The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) has called for government and industry to ensure appropriate action is taken following the release of a new report published by the Electrical Safety Roundtable (ESR).
The report, which analysed enforcement of Part P of the Building Regulations in England, found that on average 72% of local authorities each year had not taken action against Part P non-compliance from 2011 to 2013.
It also suggested that only 2% attempted to prosecute a case under this part of the Building Regulations and that there had only been one successful prosecution during the three year period surveyed.
Commenting on the findings, NAPIT chairman Frank Bertie said: “Significant anecdotal evidence from our trade association members has long suggested that Part P is not being enforced as effectively as it could be. It was their concern regarding safety of the public that led us to sponsor this investigation.
“The report has gathered substantial evidence on levels of enforcement for the first time. It found that there is little legal or financial deterrence to prevent Part P noncompliance. This may be allowing the dangerous work of rogue traders to go unchecked and could be putting properties and householders at risk.”
The investigation included a major freedom of information request. It surveyed the enforcement practices of all local authorities in England and returned an 87% response rate, making it one of the largest studies of its kind.
Mr Bertie explained: “The Freedom of Information section of this investigation has focused on local authorities because they have formal enforcement powers under the Building Regulations, but the report also shows that the Competent Person Scheme Operators have a key role to play in influencing positive change.”
“Nevertheless, Building Control departments are stuck between a rock and a hard place, with funding cuts to housing services of 34% in the past five years on the one hand and a lack of effective deterrence powers on the other. More limited still, Scheme Operators lack any legal enforcement powers or the ability to carry out safety checks on work carried out by unregistered contractors.
“We urge the government to carefully consider the findings and recommendations in this report. Local authorities and industry bodies need to be given appropriate powers and support to enforce Part P effectively.”
A summary of the report is available to download at www.electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk/downloads.aspx and further information on the ESR can be found at: www.electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk