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Scottish, English and Welsh building standards organisations announce formal link

LABSS (Local Authority Building Standards Scotland) and LABC (Local Authority Building Control in Wales and England) have made a formal agreement to join together on key activities.

Both LABSS and LABC pledge to work together to promote and provide:
a)    independent, public sector regulatory standards and practices that are used to ensure safe, efficient, sustainable, healthy and accessible buildings;
b)    research on best practice, technical development and support for innovation within the building industry and positive support of regulatory policy;
c)    practical help to customers - building professionals, manufacturers, developers, contractors, trades, communities and property owners.

By working together across these areas both organisations aim to influence policy at government level in Scotland, Wales and England and strengthen the case for public service ethos in building standards.

LABSS and LABC will also align and jointly deliver some services, to develop customer support, improve efficiency and consistency.  To achieve this both organisations will create working groups to develop research, policies, technical guidance and improve customer relationship management.  This cooperation will start with specific schemes and actions and be allowed to develop as additional activities or value added services are found to be relevant.  Future developments will seek to include collaboration and sharing of resources between local authorities and improve technical functions by supporting “smarter working” to drive up local authority efficiency.

Paul Everall, LABC’s Chief Executive, commented on the new agreement: “We welcome our new working relationship with colleagues in Scotland.  We have an enormous amount in common, not just technical matters, but also through providing excellent services to our communities and to the construction industry.  By working together we will have a larger research base and be able to share the development of new approaches to our work and to improving performance.”

Muir Somerville, Chair of LABSS adds to Paul’s comments.  “It is a fact that we share customers and that major developers and house builders work across our national borders.  This agreement to share information and to work together will give customers and industry a more efficient and streamlined service.  Whilst the legislative and administrative mechanisms of our systems are different, the underlying technical standards and design requirements are similar.  By pooling our resources and working together we can deliver better value.  In the final analysis we are all committed to building safe, environmentally sound and high performing buildings.”

A number of specific initiatives are being worked on.  The alignment of LABSS’s Scottish Type Approval Scheme and LABC’s Registered Details schemes is a top priority so that building designers, specifiers and manufacturers can acquire more pre-approval of solutions and designs.  Other areas include: adding further customer services; extending product assessment; sharing accessible, centrally held, cross border registrations and partnerships; joint research on technical policy, service outcomes and customer opinion.