound

Good neighbours

Development of the Olympic park since London 2012

Role of building control at the Glastonbury festival

Taking tall buildings' energy impact into the carbon count







June/July 2015



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Front cover: ©Shutterstock

4 Future in our hands


Martin Conlon looks at efforts being made to raise the profile of the profession

Editor: Barney Hatt  T +44 (0)20 7695 1628 E

5 Testing the water

Building Control Journal is the journal of the Building Control Professional Group Advisory group: Dave Baker OBE (Robust Details Ltd), Doug Basen (LABC), Alan Cripps (RICS), Michael Morgan (Butler & Young Group), Anthony Oloyede (LABC), Anna Thompson (LABC) Published by: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3AD T +44 (0)24 7686 8555 ISSN: ISSN 0265-6493 (Print) ISSN 1759-3360 (Online) Building Control Journal is available on annual subscription. All enquiries from non-RICS members for institutional or company subscriptions should be directed to: Proquest – Online Institutional Access E T +44 (0)1223 215512 for online subscriptions or SWETS Print Institutional Access E T +44 (0)1235 857500 for print subscriptions To take out a personal subscription, members and non-members should contact Licensing Manager Louise Weale E

Editorial and production manager: Toni Gill Sub-editor: Gill Rastall Designer: Craig Bowyer

With a new sustainable drainage systems process finally in operation, Dave Mitchell examines the implications

6 Park life

15 Controlling the future

Mark Scott describes an innovative apprenticeship scheme that could provide the answer to building control skill shortages

16 Easy wins for regulation

Nick Humes looks at how building information modelling can free building control staff from basic checking tasks

Barney Hatt discusses with Gordon Roy the development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since the London 2012 Games

18 Taking responsibility

8 Safe and sound

20 Field of play

Anna Thompson outlines the role of building control at the Glastonbury festival

10 Holding court

Terry O’Neill explains why guidance has been provided to clarify fire safety duties

With the increased use of sports grounds as music venues, a new guide sets a framework for safety at such events, reports Ken Scott

Merton’s Trevor McIntosh talks to Barney Hatt about working with the Wimbledon Championships All England Club

21 Update

12 Good neighbours

Jim Percival gives his top tips for successfully completing the Assessment of Professional Competence

The energy impact of tall buildings on neighbourhoods should be taken into account when evaluating their carbon emissions, say Julie Futcher, Gerald Mills and Ivan Korolija

22 No need to panic

Creative director: Mark Parry Advertising: Charlotte Turner T +44 (0)20 7871 5734 E Design by: Redactive Media Group Printed by: Page Bros

While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all content in the journal, RICS will have no responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. The views expressed in the journal are not necessarily those of RICS. RICS cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of the content and the opinions expressed in the journal, or by any person acting or refraining to act as a result of the material included in the journal. All rights in the journal, including full copyright or publishing right, content and design, are owned by RICS, except where otherwise described. Any dispute arising out of the journal is subject to the law and jurisdiction of England and Wales. Crown copyright material is reproduced under the Open Government Licence v1.0 for public sector information:

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Martin Conlon looks at efforts being made to raise the profile of the profession

Future in our hands

A Although we now know the outcome of the UK general election, it may take some time to get an idea of the new government’s intentions and attitudes towards building control. A lot of what the government will do is outside our direct control, but there are measures we can take that may influence decisions. Building control has an excellent track record of showing that we can not only cope with change but actively embrace it. So what changes are we likely to see and what challenges will they create? In no specific order I will attempt to use my crystal ball to highlight what we might expect. The 2016 changes to Part L requiring new homes to be zero carbon will mean a serious shift in the way we design and assess new homes for compliance. Building control will need to inculcate these new standards as well as take on the role of local education to

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small and medium-sized designers and developers. This will create an extra burden on the profession, which means more work.

Please look for young graduates who we can use as role models

Recruitment We are an ageing profession and the recruitment of younger staff to the profession is an acute problem. Although we are not unique in this area – with many other professions and industries having to tackle the same issue – we need a strategy to ensure the continuity of new recruits. One initiative in this direction is the recently launched Futureworks shared apprenticeship scheme, aimed at smaller building control bodies that previously have found training to be expensive and beyond their reach (see p14). It is open to both the public and private sector bodies and is fully funded for the first two years. I do hope that this initiative will make a positive impact on our profession.

Image problem Building control has a real image problem. How many of you readers made a career decision to join the sector while at school? Not many, I suspect. However, this is something we can all do something about. One approach is

talking to groups of students in schools and colleges about the opportunities in construction generally and building control more specifically. Recently, I spoke to 70 final year BSc students and asked who was considering building control as a career option. Before my talk, not one said they were interested, but the numbers did increase by the time I had finished. In parallel, we need positive role models who can promote the profession and RICS at schools, colleges and universities. My regional board looked at this issue and nominated a number of young RICS members as exemplars of what it means to be a chartered surveyor. I would like the same with building control. Please look around your region and email me with good examples of young graduates or trainees who we can use as role models. This will raise the profile of the profession and increase awareness among young people who are looking for a meaningful career.

Clear vision Previous governments have said they find it difficult to deal with a sector that is fragmented and does not have a clear consistent vision for its own future. So let us take a look at ourselves and see what actions we can take. We may be divided between public and private sectors, but while we are in competition there are areas of cooperation. The pan industry Building Control Alliance does really good work in this area. I would like to see its role develop further, and it is important that we all recognise and support its work. The future of the profession may not be totally in our own hands, but if we take positive steps to attract new young members and create a career path that enables them to access membership of RICS, we can make it a better one. b Martin Conlon is Chairman of the Building Control Professional Group



Testing the water With a new sustainable drainage systems process finally in operation, Dave Mitchell examines the implications


t has been a long and winding path to a sustainable drainage system (SUDs) arrangement that is workable for developers, local authorities and water companies alike. The original consultation on the implementation of the sustainable drainage provisions in Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 was released back in December 2011. It concluded with a recommendation that the adoption of SUDS was to be via SUDS adoption bodies (SABs). However, as the April 2014 deadline approached, it became clear that there were many unresolved issues, not least that few local authorities would have a SAB in place for the proposed implementation date. Under the proposals, without the SAB to ultimately adopt and to sign off the initial plans, it would have been impossible to agree the planning permission and actually start work.

Postponement Realising the threat this posed, the Home Builders Federation pushed government departments, including Treasury, for a postponement, making clear the potential of the proposals as drafted to disrupt housing supply. At the time the government was introducing a wide range of policies to stimulate housebuilding – not least its flagship Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which has done much to increase demand for newbuild homes and in turn resulted in a steep increase in construction activity and output. As such, it was a message that hit home and postponement was agreed. The subsequent implementation date of October 2014 also slipped for much the same reasons. Then, in December 2014, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles confirmed in a ministerial statement that SUDS would be a material consideration under planning from April 2015 on major developments (sites over 10 units), without the requirement for SABs. The move was welcomed by the industry.

