SELECT Members will be aware that the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 introduced a new building standards system for Scotland which allowed competent individuals to be appointed as Approved Certifiers of Design or Construction.
The schemes allow properly qualified professionals, who are assessed as suitable, to become Approved Certifiers, to certify that the work they do as part of a Building Warrant is compliant with Building Regulations.
SELECT was the first to set up a scheme for electrical installations and has, since the scheme was launched, been promoting the benefits of using it to both Members and clients alike.
In 2014 the Minister for Building Standards called for a summit to discuss the way in which the various schemes were working. During the subsequent workshop, it was agreed that work needed to be done to make the process of certification more streamlined and more financially attractive to clients. As a result, four work streams have been created by the Building Standards Division of the Scottish Government:
1. Introduction of e-Building Standards
– This will follow the successful model laid down by the e-Planning Portal which has simplified and streamlined the planning process.
2. A review of the Building Warrant fee structure
– To look at ways in which the use of Approved Certifiers of either Design or Construction are properly calculated in when considering the overall cost of obtaining a Building Warrant.
3. Consider how “Equivalence” between certification and verification is treated in each of the 32 Local Authorities
– This is particularly relevant to our sector as weseek to ensure that only properly qualified electricians issue certificates.
4. Seek to promote greater use of the schemes
– A marketing plan is being developed to ensure we get the right messages out to the right people.
All of this work is ongoing and the changes, when they are made, will make the schemes more robust and more attractive to clients. In the meantime, however, we need those SELECT Members who are Approved Certifiers to helpraise the profile of the scheme by issuing Certificates of Construction for any work that is done under a Building Warrant. It doesn’t matter whether a client asks for the certificate or not, it should become second nature to issue one.
It’s important that this scheme works,as it offers an opportunity for building services professionals, such as architects, engineers, electricians and plumbers to demonstrate they have the appropriate qualifications to join a relevant certification scheme as an Approved Certifier.
Certification Schemes can help businesses in these challenging economic and environmentally sensitive times. As building standards develop and become more demanding so too has the role of Approved Certifiers. Scheme Providerslike SELECT are committed to monitoring continuing professional development and providing training of the highest quality to ensure that the technical knowledge and professional expertise of our Members keeps pace with these future developments.
Certification receives the active support of local authority verifiers as they can be assured that the work being certified has been carried out by qualified building services professionals and meets the relevant building standards. This removes the need for them to check or inspectthis work resulting in speedier processing of building warrants or acceptanceof completion certificates and so less disruption on site.
All of the work going on in various work streams is positive news, but to make the scheme work we need SELECT Membersto do their bit and issue Certificates of Construction at every opportunity