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Delay Part L or face chaos, say inspectors

MATERIALS - Building control of. cers claim the April 6 deadline will leave sector in turmoil

BUILDING will be plunged into turmoil unless the Government puts off the introduction of energy efficiency rules, building control officers have claimed.

The officers complained that there is not enough time to advise designers and architects before the new Part L of the Building Regulations is introduced on April 6. They have called on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to postpone the changes until later in the year.

Former Building Regulations boss Paul Everall, now chief executive at building control service provider LABC, wrote to the ODPM calling for a reconsideration of the timing of the reforms.

Mr Everall claimed that delays in finalising the approved document had left building control officers unable to advise architects and designers on what would or would not comply with the rules.

He said: 'I wrote to the ODPM outlining my concerns over the introduction of Part L. The fact that there is no finalised documentation makes it difficult to advise architects on what they can and can't do.' Mr Everall revealed that he had highlighted three options that were open to the ODPM before April:

Delay introduction of part L of the new building regulations.

Change the transitional period between the new and old regulations to give owners, designers and contractors more time to adjust.

Delay the implementation of air tightness testing.

He said: 'Of those options the most sensible would be to stall the introduction until January 2007 or, at the earliest, October 2006. Politically, any decision to do that would be very diff icult.' Mr Everall claimed a delay in the introduction of air tightness testing would speed up the clearance process and enable more buildings through while the problems were ironed out and more people were trained to carry out tests.

He said: 'At the moment we do not have the expertise or equipment to carry out the number of air tightness tests needed.

'I can understand the political pressure the ODPM is under and a change in the transitional period would seem to be the most obvious step to take.' The ODPM has insisted there will be no postponement of the implementation.