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So what are these Big Changes

Inter County Surveys

In June 2022 the new building regulations came into force. Amongst the changes generally significate changes  have been made to Part B (fire safety), F (ventilation), and L (conservation of fuel and power). New regulations related to Part O (overheating) and Part S (Infrastructure for charging electrical devices) have been introduced.

These new regulations have had a significant effect on the way in which construction is carried out, and the materials that now have to be used. The adage of the builder saying 'I've done it like this for 40 years' means nothing. It's a whole new ball game.

New changes as from the 1st October 2023.

Another significate change and new piece of legislation is the Building Safety  Act 2022.

These changes are being implemented as part of the Building Safety Act 2022. New ‘duty holders’ are being introduced through revisions to building regulations and will apply to all buildings, from a domestic extension through to a complex mixed-use building – in fact, any project that requires building regulations approval.

So what is this. We all remember the Grenfell Tower fire, where 72 soles died, well this is the new legislation that has come out of that fire. Although this Act mainly covers high risk residential  buildings over 18m high, it also has an effect even on the smallest residential alteration, whether the designer and/or contractor are legally responsible for compliance whether in formal contract or not.

These are the biggest changes to building safety legislation for nearly 40 years, and they will raise standards across the industry and ensure designers, contractors, sub-contractor and building owners have nowhere to hide if they break the rules.

A defining element of the Building Safety Act is the responsibility on Clients, Designers and Contractors to be competent to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations. For Principal Designers and Contractors this responsibility for competence extends to compliance with the Act.

These roles include clients, designers and contractors, each having specific responsibilities related to planning, managing and monitoring both the design and construction phases of a project to ensure compliance with building regulations.

So, what are these ‘duty holders?


Firstly, who are these duty holders?

  1. The Principle Designer, the person carrying out the design be it the planning approval and or the building regulations in the main. There are other duty holders that will work with and feed into any design.

  2. The Principle Contractor, the person or person carrying out the works. The principle contractor is appointed by the client, and they manage the construction phase work, coordinate and communicate with other duty holders and shares relevant information. They should ensure that construction work is planned, managed and monitored to comply with the building regulations, and how the project has been designed.

  3. The Client, the client appoints the principle designer and the principle contractor and they are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the works comply with the building regulations.


Duty to ensure compliance.


The primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with building regulations lies with those who initiate building work and those who play crucial roles in the design and construction process. These duty holders are accountable for ensuring that work is designed and constructed so as to comply with building regulations.


Duty to be competent


It is essential for duty holders to have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and behaviour’s relevant to their designated tasks. If an organisation is involved, it should have the organizational capability necessary to fulfil the duties.


Duty to cooperate, coordinate and communicate


Duty holders are required to work together effectively, maintaining clear lines of communication, sharing information and collaborating throughout the process.

Clients have a crucial role in the process, and need to carefully consider how proposed work will meet both procedural and technical requirements of building regulations. This understanding helps you make informed decisions during the design and construction phases. The overarching goal of the changes is to foster a shift within the industry, to move away from treating building regulations compliance as a mere checklist, and towards encouraging a deeper understanding and confidence in demonstrating compliance.

Here at Inter County Surveys we are more than well versed in the duty requirements of the Principal Designer role and have more than 40 years in the industry.

It is absolutely imperative that design information is fully understood by the Principle Contractor and client alike. Historically critical details, methods of construction do not find their way to the contractor or subcontractors, this results in defective construction and noncompliance with the building regulations. This leads to under performing buildings or even unsafe or dangerous buildings.


Worryingly, in a lot of situations the client is completely unaware of the lack of communication and or lack of competence during the works. It crucial that all individuals and organisations involved in these roles, indeed anyone undertaking design or construction work, need to possess the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.

Historically building control officers, have ‘guided’ many contractors and sub-contractors through challenges and changes on site for a host of reasons. This practice/service will however not be possible as from the 1st October, as the building control officer/approved inspector are not and can’t be the principle designer, and carries no design liability.

Here at Inter County Surveys we have developed a comprehensive Building Contract, Design, Specification and Tendering package. All the design documentation are contained within the tender package, that all duty holders will be required to sign prior to building works commence.


No longer will the contractor be able to say ‘that’s not what I quoted for’.  


From the 1st October 2023, a full plans building regulation application will have to provide details of the principle designer, principle contractor, and obviously the client details. If, in the situation that the principle contractor has not been appointed that the time of the submission of the building regulation application, then this information shall be forwarded to the building control department when it is available, and shall be prior to the building works commencing.

Building inspectors will also have a very much greater involvement with both the client and potentially the principle designer in regard to site visits and comments/concerns raised from the side visits. The information flow will be much more of a formal nature than it has been over the decades.

The Principle Designer will be responsible for the design of the building, extension/alteration, and to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the Building Regulations and the Building Safety Act. Builders, contractors/sub-contractors will not be able to just change the design or change a type of material on a whim because he has found a cheaper alternative at his local builders merchant. Changes made to the design and or detailing without the approval of the Building Designer means that the person carrying out that changes will take on the design liability for a period of up to 15years, whether or not there is a formal building contract in place.

We, here at Inter County Surveys, are well versed in the new regulations, and the Building Safety Act, to ensure that all parties involved in building understand their relevant roles and responsibilities.

It is all very well having a correctly designed and 
compliant building project if the tendering and contract procurement is not properly controlled or administered. As the saying goes 'the devil is in the detail'. 

We have seen time and time again, on completion of a building project the client ends up with something different than that originally designed and what has been paid for.


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