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Councils to lose building officers

COUNCILS across the country are facing an exodus of building control officers, lured away by the promise of bumper salaries to become home inspectors.

The average building control officer - who has the final say on whether a new building can be occupied or not - earns between £25,000 and £30,000 a year.

But the wage packets on offer to become a home inspector are double that and many fear the upcoming recruitment drive for the 7,500 inspectors needed will hurt local councils the most.

Under legislation passed last November, all homes that are put up for sale must have a home information pack - formerly known as a sellers pack - before the house is formally marketed.The pack will include a home condition report carried out by the home inspector.

The chief executive of the Institute of Clerk of Works Don McGeorge said:

'Building control officers have the right kind of experience to become a home inspector.Most of the guys are out on sites, where home inspectors will have a more comfortable life in that they will be working inside and will get a lot more money. It stands to reason that people will go where the money is.'

A spokesman for Hertsmere Borough Council in Hertfordshire said: 'No one has left our department yet but we are aware of the situation. Unless salaries go up people will consider leaving.'