Most building defects are avoidable provided that designers and contractors behave ethically and with integrity. Even construction projects undertaken by qualified people who are contractually (and morally?) obliged to operate under codes of conduct and professional standards can and do fail, sometimes with drastic consequences.
CABE Vice-President, David Taylor, travelled across the country from Norfolk to Newton-le-Willows to present an interesting and informative seminar on design and build compliance. Using relevant case-studies, David explained how some projects can result in serious defects and/or dangerous buildings, which may result in everyone involved in the design or build of a project facing legal action and significant claims for financial losses.
The examples David cited included designers recklessly ignoring the requirements of Building Regulations, Planning Consents and other allied legislation or acting negligently outside their competence and knowledge base.
Similarly, builders undertaking work for which they did not have sufficient skills or experience, or who subcontract key tasks without adequate checks and supervision.
David stressed the need for everyone employed in our industry to offer a duty of care, and ensure that their work is of the highest reasonable standard thereby ensuring end-user satisfaction.
During a lively question time, our Vice-President fielded a wide range of questions, including queries about problems associated with the Party Wall Etc Act, a possible ‘Registered Builders’ scheme, the current shortage of trade apprenticeships, and how to avoid defects arising from inaccurate plans (such as an engineer/architect’s errors) or from flawed execution on site (contractor’s mistakes).
David Phythian BA MSc FCABE MRICS
26 July 2016