New arrangements Pickles’ statement revealed that ‘new arrangements’ for delivering SUDS standards would be through the planning system with planning guidance being based on one set of standards, namely the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs national standards. Under these arrangements, when considering an application, local planning authorities will need to consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water. They should satisfy themselves that the proposed minimum standards of operation are appropriate for the Image © Alamy

It has been a long path to a workable sustainable drainage system arrangement

development and also ensure that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the development. Also, critically, the design, maintenance and operation requirements of the SUDS scheme should be ‘economically proportionate’. Information is available through the planning practice guidance website ( Clearly, it remains to be seen how the new arrangements bed in. It seems that after countless meetings and endless discussion over the past 18 months, we may finally have a workable system. Housebuilders have already immeasurably improved design features to deal with surface water and drainage and in principle there was never any opposition to the new regime, but it was imperative that the final outcome was proportionate. Time will tell, and progress will be closely monitored. In increasing housing supply to a level that more closely meets the nation’s needs, we must develop workable systems that do not incur delay or threaten output. b

Local planning authorities will need to consult the relevant lead local flood authority on the management of surface water

Dave Mitchell is Technical Director at Home Builders Federation

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Barney Hatt catches up with Gordon Roy, London Borough of Newham Building Control Leader, on the development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park since the London 2012 Games

Park life What was building control’s involvement throughout the Olympics? Involvement started back in 2007 with the formation of the Joint Local Authority Building Control team (JLAB) by the five London Olympic boroughs (Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest). JLAB’s responsibility was to provide building control for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) during construction of the park and then the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games right up until the opening of the Games. We had meetings with the construction and design teams every week, particularly regarding the temporary structures. They all had to have building control approval because planning permission is required if the building is to be used for more than 28 days. The scale of the project was massive; bringing in kit from all over Europe. We had a three-storey tented structure providing 3,000 seats as a restaurant. There was a megastore and TV studios off park as well. It was a big undertaking, but because we had five boroughs involved we had the resources to do it. How did you deal with the change of use from athletes’ accommodation to dwellings on the site? Right from the start, all the buildings were built with the legacy in mind. Yes, the village was built for athletes but all the accommodation were designed to make it as easy as possible to change them to individual units. Some partitions had to be removed, and kitchens had to be installed because these had not been provided for the athletes. In total, there were about 3,500 units. The biggest problem was that when work started it was realised that the 6   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

conversion was going to take longer than originally thought. JLAB had already implemented an inspection regime but the ODA wanted a much tougher programme, so we needed extra resources. At Newham we have always used a basic tracker system to record outstanding inspection items on a spreadsheet, as had our colleagues at the other councils, so everyone knew exactly what was required. The completion certificates issued represented the highest number achieved in such a short period of time. Did the changes in Part L between original build and post-Olympic occupation cause any problems? The original scheme was built not just to comply with Part L 2008 but was 15% better because an energy centre was installed to provide all the hot water and heating. So when the regulations changed in 2010 it did not affect us. How much did the removal/ downsizing of buildings affect the original mechanical and engineering design philosophies? All the plant brought in for the main legacy buildings is still there. But anything associated only with the event was separate kit so it could be easily taken out. Buildings such as the Velodrome and the Handball Arena – now renamed the Copper Box Arena – were designed for both and there has been very little alteration in legacy. By way of contrast, the basketball and water polo arenas were temporary so they were dismantled and sold off. Have you found any performance gap details in the original build? The Copper Box was always designed as a multi-use building so it was just tweaked to make it even more suitable for Images © London Legacy Development Corporation


a bigger range of sports. The Olympic Stadium is a completely different case because the original legacy concept has changed and it is now being redeveloped as a multi-use events stadium. What factors do building control need to take into account to ensure ongoing compliance with the Building Regulations? From the start, Lord Coe’s team made it clear that legacy was the goal, but some buildings had adaptations for the Games. The Aquatics Centre stands out because huge wings were added to give around 17,000 spectators a clear view of the swimming pool, but these were designed to be removed leaving a legacy 2,500 seater venue. The problem with the stadium is that the legacy use has changed to become a football stadium. This meant that it had to be redesigned, which is


1 T he park is regenerating the whole area

2 T he stadium could potentially be used by other sports


taking longer, but when it is completed it will be a tremendous venue. What stage is at now? It opens for the Rugby World Cup in September with five matches taking place in the stadium. It will then close and be modified ready to reopen in summer 2016 when West Ham Football Club will move in permanently. The stadium is under development and could potentially be used by other sports. The bottom tier of seats will be moveable to allow the running track to be reinstated. There are other venues around the world that have a similar design, such as the Stade de France in Paris, but it the first in the UK. What type of projects are being developed as part of the legacy? The Aquatics Centre has won major awards in design and construction.

3 T he Aquatics Centre has won major awards

It is a spectacular facility with two Olympic-sized swimming pools, a 25m diving pool and indoor training facilities, plus superb meeting rooms. The Velodrome is probably one of the best cycling venues in the world, with every facility. The heating and lighting design is so efficient that energy use is minimised. The Copper Box is used by the London basketball teams, plus wheelchair basketball and handball games. It can be hired for badminton and is used by schools as well as for major boxing matches. Work has started on the International Broadcasting Media Centre, with BT Sport television studios already in the building, and Loughborough University and other high-tech industries to follow. It will be a huge asset to the park when it is completed in 2016. The London Legacy Development Corporation has a masterplan, which includes new houses where the Basketball Arena sat, and flats in other areas of the park. Plans also include a new cultural quarter with developments by the Victoria and Albert Museum, The University of the Arts London, University College London and Sadler’s Wells Theatre. How much has the park development affected the area generally? The northernmost venue of the park, Eton Manor, is now renamed the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. With four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts and two state-of-the art hockey pitches, it is sure to be heavily used. The park is regenerating the whole area. The Westfield shopping complex is next door, the Village is up and running, and there are quite a few housing developments in and around Stratford.

What are the effects on the local community? The park is well used and it is a lovely environment for kids to play, and parents to sit and picnic. There is an eco-centre, two cafes, a new school and a medical centre. There is also a lot of student accommodation coming in with universities constructing new campus buildings. It is all ongoing and exciting. In the summer there are also a lot of events that bring people in. With the stadium opening it will attract more and more people. It is a beautifully landscaped park and well maintained. How will building control be involved in future? JLAB is still providing building control to the legacy company and we are looking to continue this. The City of London is currently an unofficial JLAB member but may become an official member so we are getting stronger all the time. If any big clients come into the area, the JLAB team will be able to provide a service to them. Building control also covers safety in sports grounds, applying the Building Regulations to make it seamless. When the management team comes on board in the stadium we will work with them to make sure safety in sports grounds continues to be applied. We have acquired an extremely high level of knowledge and have provided advice to other building control teams on these issues. The Sports Safety Grounds Authority is a fantastic source of advice, but it is good to also have the pool of knowledge within JLAB. Because we have to deal with so many venues, we have probably come across the query before, and we are more than happy to pass on that knowledge. b Barney Hatt is Editor of Building Control Journal

Related competencies include Legal/regulatory compliance

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Anna Thompson outlines the role of building control at the Glastonbury festival

