Important changes effective from 1st October - Duties and Competence

Important changes effective from 1st October - Duties and Competence

Friday, September 08, 2023 By OFTEC

Important changes effective from 1st October - Duties and Competence

The Building Regulations (Amendments etc) (England) Regulations 2023 insert a new Part 2A into the Building Regulations 2010. This contains detailed requirements on clients to appoint designers and contractors who are competent and new duties for the clients, designers and contractors which come into force on 1st October.

The new Part 2A of the Building Regulations should be compulsory urgent reading for everyone involved in the construction sector with any responsibility for procuring building work of any kind, or for designing or building it. Part 2A introduces a whole series of new regulations, 17 in total, covering the duties, competence and behaviour of clients, designers and contractors. Part 2A also creates the new roles and duties of the principal designer and contractor for every project that were first called for over five years ago in Dame Judith Hackitt’s landmark review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. And it comes into force in six weeks, on 1st October.

New regulation (11E) sets out in some detail the considerations that must be addressed before appointing a designer or contractor. They apply to ALL building projects and all those appointed, requiring them to be competent. Chapter 3 of Part 2A of the amendment regulations addresses the competence requirements in some detail. There are four new regulations, 11F – I, for competence: a general regulation, one each for principal designer and contractor, and one giving requirements should either principal are unable to meet the competence requirements.

Chapter 4 of Part 2A sets out the general duties of all duty holders as well as additional legal duties of principal designers and contractors. These include sharing information and communicating effectively with other parties on the project.

Chapter 5 at the end of the Part is a regulation that defines as a “necessary behaviour” of anyone claiming to be competent a willingness to refuse to carry out work which is not compliant with any relevant requirement, or to undertake design work that effectively cannot be built in compliance with regulations. Co-operation is now also a necessary behaviour, along with saying no to doing things beyond their skills, knowledge or experience.

Basically, what this means for anyone working in our industry specifically OFTEC Technicians involved with the installation of heating boilers and equipment will need to ensure that the service provided is undertaken only by a competent person. This affects all parts of the work from design, installation, commissioning, and handover which means the whole installation must be compliant with the requirements set out in the Building Regulations. This means starting with calculating the building heat loss all the way to handover and the final works notification.

For those who argue that this is all very short notice, these regulations have been coming for over five years and should not be a surprise. Besides, what is the problem of complying with a statutory duty to appoint only those who are competent to do design and construction work? Only those employing the incompetent have anything to worry about.

The Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 are available online.

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