Avoiding error through earlier collaboration15 Mar 21
Involving building control services earlier in a project can help avoid the frustration of redesign and rework, says Richard Cymler of approved inspector Ball & Berry.
One of the main reasons the company decided to join GIRI is to push for better and earlier collaboration between all project stakeholders to help eliminate avoidable errors, which is one of GIRI’s core principles.
The role of an approved inspector is to ensure that building projects comply with building regulations. It is not the same as a clerk of works. From scrutinising paper designs to carrying out periodic inspections to ensure work meets regulations, to the issuing of the final certificate, the approved inspector is there to help project teams get things right and achieve compliance. Much of this work is focused on, and takes place once a project gets to site, but Ball & Berry regional director Richard Cymler argues that that involving approved inspectors at the pre-planning stage could deliver much greater benefits for individual projects and the industry as a whole.
“Approved inspectors are often appointed at stage four, or just before stage five, in the RIBA stages of work, but we believe we could offer a lot more by being involved at stage two or three,’ says Richard. ‘If approved inspectors come aboard at this point in the process, we can highlight aspects of a design that won’t meet requirements and address potential errors before a design goes to planning, or the project gets to site, saving the development team time and money. It is the same job we would be doing six months later, except that highlighting areas of non-compliance at this later stage often involves rework.”
Richard believes that, post-Grenfell, RIBA’s stages of work are starting to recognise the benefits of greater collaboration at an earlier stage, but that building control surveyors are still sometimes considered a hindrance rather than a help, something he would like to change.
“Since Grenfell, the whole industry has been in the spotlight, and it is apparent that perhaps construction has not moved with the times to same extent as other industries. The whole point of our existence as approved inspectors is to help get things right in terms of building regulations. There has been a lot of debate over who is to blame for what happened at Grenfell, and we believe that the industry needs to move forward and work together to help eliminate these kinds of errors.
“Approved inspectors can be part of the solution. I want people to understand what our role is and how to engage with us to get the most from our services so we can ensure that buildings are compliant with legal standards and, in doing so, help to improve the reputation of the entire industry.”
Ball & Berry is an approved inspector working across England and Wales from its offices in Preston, Manchester, Birmingham, and London, offering building control services from project conception to completion.