Author: geoff

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Vacancy – Senior Building Control Surveyor

The role will involve assessment of plans / checking of Building Control applications, and undertaking inspections of various Building Projects filing inspection reports using the latest digital technology. You must have experience of undertaking these roles for either LABC, NHBC or an Approved Inspector in the UK.

The role is home based and requires travel by car/motorcycle to building sites within East Sussex and Kent within a 40 mile radius of your home.

You will need to attend the West Malling office 1 day per week, (though you are welcome to attend more often) and will be working alongside a graduate to help mentor them to full qualification. Clients range from small domestic, to large commercial and even Public Sector projects offering a really interesting and rewarding mix where every day is different. NB excludes High Rise buildings.

We are able to be highly flexible and offer full or part time/variable hours contracts for those looking to semi retire from LABC or return to work due to increasing costs. This means that we can accommodate a choice of working patterns and hours – for example the hours could be worked Wednesday to Friday or after 10am to fit around childcare or other responsibilities. If neither of these options fits then please contact us as we may still be able to accommodate alternative patterns

Salary band is currently £38K – £45K pro rata based on qualifications and experience.

Pro-rata means in proportion to – so if you are appointed on an annual salary of £40K and choose to work 3 days a week you would earn 3/5ths of £40K. e.g. £24K (£2K per month for a 3 day week).

You will need hold a relevant qualification and have at least 2 years’ experience of working with Building Regulations for a BCB in the UK.

Make sure you check for drains before you start work

Thames Water have announced that they will no longer be responding to statutory consultation’s from Building Control Bodies.

Approved Inspectors have a statutory duty under Regulation 13 of The Building Regulations 2010 (Approved Inspectors etc) to consult the relevant sewerage authority and will continue to send the consultations, meeting that statutory duty. However, Thames will no longer respond meaning that we will not know if there are sewers running accross your site.

Therefore it is important to undertake a CCTV survey and send in details before you commence work as if a sewer is discovered you will need to apply for a Build Over Agreement if the building is within 3m from a sewer. Leaving it until the works commence on site, risks the contractor having to stop work, adding to cost and delay.

Price freeze extended to 15th Jan 2023

Submit your applications now and benefit from our 2021 prices!

Despite significant inflationary pressures we have held our prices since 6th April 2021, but we will be increasing fees in January 2023.
It has meant a lot to us that we were able to help our clients and freeze our costs when everything else was going up last year, and we had planned to increase the fees on 1st January 2023, but we have decided to extend it just a little bit longer.

We will be loading up the new fee schedules and forms to the website on 15th January so don’t miss out – get your applications in BEFORE the 15th of January. Applications made after this date won’t benefit from the reduced costs.

Cold weather working

As the UK gets sets to face an icy blast of weather from the Artic, here are some top tips on when its OK to place concrete or lay bricks.

As general advice we would not recommend working when temperatures are below 5 degrees and falling unless additional precautions are taken.

 

 

Concrete

Cemex have issued some excellent guidance about the need to protect concrete in cold weather. If young concrete is allowed to cool much below freezing point it will be damaged to such an extent that it will be unfit for use. It should also be noted that even if temperatures do not drop below zero the concrete will develop strength much more slowly than during the warmer months.

Brickwork

Setting in mortar usually occurs at temperatures above 4 degrees C. If mortar is used below this temperature it may not set properly and if water is retained in the joint, frost damage can result.

Fortunately there are relatively few periods in the UK when the daytime air temperature remains below 4 degrees C and if it is below freezing it may be impractical to continue with masonry work in any case; not least because the outdoor water supply will freeze.

However, during the winter months all stocks of bricks and blocks should be covered to provide protection against rain, frost and snow. Bricks or blocks that become saturated should not be used until they have dried out and in cold weather they risk damage if they freeze.

Mortar likewise needs protection during very cold weather. If mortar freezes during storage any frozen material must be discarded. Neither should mortar be laid on frozen surfaces. Anti freeze agents for mortar are not recognised in British or European Standards.

