I hope Each Home Counts is a force for good and isn’t just another badge. If you haven’t caught up on the consultation it closed a week or so ago and I am grateful to all members who fed in their views. You can see our full response here, but even as I read it again I feel the frustration bubbling up again, I am a naturally optimistic soul, but I am finding it really hard to be enthused. We all want standards to improve and frameworks will help, but is another voluntary initiative going to make the difference we need?
If we can learn anything from the Hackitt review interim report it is that legislation just isn’t joined up well and where it doesn’t join up it is vulnerable to both cock up and conspiracy. Enforcement is woefully undefunded and really herein lies my frustration. Each Home Counts is essentially built on a small (in the scheme of things) sticking plaster being handed to Trustmark in the form of a loan to try and repeat what hasn’t really been achieved in the past.
I just can’t help think we should just be done with it, bite the bullet, set a domestic building code (building regulations and business requirements), hand enforcement to a reformed National Building Control with local offices, link it with a Builders Registration and a requirement to list all works on a National Building Projects Register (so as to avoid VAT Crime too). I see now that the Federation of Master Builders are starting the call for a mandatory register of builders and this is perhaps the right way to go. It is without doubt complex, key issues are where decoration meets building (i.e. is fitting a kitchen building work or is it just elements of this work). Is a bricklayer a builder? Would the licence limit types of work? What about grandfather rights, subcontracting control and transfer of skills globally? Even with Competent Person Schemes there remains a grey market. My view we should lean any such scheme into CSCS and LABC, if it was done right it could help to raise money and support a modernised and improved Building Control process.
Can anyone help me fill my half full cup or shall I just down the rest and enjoy the weekend?!
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