Safe and sound


early 200,000 people descended on Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset, in June 2014 for the annual Glastonbury festival, transforming the working farm into a vast temporary city. A huge amount of work takes place every year to ensure that the world’s largest music festival is also regarded as the best. Playing a crucial part in this is the Mendip District Council building control team, which boasts many years of Glastonbury experience. For the remainder of the year, Mendip has only its typical population of 105,600 to worry about. But in the week of the festival in 2014, the number rose by a record 177,500, including 37,500 workers, throwing up a huge challenge. With a site area of only 4km2, this is equivalent to an average population density of 44,375/km2. Ensuring safety for everyone working at and attending the event falls to Nigel Hunt, Mendip Building Control Manager and interim head of the Somerset Building Control Partnership, and his structures monitoring team. They are responsible for all temporary structures, including the Avalon Inn, the Irish Piano Bar and the BBC studio in the park, as well as all the stages and platforms. The legislation that applies is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and relevant regulations made under it. Enforcement responsibility for agricultural land belongs to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). However, the festival is a licensed entertainment event and the responsibility falls to Mendip District Council for the duration of the licence. The four licensing objectives, under the Licensing Act 2003, are: bb prevention of crime and disorder bb public safety bb prevention of public nuisance bb protection of children from harm. 8   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

Event management plan As a condition of licence, Glastonbury Festival Ltd (GFL) has to submit an event management plan (EMP) for the council’s approval six months in advance of each festival. The detailed document spans 76 appendices and fills an A4 lever arch file. Appendix 23: The Traffic Management Plan is presented separately, filling another file. The appendices cover every foreseeable detail and arrangement of the festival. Updates of the EMP are submitted for review right up to the final week before the festival. Preparation in earnest begins shortly before Christmas each year after receiving the first EMP submission. A critical review of the EMP documentation is undertaken by lead ’bronze’ officers, each with a particular area of responsibility such as structures, noise control, health and safety, food safety, water supply, and camping. Initial meetings between bronze officers and GFL counterparts take place in early spring to discuss any issues arising. A strategy of onsite inspections and priorities are then planned. GFL employs specialist consultants, often private environmental health officers and health safety officers, to manage these and many more issues, such that the festival becomes ’self-policing’ in some respects. This means fewer inspections for the authority but more auditing.

An event management plan is submitted for the council’s approval six months in advance and fills an A4 lever file bb ensures there is enough space and facilities to house around 200,000 campers on site bb certifies that the festival organisers have plans in place to manage the 4,000 infamous Glastonbury toilets, as well as the site’s water supplies, including three reservoirs holding an incredible three million litres of water. Since 2012, all stalls and concessions are able to access potable water from a new water main laid through the site. bb monitors whether the organisers’ plans are being adhered to, whether this is smell, smoke, litter, light or music bb ensures organisers stick to the rules of a noise management plan, which they agree with the council before the event bb monitors health and safety, temporary campsites and food sellers, inspects taxis and private hire cars with the police, checks unlicensed vehicles, cracks down on unauthorised alcohol sales and unauthorised charity collectors.

Mendip Council

Building control

Mendip Council carries out a wide range of duties: bb inspects the 400 food stalls on site to make sure they are preparing and serving food safely bb monitors the output from nearly 100 stages, venues and sound systems, which have a total power of 650,000W – equal to 13,000 home stereos. Glastonbury’s main Pyramid stage alone has 250 speakers

Building control’s role starts prior to work commencing on site, assessing the stability of all structures including main stages, means of escape strategies and checking the provision of emergency lighting. During the event, two teams of building control professionals are present on site from the preceding Friday to carry out structural inspections on all venues, ensure means of escape provisions are


m Mendip’s building control team helps to ensure that the world’s largest music festival is also the safest

festival secured a licence to hold the event at Worthy Farm until 2024, although there may be some fallow years to allow the land to recover. In the past, Glastonbury Festival’s licences have been subject to scrutiny at a public hearing because of objections from the public or concerns from those with an interest in the safety of the event such as the police, fire or ambulance services. However, the latest application received only a few representations, with all concerns satisfied by the deadline. “This is an enormous festival and no one can afford to be complacent,” Hunt says. “We will continue to work with the organisers to ensure this remains one of the safest events anywhere, and if we have any doubts about this we will take action. Thankfully, in 2014 everything went without a hitch and my team did a superb job as ever.” Most people are aware that building control teams are involved as part of the licensing team at permanent sports grounds but may be less aware of their role at music and dance festivals, sporting events such as Wimbledon (see p10-11) and Ascot and other large events. This often involves out of hours work and liaising with other agencies and can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of working in local authority building control. b

More information satisfactory and enforce licence conditions. On average, a surveyor will cover 16-22km a day on foot. Options for enforcement, as with most building control work, range from giving advice to serving informal notices and improvement notices through to ultimately serving prohibition notices or even prosecution post event. In reality, due to the time constraints, the only realistic options are to advise and solve by chat or move straight to prohibition; there is little or no middle ground. Prohibitions have the potential to stop or seriously disrupt the festival, which is clearly in no-one’s interests. The team has a great deal of respect from the organisers, who take prompt action to

implement actions required and ensure that conditions are met. In 2013, there were only six incidents under Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, one of which was a serious accident during the initial build and preparation stages. Out of the remaining five incidents, one involved a vehicular/pedestrian collision and the remainder were slips and trips – pretty impressive for an outdoor event of this size.


For information on LABC’s Essential events management course, visit Anna Thompson is LABC Director of Training and was part of the Mendip District Council structures monitoring team at Glastonbury in 2014

Licences The council’s time and effort in monitoring the festival is paid for by the organisers through the costs of applying for and maintaining a licence. Last year, the Images © Anna Thompson

Related competencies include Inspection

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Holding court London Borough of Merton Building Control Liaison Officer Trevor McIntosh talks to Barney Hatt about working with the All England Club in the build up to the Wimbledon Championships How did you first become involved with the Wimbledon Championships? When I first joined Merton in 1977, the All England Club was considering a scheme to raise the roof on Centre Court to allow the capacity to be increased. We looked at the public safety aspect, and I did a lot of work on evacuation. We realised that the court was a little short on exits, and asked that extra ones be put in, and from that moment on I became involved in all the club’s schemes. The roof was raised, and in 1992 it was replaced again. More recently, the roof was taken off once more to install the retractable design you see today. So it is a long history. What is the difference between a tennis arena and a football stadium from a safety/certification point of view? At a football stadium you have a partisan crowd who support one team or the other, and there is a lot of rivalry. But at Wimbledon the lawn tennis ‘event’ is an afternoon tea kind of occasion so the spectators tend to be of that ilk. Visitors also have time to move about and enjoy the atmosphere. The big 1 0   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

difference is that you do not need to segregate them. People sitting next to each other may be supporting different players, for example, but there is absolutely no animosity because everyone has just come to enjoy the tennis. Thus it tends to be a safer place to start with. The infrastructure itself is analysed in detail to make sure it is safe both for entry and exit. We have done various exercises over the years to check that the science we used to site the exits has worked. Only Centre and No. 1 Courts are regulated because they are covered areas seating more than 500 people. But we obviously look at overall responsibility within the grounds, which host the Wimbledon Championships each year. We also check the outside courts including No. 2 and No. 3, which are all designed in accordance with the Green Guide – a bible for us. Are there any unique features of public safety at Wimbledon that would not apply at other venues? Yes, because when it is raining the matches are played in a closed stadium Images © Wimbledon Championships All England Club

