ACAI Chairman Paul Wilkins has today called for more oversight of high rise inspections following the fire at Grenfell Tower.

Speaking at a Westminster Social Policy Forum event on building regulation reform, Mr Wilkins has called for a system of ‘controlled competition’ which would hold all building control bodies accountable to stringent inspection rules while ensuring the benefits that competition has delivered are secured.

Private inspectors are currently held to account by CICAIR, an arms-length government regulator, which oversees private building control. Local authorities are not currently regulated by this register.

Instead, ‘controlled competition’ would introduce a separate register of local authority and private inspectors equipped to deal with high-risk residential buildings. This could be extended to other building types as necessary.

It could also tackle perceived conflicts of interest identified by the Hackitt Review across the industry by applying mandatory, minimum standards on building inspections.

Commenting on the announcement Mr Wilkins said:

“The ACAI supports the Government’s work to deliver safer buildings. However, it must ensure that the benefits competition has delivered are secured in its work to reform regulations for inspecting high rises.

“One of the key findings of the Hackitt Review was that two systems of building regulation can cause confusion across the industry. It also found that there was scope for building control bodies to negotiate down inspections.

“’Controlled competition’ would simplify this process by applying the same rules to all building control bodies for high rise buildings, whether they are public or privately owned.

“By setting mandatory minimum requirements, an industry-wide regulator would be able to reduce fears about corner-cutting and give assurances to the public that the sector is delivering safe buildings.”

Our proposed system for controlled competition can be found here:

ACAI proposed process for construction and occupation of a higher-risk residential building

The Government’s implementation plan can be found here:

Building a Safer Future: An Implementation Plan