Building control interventions found to add billions to economy

Research carried out by the University of Wolverhampton on behalf of Local Authority Building Control (LABC) has found that building control interventions could have led to economic benefits of up to £1.85bn. Once welfare was added in the average return was almost £1,000 per plan.

The LABC represents local authorities across England and Wales and helps to ensure they are meeting building regulations that are set by central government.

The study looked into 90,000 plans that were assessed by LABC during 2016/17 and reviewed the economic benefits of the projects. It was found that economic benefit, return on investment or social return was as much as £1.85bn.

The study showed that each of the 90,000 plans received around 5 interventions on average. These related to structure, fire and welfare and were judged on whether the risk was tolerable or high. This was then broken down into associated costs. It found that for every £1 invested in plan assessment, there was a return of £178 in net benefits to the Uk economy for fire risk and £3.96 for structural risks.

Paul Everall, the LABC chief executive has stated that while there is more work to be done, the study shows that it is a worthwhile exercise to work further with the industry to get a more detailed economic return. He points out that the value gained is important for policymakers, ministers, local government, property owners and managers. In fact, everyone in the construction sector.

The aims of the study were to show how methodology and the structured approach taken by public sector building could add value to a project. This might include advice form surveyors, dialogue with architects and contractors and how they assist in compliance with building control requirements. The results are based on a review of just one year of assessments and it has been suggested that a further study across 24 months and from 5-10 assessors could give a more detailed picture.

Everall points out that complying with building standards has a huge payback and is not just about ticking boxes. He believes that the figures show that the current system helps to improve building safety, quality and performance including the lifespan of buildings.

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