and there are the issues of dealing with smoke that could come from an incident. Politically it is also sensitive; security is a very high priority at Wimbledon. Almost everyone going into the ground is checked, along with all bags, using technology similar to that found at airports. This has been stepped up in recent years incrementally as the terrorist threat has got bigger, with an increased number of security checks to make sure Wimbledon remains a safe place. Do you think building control is the best technical agency/profession to carry out certification duties for such events? We have responsibilities in the design, so actually just extend this to include safety at sports grounds. The two are so closely allied it is difficult to separate them and I think in most cases building control does have an input. In some places, environmental health is the certifying authority, and in others it is even the chief executive’s decision to issue certificates, but the technical side is normally done by building control. At Merton, safety of sports grounds responsibilities sits within building control. Do you have any input on steward training or numbers at events? We do, and actually witness the steward training. During the Wimbledon Championships, they use armed forces personnel in all the stairways, who are obviously a disciplined crew and understand the implications of various issues, such as security. But they also have to be trained for the local conditions at Wimbledon, which is always done


k The Centre Court roof was taken off to install the retractable design

during the weekend before the Championships starts. How is building control involved through the rest of the year? We make sure structures are checked on a regular basis. Inspections are done at least once a week throughout the year because there is always building work going on. Last year, for example, work was being completed in the basements of Courts 14 and 15 to provide additional accommodation for the ball boys and girls and the press. The club is in competition with all the other international tennis championship events and likes to keep ahead of the game by always increasing the accommodation, but it is a not exactly a huge site. There is also a voluntary ground capacity, which is agreed with the safety advisory group each year, depending on the building work. Sometimes ground capacity has to be lowered to take into account the areas that cannot be used. Do you have a safety team on site at all events, and which service leads? The safety team is not on site but normally meets once a year for this venue – this year in February. Building control is the lead safety organisation, and I chair the meeting. We normally go through issues that have arisen from the previous year’s Championships, to learn from the cause of any errors that might have taken place. We also look at any alterations taking place that might affect the upcoming Championships, and assess the capacity for the event.

Team members include representatives from the emergency services, such as the London Fire Brigade and St John Ambulance, and personnel from the club who pass on any information they want us to consider. This is a minuted document, made available to the public each year. Is there any building work in the pipeline? The big scheme this year is to put a roof on No. 1 Court. There are issues around planning permission and some technical issues to resolve as time goes on. But the officials are very upfront about what they want to do and how they want to do it. The long-term plan up to 2020 is available in a public document, which includes some additional courts, but the big change will be when the roof is put up on No. 1 Court. The roof will not be completed until 2018 but work will start after this year’s Championships. They only have a 39-week period when work can proceed, so it has to be done in bite-sized pieces to avoid disruption to the competition.

Almost everyone going into the ground is checked, along with all bags, using technology similar to that found at airports

One of the big issues to discuss is how to get the 10,000 people in No. 1 Court and the 15,000 in Centre Court away from the courts and home safely should play continue until 11 o’clock in the evening – the normal cut-off time. Negotiations are taking place with the transport authorities on improving the facilities, because a large proportion of the public that attend Wimbledon use public transport. It has always been a pleasure to work with Wimbledon. Whenever we have requested extra work, they have quite rightly asked “why do we have to do this?” From a regulator point of view it is an excellent discipline, because I do not want the club to do any work that is not absolutely essential regarding safety. I explain the reasons, and they respect that view so now we have a brilliant working relationship. They don’t do much at all without asking the council whether it is all right and I do not want to impinge on what they want to do. Our joint ambition is to get as many people into Wimbledon to see the tennis as can be safely accommodated. We both have exactly the same philosophy and it works well. b Barney Hatt is Editor of Building Control Journal

Related competencies include Health and safety

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Good neighbours The energy impact of tall buildings on neighbourhoods should be taken into account when evaluating their carbon emissions, say Julie Futcher, Gerald Mills and Ivan Korolija

P Parts of London have been transformed in recent years as buildings of more than 20 storeys are inserted into an urban landscape mainly comprised of buildings of less than five storeys, as standalone buildings or as clusters such as those in the City of London. However, it is expected that tall residential buildings will become a more common presence throughout the metropolitan area, where 263 towers are planned. The arguments in favour of high-rise are familiar and include their efficient use of

valuable space and lower energy demands for homes/ businesses and transport. Moreover, these new buildings will be subject to legislation requiring energy accounting to ensure that operational energy loads generate no carbon emissions. The government’s Zero Carbon Buildings (ZCB) policy stipulates a ‘fabric-first’ approach that reduces the energy demand by managing energy exchanges across the building envelope. The second phase is to reduce energy use on-site through more efficient technology or renewable energy generation. If these actions are insufficient, allowable solutions (AS) ( will be permitted offsite. As yet there is no guidance on what constitutes allowable solutions, but it could include upgrading other buildings or generating renewable

k The Boundary Estate layout maximised access to daylight 1 2   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

Image © Alamy

energy elsewhere. There are also counter arguments against tall buildings. For example, the environmental benefits are contingent on coherent land use planning, especially the transport network. Moreover, the costs are borne by the surrounding neighbourhood in terms of environmental impacts – sunshine, daylight, wind and visual obstruction. These impacts generally increase with the absolute and relative height of a building vis-à-vis its neighbourhood, and are invariably asymmetric; taller buildings have a greater impact on the lower lying buildings than vice versa. When these impacts are evaluated, it is in a piecemeal fashion (for example, daylight and wind analyses) that does not address their synergistic effect. We have examined the energy impacts of the proposed Bishopsgate Goodsyard (BGY) scheme, consisting of a cluster of tall buildings, on the adjacent Boundary Estate (BE). We propose that these impacts should be taken into account when evaluating the energy performance of tall buildings under the ZCB policy and that AS could provide a means to do so. Representing contrasting approaches to city planning, BGY illustrates London at the beginning of the 21st century with an emphasis on creating a compact, densely occupied city that is energy efficient and limits carbon emissions. Meanwhile, the BE represents London at the start of the 20th century when the

concerns were about slum clearance, healthy housing and sanitary conditions.

Bishopsgate The current planning proposal for BGY (September 2014) is a mixed-use development of eight towers ranging from 180.4m to 23.6m in height providing 1,464 residential units. The area is deemed suitable for tall buildings owing to its location on the edge of City financial district and as a transport hub. Its energy management strategy is to achieve CO2 savings of 35% over Part L 2010 using a combination of passive design and energy efficiency (17%), combined heat and power (21%) and photovoltaics (1%).