As mortar hardens and develops strength more slowly in cold weather, new masonry, or areas under construction, should be covered and protected from the elements. This is likely to require two layers – thermal protection such as hessian or some form of quilting and a waterproof sheet to stop the under layer getting wet.

Protective covers should not be in contact with the face of the wall to avoid ‘sweating’ and consequent staining. The covers should be secure and kept in place until the mortar dries.

Workforce

Also dont forget to look after yourself when working outside in cold weather. In many cases its best to postpone the work until the weather improves to avoid the risk of falls due to slippery surfaces on scaffolding, ladders, and work platforms.

Remember to wrap up warm as the body loses up to 30 times more heat in cold wet weather and about 10 per cent of this is lost through the head. Hooded jackets and coats, which keep the head and body warm and dry, and offer multiple layers of insulation which can be added or removed to suit outdoor conditions. When using a hood or hat ensure that this does not affect the fit of any head protection (hardhat).

Gloves should be worn if working in temperatures below 4C and offer thermal and water-resistant protection as well as good grip and flexibility. Good options include insulated gloves with a coating of nitrile material.

Safety footwear should provide warmth, waterproofing, traction and grip to prevent slips and falls on site. The Health and Safety Executive recommends grooved non-slip rubber or neoprene The thermal lining is waterproof to keep the feet warm while enabling them to breathe to prevent overheating.

Lastly be prepared to take more frequent rest breaks and drink warm fluids such as soup or hot drinks

Christmas Closure

Please note that we will be closing lunchtime on Friday 23rd December and reopening on 3rd January 2023.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and look forward to working with you again in 2023.

Christmas

Christmas
As with previous years we are not sending out Christmas cards and instead have donated to Crash our industry charity supporting homeless people.
To see our animated e-card click the image below
Christmas Closure
Please note that we will be closing lunchtime on Friday 23rd December and reopening on 3rd January 2023.
ipad showing date of 1st December

Changes to Part B are coming

As announced in June there are a number of changes to Approved Document B with effect from 1 December 2022.

The changes include the following fire safety provisions:

1 Revision of the ban of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings:

There is now a complete ban on the use of the type of metal cladding was used on Grenfell Tower in all buildings of any height, not just tall buildings.

New statutory guidance for buildings between 11m and 18m which will further limit the options for wall constructions between these heights.

The main components of external solar shading products such as shutters, awnings, brise soleil, and similar products are now also covered by the ban (apart from at ground level)

A temporary 18-month relaxation of the ban to allow combustible cavity trays

2 New requirements for residential buildings with a storey 11m or more in height to have secure information boxes containing key fire safety plans.

The new regulations will require a suitably secure information box containing

  • UK contact details of relevant persons
  • Copies of the building’s floor plans – including key fire-fighting equipment
  • A single page block plan – which identifies specified key fire-fighting equipment

NB this will also become a requirement is existing high rise buildings from 23 January 2023 by virtue of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

3 New recommendation for evacuation alert systems in blocks of flats with storeys over 18m.

The requirement is brought in to offer a “plan B” for blocks with a stay put policy, and provide an additional alarm system that can be operated by the Fire Service when they attend an emergency to trigger evacuation alerts for specific areas or floors within a building. Full details can be found inside BS 8629.

4 Clarifications and corrections to a number of diagrams, text clarifications and corrections.

The new version of the Approved Document has revised many of the diagrams and wording to make them clearer to understand and remove some typo’s

What about existing applications?

The previous 2020 version will continue to apply where an application (eg initial notice or full plans application) has been deposited anytime before 1 December 2022. However, work must start no later than six months after – eg before 1 June 2023 so it is important that designers of existing projects allow for the extra cost of compliance – these could date back over 2 and a half years.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

We are saddened to have heard the news of the passing of Her Majesty, and we, along with the entire nation and the world, are mourning the loss of such an extraordinary person.

Earlier this year, we celebrated the dedication, grace and lasting legacy of Her Majesty The Queen at her Platinum Jubilee, and we will continue to hold those memories dear to us in memory of her.


Our deepest condolences are with the Royal Family at this time.

Thank you for your service, incredible life and lasting legacy, Ma’am.

Rest In Peace, Your Majesty.