Agenda item

Devon Building Control Partnership - Mr Nigel Hunt to attend and respond to Member Questions

Extract of the Devon Building Control Q1 Operational Plan to be read in conjunction with this agenda item



The Deputy Leader (who was also one of the Council’s appointed representatives on the Devon Building Control Partnership (DBCP) Committee) introduced Mr Nigel Hunt, Head of the DBCP, who proceeded to provide Members with a verbal update on the work of the Partnership.  In so doing, Mr Hunt made particular reference to:


·           the establishment of a Strategy Board.  Members were informed that a Strategy Board (comprising of Senior Directors from South Hams and West Devon and Teignbridge District Council, Accountants from the Councils; and the Head of DBCP) had recently been established which, in conjunction with the DBCP Committee, set the strategic direction for the provision and operation of the Building Control Service;


·           the service being a statutory one.  It was noted that the Partnership provided a statutory service, with its main role being to ensure that the local authorities within the Partnership completed both their statutory and regulatory duties in a timely manner with regard to the Building Control function;


·           the service operating in a competitive market.  Whilst providing a public service, Mr Hunt pointed out the Partnership was operating in a competitive market against private sector companies that were providing the same service.  As a result, it was vital that the Partnership was competitive both in terms of cost and quality of service.  When questioned, Mr Hunt confirmed that 80% of the service was self-financing, with the remaining 20% funded through the three partner local authorities;


·           the Council’s declared Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency.  In terms of future direction for the Partnership, Mr Hunt recognised that there was a need to be increasingly engaged with the Council’s declared Emergency.


In the ensuing discussion, the following points were raised:


a)         With regard to planning enforcement, a Member sought clarification as to whether or not DBCP had enforcement powers.  In response, it was confirmed that these remained within the responsibility of the Council in its capacity as the Local Planning Authority;


b)        It was confirmed that the average market share of work secured by DBCP was 87%.  This compared favourably to the national average for Local Authority Building Control services;


c)         Having sought further information on the new Building Safety Regulations, Members were advised that these were due to be implemented imminently and would have an impact on both local authorities and Building Control Partnerships. 


Mr Hunt also confirmed that the new Safety Regulator would sit beneath the Health & Safety Executive and would be in control of all Building Regulations.  From October 2023, all operational staff would need to be licensed to differing levels and the DBCP was well on its way to securing licences at the highest level for its staff;


d)        With regard to the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency, Mr Hunt confirmed that DBCP would work closely with each of its partner local authorities to ensure that each Council’s specific priorities were fully considered and taken into account;


e)        Having been offered by Mr Hunt, the Committee was supportive of the suggestion for an all Member Briefing to be delivered in the future on the forthcoming Legislation and new Safety Regulations and to also provide detail of the implications of these changes upon the Council.


In closing the agenda item, the Chairman thanked Mr Hunt for his attendance and for his interesting presentation and informative responses to Member questions and wished for the thanks of the Committee to be passed on to the rest of the Building Control Team.



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