Boundary Estate BE was the first large scheme undertaken using the Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 to tackle the problem of unsanitary housing conditions in London. The scheme rehoused 5,524 people in 1,069 tenements based on a calculation of two persons per room and every habitable room was designed to have at least a 45° angle of light horizontally and vertically. Little has changed since construction. For example, the external walls are 28cm thick without cavity or insulation and windows are single glazed. The buildings are Grade II listed, the majority allocated to social housing by owner Tower Hamlets. The layout maximises access to sun and daylight with 15m wide streets, which are


Table 1 Building element External walls Roof


Ground floor

Internal floors

Dividing walls Heating

Current construction

U values: as built

15” brick wall without cavity or insulation



Wooden rafters Welsh slate and/or terracotta tiles No or limited roof insulation



5.871 Solar heat gain coefficient: 0.847 Visible transmittance: 0.892

1.946 12mm air cavity, 4mm Low-E clear inner pane Solar heat gain coefficient: 0.628 Visible transmittance: 0.761



Single transparent 4mm glass – casement, sash and pivot

Foundation of vaulted arches infilled with rubble Damp proof course around base of ground-floor flats Concrete One block still has wooden floors Modified original layout Brick or blockwork

Temperature set points °C Occupied time:

During unoccupied time:

Bedrooms 19


Living rooms 21

Original coal fires replaced with gas heating system

Light/equipment gains: Bedrooms: 9W/m2 Living rooms: 11.5W/m2

Occupancy parameters Occupied time

U values: proposed (2014)

Bedrooms: 10pm - 8am Living rooms working family: Weekends: 8am - 10pm Weekdays: 5pm - 10pm Living rooms constantly occupied: 8am - 10pm

Infiltration (constant) Existing fabric: 0.5 air change per hour

Upgraded fabric: 0.25 air change per hour

Occupancy density Bedrooms: 8m /person 2

oriented to align the longest facade to the solar path. The scheme was completed in March 1900 and is still regarded as a model of good design and planning.

Living rooms: 10m2/person

Figure 1: BGY shading impact

The energy impact The designs of both BE and BGY emphasise passive design strategies to achieve their objectives. However, the location and scale of BGY allows it to access daylight, sunshine and wind at the expense of BE. Figure 1 shows the period when this impact is greatest, during the winter months when BE is in shadow for much of the day. A simple analysis was undertaken to assess the impact of this shading on BE heating loads during the winter period. A 3D model (using SketchUp) was created from the planning application for BGY and from Google Earth. Glazing ratios, construction details and occupation patterns for BE were obtained from site visits and residents (Table 1). These data were imported into Energy Plus, a dynamic n Images © Julie Futcher

k November mid-morning, noon and mid-afternoon with (top) and without (bottom) proposed towers

k December mid-morning, noon and mid-afternoon with (top) and without (bottom) proposed towers J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5   1 3



simulation model that is used widely to assess building energy performance.


Figure 2: Heating loads

Results To evaluate the current heating demand in BE during the six-month period from September to March, a cursory assessment was undertaken. In our simulations we neglected the energy demand for purposes other than raising the indoor temperature and assumed a boiler efficiency of 86%; under these circumstances, the average heating demand was 90kWh/m2/yr or about 105kWh/m2/yr of boiler gas consumption. The effects of overshadowing are evaluated in percentage terms against this crude benchmark. In addition, we considered the impact if BE’s current building fabric were to be upgraded to those required by the current Part L (2014). In its current state, BE has a very high winter heating demand, which would increase with shading by between 1% and 5% (see Figure 2). The largest increases occur in the upper floors, which are more exposed to solar gain, and those in the south-west quarter, which are closest to BGY and in shade the longest. The buildings to the south east were affected less, owing to overshadowing by the Avant-garde tower that is already in place. Also buildings in the north east, furthest from BGY, were little affected by the proposed development. By comparison, if BE were upgraded to Part L (2014) standards, its energy performance would be improved dramatically (up to 70% based on our simulations). Interestingly, the overshadowing would still have an impact on this lower winter heating demand of up to 9%. The pattern of impacts is the same as that before 1 4   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

n Percentage difference in heating loads per floor between September and March for buildings in their current thermal condition

n Percentage difference in heating loads per floor between September and March for upgraded Boundary Estate buildings upgrading but the greater importance of solar gain in the refurbished estate means that the relative impact of overshadowing is increased.

ZCB policy As it stands, the ZCB policy will change cities one building at a time. Given that the rate of new build is relatively small in relation to the existing stock (perhaps 1%-2% on an annual basis), reducing urban energy use and carbon emissions will take some time. Allowable solutions could accelerate this transformation by linking the energy performance of projects such as BGY to the neighbourhoods that are directly impacted by its design. This would have the effect of extending the envelope of energy accountability beyond the building site.

Does BGY have a responsibility to its neighbouring buildings, especially those that bear the energy costs of the development? If so, the refurbishment of BE offers a good solution. This not only satisfies AS criteria (including the desire to tackle fuel poverty) but it also provides a mechanism to improve the current building stock in cities as the UK

moves towards the 2050 energy targets. This work represents a different perspective on energy management tools at an urban scale where the interactions between buildings provide an opportunity to mitigate carbon emissions. Allowable solutions may provide a framework for the development of tools suited to this complex and urgent task. b

Julie Futcher is an Architect at Urban Generation, Gerald Mills is Geographer and Urban Climatologist at University College Dublin, and Ivan Korolija is a Building Energy Efficiency Specialist and Research Fellow at De Montfort University Leicester

Related competencies include Environmental audit (and monitoring), Property records/ information systems



Mark Scott describes an innovative apprenticeship scheme that could provide the answer to building control skill shortages

Controlling the future


With the need for more housebuilding high on the agenda in the UK and the construction sector lobbying for further investment, recent press reports of a potential ‘skills time bomb’ in the sector make gloomy reading. The Confederation of British Industry’s 2014 Housing Britain: building new homes for growth ( report indicated skills as a priority area for action. At the same time, the Home building skills – an action plan to 2020 from the National House Building Council, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), House Builders Federation and Zero Carbon Hub, also highlights industry concern that skills shortages now and in the future would be a constraint on growth ( For an industry centred on delivering solutions, why can’t an answer be found to the issue of skills shortages? Of course, account has to be taken of the sporadic nature, location and duration of projects. So how can companies both large and small plan for the right skills they require? To add to an already complex problem, certain career paths are affected more than others. Take the current shortage of building control officers. Why does the sector struggle when it comes to attracting

new talent or existing skilled individuals? The answer lies in two parts. First, mixed levels of investment in workforce planning has led to many more leaving the sector than joining, through retirement or career progression. Secondly, careers advice for young people highlighting opportunities in the sector is extremely poor. This is generally down to a lack of understanding of the entry and development routes and the lacklustre way that the industry is portrayed. As a result, talented young people aged 16 to 18 do not even consider the sector, despite the good, well-paid career opportunities available.

Sustainable solution To reverse the trend, the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI) has devised a two-part programme based on the innovative YORfuture shared apprenticeship scheme run by Futureworks (Yorkshire) in conjunction with the CITB. Part 1 consists of a 16-18 apprenticeship programme, aimed at attracting school leavers and building on existing technical apprenticeships, funding and potential bursaries. This programme includes targeted recruitment and mentoring options along with ensuring progression routes are available, thus retaining the workforce and maximising investment. Working with Futureworks (Yorkshire) on this programme brings about the added value of the shared apprenticeship scheme. Using this scheme alongside traditional recruitment of apprentices

