With temporary healthcare buildings being constructed and adapted at speed on the one hand, and works halting on projects on the other, questions regarding Buildings Regulations compliance have been raised within the industry since the Covid-19 outbreak. How can inspections take place safely, if at all, under the social distancing rules, and what will happen to projects which are suspended part way through?
On 22 April 2020, the Government released new guidance on the application of the building regulations which clarifies the approach to be taken. To summarise, the guidance confirms the following:
• In creating new healthcare buildings or carrying out other necessary construction work, there is no specific relaxation of the Building Regulations at present, but local authorities may take a pragmatic approach to dispense with/relax requirements in particular cases, as long as essential health and safety requirements are not compromised.
• On site building inspections should continue where it is safe to do so in line with Public Health guidance. As part of the inspection, use of alternative methods of inspection, such as digital photography and videos may be considered.
• Where buildings are part complete, building control bodies may be pragmatic and flexible in issuing part final or completion certificates, to allow building owners to occupy part of the building where building works have stopped.
• Urgent remediation works on buildings with unsafe cladding should still continue where it is safe to do so, in accordance with the Public Health guidance.
The Government guidance can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/application-of-the-building-regulations-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
If you have any queries relating to your construction contracts as a result of recent events, please do not hesitate to get in touch – we have a dedicated Construction Team who would be happy to help.
Anna Britland (firstname.lastname@example.org ~ 01284 717503)
Sarah Western (email@example.com ~ 01284 717434)