Technical and Legal Updates

In recent years there has been an increased upsurge in legislation relating to buildings that has placed increasing responsibility on the occupiers to act as ‘competent or responsible persons’.  An example of this is the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 which came into force in autumn 2006.  The main effect of the Fire Safety Order was a move to greater emphasis on fire prevention in all non-domestic premises that reforms all current fire safety law with a view to reducing the burden by previous multiple overlapping fire safety legislation, with a principal reform being the abolition of fire certificates.  The ‘responsible person’ is required to carry out a fire risk assessment and take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to reduce or remove the risk. We can undertake these as required.

Comment has already been made on the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) which came into force on 02 December 1996.  That has been superseded by the Equality Act 2010. This is a complex raft of legislation that has continued to change and develop, but basically places an onus on ‘service providers’ or employers to ensure that they do not discriminate against users of their building or current employees or job applicants, with professional advice being required on how the Act is outworked in the context of various building uses.

Further legislation in the form of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2006) consolidated previous asbestos regulations imposing a new duty to ‘manage asbestos’ along with a requirement to use only accredited persons to analyse the content of material suspected of containing asbestos.  Regulation 4 makes the ‘duty holder’ responsible for the management of asbestos in non-domestic premises being every person who has a tenancy or an obligation for repair or maintenance, further responsibility being placed on employers.

We are familiar with such legislation and will advise on the various responsibilities in our commercial survey reports for example.

As widely reported in the press, the Home Information Pack (HIP), that involves the preparation of an information pack by the vendor prior to the marketing of their property, has been scrapped by the government with neither this or the muted Home Condition Report (HCR) now required.  Jeremy Gainsford had undertaken the relevant training for this and would be able to undertake such reports should the governement ever change their stance on this matter

As a practice we are in touch with numerous other building professionals and with various specialists for such areas as electrical testing, private drainage and water supply inspections, structural engineering solutions and such matters as garden and landscaping services in the local area.  We are, however, also prepared to travel extensively across the country, regularly having been involved in survey and building projects from Cornwall across the south of England and into the Home Counties.

Initial consultations are generally free of charge with detailed quotations and fee agreements always accompanied by relevant terms and conditions of engagement.

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