A practitioner's view The industry’s skills shortage has become exacerbated by the upturn in the construction market. I have always tried to help colleagues progress and gain experience but bright hardworking people are surprised to find that their university education does not prepare them or match employment requirements. But what surprises me is their lack of basic construction knowledge. Surveying requires this knowledge, yet many companies appear to dismiss the need for training where considerable practical knowledge is gained on the job. Surveyors do not come with a quick fix. Experience comes with exposure to many different scenarios and mixing with experienced people. But you do not expect to have to explain what a damp proof course is and where it is applied to partly trained people. I was recently asked: “Why do we pay someone without a degree the same as someone with one?” The answer I gave was: “We have to train you – in time your degree and experience will combine and hopefully you will progress.” The practical and basic understanding of construction seems to be forgotten: everybody expects to be a manager and not need to understand how a building is constructed. Training is the responsibility of employers as well as universities and requires both to work together, not only for the benefit of the individual but for the organisation. I would also like to see RICS encourage people who work and study part time because I believe that their commitment is to be admired. l Cathal Wright is a senior building control surveyor

means that additional individuals can be recruited into the sector and shared between companies, thus helping smaller companies, allowing for fluctuating workloads and futureproofing skills needs. Roll out is taking place over the coming months with apprentices starting at college in September. Part 2 consists of a graduate/career development programme, aimed at individuals aged over 18 and providing career progression of existing staff. Building on part-time

degrees and linking experience to professional body requirements, it offers a pragmatic approach to retaining the current workforce while bolstering new skilled staff. Details are still being finalised, but the programme is demonstrating a way forward to growing a sustainable workforce. b

Mark Scott is Director of Futureworks (Yorkshire) mark@

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Nicholas Humes looks at how building information modelling can free building control staff from basic checking tasks

Easy wins for regulation


he BIM4Regs working groups were set up to answer the increasingly important question: “How can BIM be used for regulation checking?” The answer is we do it the same way we always have – the fundamental process does not change, neither does the technical intent. In simplified terms, regulation checking in the UK can be characterised as a question-response-feedback process. This can be applied to the spectrum of requirements in planning, building control, health and safety and facilities management. The information that feeds each of these three stages is collected and analysed in an established and standardised approach and, as such, tools, protocols and systems have been developed that aim to save time and effort as well as increase accuracy, consistency and even transparency. The tools can accommodate regional variations and updates, while online files allow applications to be checked in different parts of the country depending on demand and availability. So the user does not have to be fully aware of the intricacies of whether a door is to be 870mm or 910mm.

Software validation The follow-up debate prompts the question: “Who validates the software?” No software vendor verifies the drawings from our CAD packages or specifications from Word documents. However, BIM affords the possibility to have a ‘design supervisor’. The idea of ‘validated’ software is not new. Standard Assessment Procedure calculation software is certified by BRE and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Third party validation of the logic and processes could be checked by the body responsible or a third party. In a previous project with the BRE, the LABC conducted this role and verified the logic of the REGBIM software ( The validation of regulation checking software will focus on compliance with the existing regulations to ensure technical intent remains. In Singapore in 2003, the building regulations were frozen for two years to allow such a process to be conducted. From experiences in several recent projects, the analysis of existing documents provides additional benefits because it allows the revaluation of regulations and standards from a different 1 6   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

perspective. It queries how they are written, how they are presented and identifies gaps in the content and aspects that have become outdated. It can also highlights ambiguous clauses that can then benefit from a more objective and clear phrasing. This process is often results in consolidation and reordering, making the documents shorter and easier to read.

Objective queries Many regulations and standards in the construction industry rely on quantification, i.e. the position, dimensions, areas and values attributed to the building elements. These objective queries are easily quantifiable and perfect for computer analysis. For the question-response-feedback process to work effectively, two of the main requirements are: bb the regulations need to exist as a set of computer readable codes bb the elements in the BIM model need to have the required data in a suitable format. Currently, the format of some regulations does facilitate adequate quantification and this should be addressed as the BIM agenda progresses. However, this has not stopped the industry. File sharing format Industry Foundation Class is often used to Image © Inform Architecture



PeopleProject software allows contractors to manage new and regional variations in regulations

Some subjective queries that rely on site investigations may not be obvious candidates for a process based on a BIM. Such processes are being augmented through the use of mobile apps and tablets as the BIM revolution progresses. However, queries that rely on human judgment still need to be accompanied by some form of record. As BIM provides a dynamic record of the building, it is perfect for a location-based log of decisions and qualitative feedback.

Unforeseen benefits

transfer data from the main BIM platforms to third party and open source program for further analysis and feedback. An effective method of ensuring there is adequate information in the model is to use library parts that have the required data attached; something that BIM is particularly good at. Library parts can often be sourced directly from the proprietary manufacturers, which have a clear commercial interest in providing an accurate and useful model of their product. The identification of the data required to assess a building against regulations is high on the UK government’s agenda, with Level 3 on the horizon. There are many easy wins that are perfectly suited to machine checking e.g. door widths, parking space widths and sill heights, leaving the remaining ‘harder to reach’ regulations to be developed in due course. Consider all the individual elements that have to be checked, managed and updated for each project. Now factor that into the £92.4bn UK construction industry to quickly get an idea of the benefits that the ability to audit automatically, rigorously and almost instantaneously presents. A recent report has shown that since 2011 some £9.6bn of projects delivered using BIM processes ( Uptake will increase with support and awareness, benefiting from backing by early adopters and support from key organisations such as RICS.

Additional benefits of BIM are emerging, such as laser scanned models. As demonstrated in Singapore, pre-approval of applications can occur using the same online system as the regulatory authority, resulting in a higher approval rate and a quicker response. In addition, this releases staff from laborious checking tasks and allows them to focus on other issues. Using the PeopleProject CAD-based tool, for example, the availability of information and ‘pre-approved’ library parts is key to user satisfaction in compliance checking. As well as the provision of a design supervisor, the software allows architects and contractors to easily manage new and regional variations in regulations. BIM also has massive implication for health and safety agendas. These include: bb hazard detection at the design stage bb detection of potential clashes e.g. between machinery, such as crane booms with temporary scaffolding barriers bb production of real models using 3D printing to allow further interrogation of schemes bb videos and GPS ‘safe’ routes for delivery drivers on hazardous sites bb communication of hazard information to trades through mobile apps. The legacy of BIM is of great interest. Once sufficient libraries of geo-located BIM models exist, these can be used to inform decisions not just at the construction stages but at policy level too. Imagine if we had had BIM models in the 1950s when asbestos construction was common; today, we would have had 3D records of the exact location and quantities of such materials. For many other sectors, BIM offers the potential to combine these new datasets with their own to provide useful, interesting and exciting solutions. b Dr Nicholas Humes is Managing Director at Inform Architecture

Related competencies include Building information modelling management

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Terry O’Neill explains why guidance has been provided to clarify fire safety duties

Taking responsibility


ollowing the repeal of Local Acts within the Building Regulations in December 2012, the Fire Sector Federation became concerned that fire safety systems were being removed, abandoned or decommissioned without the responsible person being fully aware of their duties or the impact of these actions on life safety. Its Enforcement Workstream forum therefore decided to produce guidance to assist those in the role. Repeal of local enactments – guidance outlines factors that should be considered before altering the fire safety provisions contained in existing buildings. The document considers Building Regulations compliance, insurers’ interests, the approval process and the responsible person’s responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) ( The Local Acts gave powers to local authorities to consider the provision of fire safety provisions over and above those required under the Building Regulations,. These were aimed at improving firefighter safety and firefighting operations as a result of lessons learned from incidents involving high-rise buildings, large volume buildings, warehouses and car parks. Additional measures recommended included increased fire resistance, compartmentation, fire suppression, firefighting stairways, smoke ventilation, fire warning systems and requirements on 1 8   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

plant such as high powered boilers and transformer rooms. A by-product of these additional fire safety measures was the enhancement of both property protection and business continuity, neither of which are a requirement under the Building Regulations.

