You think your prospective brand new home has been properly supervised and inspected?
Think again. Building Control no longer exists on major developments and since 2002 it has been replaced by a system known as ‘Competent person self-certification’. In effect this means that any tradesman doing work must sign a piece of paper saying that he has done his job properly. Of course tradesmen have always had to sign off their work for their boss, but when Building Control was privatised 2002, tradesmen were required to sign a second piece of paper for the Government.
Competent person self-certification schemes (commonly referred to as competent person schemes) were introduced by the Government to allow individuals and enterprises to self-certify that their work complies with the building regulations instead of having a qualified building control inspector snooping around at cost to the Local Authority. The traditional site manager or site supervisor, who used to be under pressure from the Building Control Inspector to ensure that work was completed in accordance with the Building Regulations, is now under pressure from self-employed tradesmen lumbered with pricework, to ignore lapses. The result is that no one checks whether work has been properly completed and evidence is piling up that degradations and short cuts are widespread.
And the story continues downhill. To complete this fiasco, on multiple occupancy sites handover on completion is usually arranged between the building developer and a managing agent who should represent the interests of the buyers or leaseholders. They should inspect the building and agree between them that the common parts, roofs, stairways, roads, etc. are effectively complete and free of defects, but developers have cooked up a scheme to overcome that obstacle. In Chichester, for example, Linden Wates established their own private Estate Management Company to take control of the Chichester estate on behalf of the leaseholders, and thereby contrived effectively to hand the buildings over to themselves. Having Self-Certified their work, Linden Wates then got it signed off by their own ‘at-arms-length’ selves, with no questions asked and no independent building control checks at any point in the construction process.
Leaseholders at Chichester allege that practical completion was claimed prematurely and independent professional surveyors have exposed multiple Patent Defects that remain unresolved five years later. Linden Wates refused to remedy multiple defects identified by eight separate independent professional surveyors, even after the local council wrote that they could consider action under Dangerous Structures legislation. Mainstay Group Ltd., agents for Landlords Aviva, have written to all leaseholders saying that the cost of rectification will be payable through the service charge to leaseholders.
Our ‘Dirty Tricks’ page details some of the money spinning capers that the corporate ‘developers’ like Linden are getting up to in order to maximise their returns on investment. No concern appears to be given to building homes fit for people to live in.
A generation of Jerrybuilt homes
Grenfell Tower London, Oxgangs School Edinburgh, Linden Chichester, Linden Southsea, Loddon Park Reading, Sovereign Harbour Eastbourne, Linden Grampound Cornwall and many more examples of poor quality construction at major developments, could indicate a pattern of privatisation of building control leading to a breakdown in regulation resulting in lower of standards of construction and a generation of sub-standard buildings.
For more information and access to the Schedule of claims made and statements recorded, cross-referenced to our archive of relevant supporting documentary evidence, please use our Contact page to apply for access.