Local Acts repeal Over time, many of the recommendations in the Local Acts were incorporated into Approved Document B. Meanwhile, an impact assessment determined that measures required under Local Acts imposed extra construction, maintenance and administrative cost on industry. It was also recognised that, in some situations, these provisions could obstruct fair competition between building control bodies.

It is now even more important that fire service agreement is obtained under section B5 of Approved Document B during building control consultation

The review concluded that the additional Local Act provisions were no longer necessary to ensure life safety in event of fire, since it must be assumed that Approved Document B was adequate. It also suggested that repeal would simplify the compliance process for both designers and contractors, allowing them to focus solely on Building Regulation compliance. The Building (Repeal of Provisions of Local Acts) Regulations 2012 and the Building Regulations etc (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2013 came into force on 9 January 2013, resulting in the repeal of: bb Berkshire Act 1986, sections 36, 38 and 37 bb Bournemouth Borough Council Act 1985, sections 16, 18 and 17 bb Cheshire County Council Act 1980, sections 48 and 55 bb County of Avon Act 1982, section 7 bb County of Cleveland Act 1987, section 6 bb County of Kent Act 1981, section 51 bb County of Merseyside Act 1980, sections 50, 52 and 53 bb Croydon Corporation Act 1960 sections 93 and 94 bb Cumbria Act 1982, section 23 bb Derbyshire Act 1981, section 28 bb East Ham Act 1957, section 61 bb Greater Manchester Act 1981, section 61, 64 and 65 bb Hampshire Act 1983, section 11 and 13 bb Hereford City Council Act 1985, section 17 bb Humberside Act 1982, section 12 bb Isle of Wight Act 1980, section 30


bb Leicestershire Act 1985, sections 49, 52 and 53 bb London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939, sections 20 and 21 bb Poole Borough Council Act 1986, sections 10, 15 and 14 bb South Yorkshire Act 1980, sections 53 and 57 bb Staffordshire Act 1983, section 25 bb Surrey Act 1985, sections 18 and 19 bb West Midlands County Council Act 1980, section 44. Although the Local Acts were only considered to be advisory, in practice they were often applied in a consistent manner. With their repeal, it is now even more important that fire service agreement is obtained under section B5 of Approved Document B during building control consultation. It should also be remembered that it is not known how many changes have been to buildings since the repeal without fully considering the impact of fire safety.

Building Regulations compliance The repeal of Local Acts was based on the assumption that compliance with the current Building Regulations is satisfactory. It is therefore reasonable to use these regulations and associated Approved Documents as a benchmark when considering the removal of fire safety measures. Importantly, it should be noted that for some existing buildings it is possible that the fire safety measures incorporated under the auspices of the Local Act may have been used as a trade-off to meet Building Regulations compliance. For example, the a sprinkler system may have been used to vary the means-of-escape provision, firefighting access and facilities, boundary conditions or fire resisting construction standards. It is therefore recommended that prior to the removal, abandonment or decommissioning of any fire safety measure a full building survey is undertaken. A fire strategy should be provided that demonstrates compliance with the Building Regulations. In addition, a satisfactory fire risk assessment should be undertaken in compliance with the RRFSO. It is possible, and even likely in some cases, that the provision of fire safety measures will have been taken into account by an insurer and that reduced premiums or other beneficial considerations allowed as a consequence.

Fire safety forum The Enforcement Workstream of the Fire Sector Federation provides a forum to evaluate the effectiveness of all current legislation that impacts on fire safety. It encourages discussion on ways in which it can promote a consistent approach in the application, interpretation and enforcement of legislation. The Repeal of local enactments – guidance will be reviewed in six months, so any constructive comments should be emailed to the Chair,

Accordingly, responsible persons considering the removal of such fire measures from their buildings should ensure that the relevant parties are notified. Most insurance policies require such notifications as a matter of contract and failure to do this could result in the absence of cover in the event of a claim. The responsible person should undertake such enquiries or seek expert advice where appropriate to ensure that any actions proposed do not affect compliance with the RRFSO, for which the fire authority has the enforcement role. It should be determined whether the proposed alterations constitute building work that is subject to the Building Regulations, in which case an application should be made to a building control body. If the works being undertaken do not require Building Regulations approval, it is for the responsible person to determine whether it is appropriate to remove any fire safety measures, having taken expert advice where appropriate. They should also ensure that the change will not have a detrimental effect on the safety of the occupants, including firefighters, and will not impact on fire service access and facilities. The relevant fire authority may provide advice if approached. The range of fire safety measures required under Local Acts varied depending on the fire risk and location of building. These may have included automatic fire detection systems, fire suppression systems, smoke ventilation facilities, hose reels, enhanced fire resisting construction and fire control centres.

Measures provided for the safety of relevant persons must continue to be maintained as required by Article 17 (1) of the RRFSO. Failure to do so could result in enforcement action being undertaken.

Undertaking a review When undertaking a review, a simple comparison could be made between the fire safety provisions in the existing building and the requirements for the same building if it was constructed today. Providing there are no insurance issues, any fire measures over and above compliance with current Building Regulations may be removed, abandoned or decommissioned. The responsible person should: bb undertake reasonable due diligence to ensure that the person carrying out the assessment or providing advice is competent to act on their behalf bb obtain a copy of the original building control approval information including the as-built drawings to identify any trade-offs in fire measures required under the Local Act bb consult the original building control body that gave approval, bearing in mind that information may not be available for buildings constructed many years ago bb make a comparison against the codes/guidance documents to establish whether there are any non-code compliant areas resulting from a trade-off for fire safety measures introduced by the Local Act bb if there is no building control information available, consider undertaking a full building survey and compare the results against the current Building Regulations. If fire safety measures have already been removed, decommissioned or abandoned, it is recommended that the responsible person apply this guidance and reinstate the fire safety measures as necessary. b

Terry O’Neill is Chair of the Fire Sector Federation Enforcement Workstream and Chief Operating Officer at Butler & Young Group

Related competencies include Fire safety

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Field of play With the increased use of sports grounds as music venues, a new guide sets a framework for safety at such events, reports Ken Scott


he days of being able to accommodate major music concerts in clubs and theatres have long passed. While there are purpose-built arenas with flexible capacities up to 20,000-strong audiences in some cases, artists look to large capacity venues to deliver the necessary ticket revenue to cover the high tour costs (Building Control Journal November/ December 2014). Step forward large sporting venues. But where do you go to find safe solutions for adapting these for the challenges of hosting an alternative type of event? The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) Guide to safety at sports grounds (Green Guide) was never intended to advise on spectators using the field of play as viewing accommodation. There was a need for a document that specifically addressed the needs of promoters and certifying authorities. Alternative uses of sports grounds, recently published by SGSA, is designed to fill this gap.

New strategies The Green Guide, for example, gives no advice on matters such as suitable crowd densities for spectators standing on the playing surface or guidance on entry and egress of those sited anywhere other than in purpose-designed seating positions. Answers are provided in the new guide, which also gives advice on field of play audiences that are likely to include a high percentage of spectators under the age of 18. In this respect, much of the comment was drawn from experience in the planning and execution of crowd 2 0   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

k Oasis at Sunderland Football Club’s Stadium of Light in June 2009

Holding a safe event is much more than consideration of venue-specific matters management strategies for the 2014 One Direction tour. Guidance is also offered on the layout for seated accommodation on the field of play. The issue of event overlay is addressed as well as the multitude of types of demountable structure that can be imported for large events. Many touring productions arrive on site with elaborate and complex overlays to create the wow factor that is almost a prerequisite for any large production. In many cases, designs used are specialist in terms of structural design and almost always require a high degree of checking both for design and erection on site. The new document seeks to assist in this area. Not forgotten is the need to adapt access for those with a disability to ensure that the venue achieves the highest levels of provision for all to enjoy and share in the experience. Image © Ken Scott

Understanding the crowd demographic is also featured and the need to consider the provision of such things as toilet facilities in line with the expected male/female ratio. The document recognises that holding a safe event is much more than consideration of venue-specific matters and seeks to address ‘last mile’ issues, covering the safe arrival and departure of spectators from transport hubs or park and ride/walk facilities. At the heart of the guidance is the principle of careful consideration and planning for the many elements that must come together to develop a safe event. Guidance is therefore offered on the compilation of an event operations manual (event safety plan), which provides the structure to the successful delivery. SGSA plans to promote the guidance at a series of regional events and forums. b

More information >

For further details, visit Ken Scott is an Inspector at Sports Grounds Safety Authority



UPDATE Housing Standards Review Details of how the long awaited Housing Standards Review will be implemented have been released. The review is being introduced via the Deregulation Bill and aims to simplify standards into one key set, driven by Building Regulations. Dual level Building Regulations for access and water will give local authorities some freedom to require developers to build to different standards than the minimum requirements. With appropriate evidence, local authorities can also use the new space standards that make up the new national technical standards. There is also a new mandatory security regulation. The future of the Code for Sustainable Homes has also been clarified. Through changes to the Climate Change Act 2008, local authorities in England will no longer be able to require levels of the code. Where there are existing contractual arrangements, it will be possible to continue to certify and register against the Code. n

LABC briefs on changes The building industry has returned to rapid growth with a background of changes in regulations, innovation and the raising of standards. LABC's recent briefing focused on what these developments mean to members delivering the service. Day one focused on fire protection, while day two’s topics included the Housing Standards Review. n

Skill shortages Worsening skills shortages will threaten 27,000 building projects within five years, according to a RICS survey of members. More than four fifths (85%) of surveyors questioned said that a lack of qualified candidates meant they had problems recruiting. Around two in five (43%) firms currently turn down new business opportunities due to a dearth of skilled workers. n

In brief... RICS training 5 June, London Contaminated land n 5 June, London Management and control of invasive weeds n 6 July, London BIM for health and safety n

RICS events Building Control Conference 2015 22 September, Birmingham The RICS annual national conference promises an update on key aspects from the building control industry and the challenges it faces.

Diversity and inclusion conference 25 June, London The property and construction profession is set to lose more than 400,000 employees to retirement in the next five to 10 years. It is therefore more important than ever that the profession focuses on attracting and retaining the right talent mix. Join industry peers and leading experts for a day of knowledge sharing and workshops to prepare for and harness the next generation. n

Part P research LABC and the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors have published joint research designed to evaluate electrical contracting in homes required to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations. Results show that after 10 years, the system has ‘settled down’ in the standard

business-to-business work between building control surveyors and registered electricians. Fewer issues are being reported, with 90% of building control bodies saying that Part P complaints are remaining constant or decreasing. n

Publication categories Alexander Aronsohn, RICS Director of Technical International Standards, has set out the new categories of publications from RICS. The full article can be read in the May-June issue of the Property Journal. n

Global APC review Get an update on RICS’ global APC content review, which aims to reduce the current 20 pathways to a total of seven. n J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5   2 1



No need to panic Jim Percival gives his top tips for successfully completing the Assessment of Professional Competence


he APC is a crucial part of a chartered surveyor’s career and can be a daunting undertaking. I would advise anyone thinking about a career in surveying to research the APC process as early as possible. Not only does this make it less worrying, but also shows any potential employers that you are savvy and proactive enough to be thinking about your professional accreditation at an early stage. The best starting point is the RICS website, where you can find information on the stages of the APC, pathways, and the purpose of regulation (

Submission APC submissions differ from academic writing. There is no need to use long, complex sentences to convey your ideas. You are constrained by character and word counts so use short, simple sentences to demonstrate experience of the many skills required for each competency. With the exception of ethics and other mandatory competencies, you effectively write the syllabus from your own experience so you have an enormous influence on the questions you are asked. Do not necessarily write about the biggest or most glamorous project you worked on. Keep it simple and write instead about those that clearly demonstrate you have covered all competencies, even if you feel the project was unimpressive. Omit anything that could lead to awkward questions. When writing the Critical Analysis or Summary of Experience, do not write a torrent of everything you know. Leave deliberately under-developed points as ‘hooks’ that invite the assessors to ask questions that you then know are coming and can prepare for. Assessors simply do not have the time to scrutinise everything.

Revision Once the submission has been sent, revision begins. Private study is an important part of preparing for the APC, but I would suggest that by itself it does not develop the skills required. It is an oral exam in which you have to defend decisions and demonstrate points, and you need to practise. Do as many mock exams with experienced surveyors, (preferably assessors themselves) as you can. Often, firms will assess each other’s graduates so you can experience being assessed by unfamiliar people. A revision method less dependent on the goodwill of others is to set up a study group of other candidates on your pathway. Examine each other’s 2 2   J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

submissions and do as much Q&A as you can. This will develop your communication skills and will expose your weaknesses. Practise your presentation as many times as you can. Get the timings right; 10 minutes is not long. You need to be entirely comfortable with the topic and your delivery.

Final assessment Finally, you come to the final assessment. Honestly, in my experience, the hour-long assessment just flies by. The presentation is the most important part, because you are fully in control. Making a good impression at this stage stands you in good stead. If you are unhappy with your presentation, you will find it hard to recover your confidence for the rest of the assessment. The rest of the interview should flow from your templates. By this point you should know these inside out, and with your hooks, you should have a fair idea of what is coming. There will of course be a few questions that nobody asked in a mock, and there will probably be some that trip you up. Don’t panic. You are not expected to know everything. An oft-used expression is that they are looking for a ‘safe pair of hands’. Not knowing the answer to a few questions is acceptable as long as you react appropriately. Do not guess the answer, instead, treat the situation as if a client was asking you a question. Explain that you are not sure and would need to research the subject and suggest where you would look. Knowing where to find information is a good second best if you do not have the information to hand. Contrastingly, ethics, RICS rules and health and safety do require perfect recall and a wrong answer here can be disastrous. Luckily, this can simply be learned by rote and is easily tested in mocks. One final recommendation: after the APC try not to expect too much from yourself. Continue to ask questions, be aware of the limits of your experience and competence and be prepared to ask for help when you need it. C

Jim Percival is a Chartered Building Surveyor at Savills

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