Clause 6 - Proper person

Sustainable and Secure Buildings Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 3 Mawrth 2004.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell Shadow Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 11:15, 3 Mawrth 2004

I beg to move amendment No. 10, in

clause 6, page 6, line 25, leave out from 'may' to end of line 29 and insert—

'(a) provide for requiring that, in prescribed circumstances, a person of a prescribed class or description is to give to a local authority or an approved inspector a certificate to the effect that the requirements of building regulations as to matters of a prescribed description are satisfied;

(b) provide for requiring that such certificates be given within such periods or at such times and in such forms as may be prescribed;

(c) provide that a local authority or an approved inspector is not to exercise or perform a prescribed power or duty unless—

(i) such a certificate has been given to them or him; or

(ii) such a certificate has been given to them or him and the certificate has been accepted by them or him;

(d) make provision as to—

(i) the acceptance of such certificates by local authorities and approved inspectors; and

(ii) other steps to be taken by local authorities or approved inspectors in connection with such certificates.'.

Photo of Mr Alan Hurst Mr Alan Hurst Llafur, Braintree

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Promoter's amendments Nos. 11 to 13.

Promoter's new clause 1—Management of works.

Photo of Andrew Stunell Andrew Stunell Shadow Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

In practical terms, amendments Nos. 10 to 13 are technical ways of achieving what is in the Bill. On Second Reading, I said that clause 6 would be improved—that it would be made more comprehensible and that legally correct words would be added. That is what these changes do.

New clause 1 introduces another tool to ensure that the regulations that are in place are carried out on building sites. The original measure puts in place a proper person. The new clause allows the power to be delegated. On major building sites where there is a contract manager who is the proper person there may be many specialist subcontractors working on heating, ventilation, electricity and water, or contractors with the same skills working on different parts of the project. The new clause simply allows the proper person function to be cascaded down to a specialist supervisor or a clerk of works for a particular part of the work, so that there is a chain of command or responsibility. That reduces opportunities for buck passing. The man in the cabin cannot say, ''Well, that was Joe,'' or, ''That was my day off.'' The new clause completes the link that was introduced by the initial measure by allowing a second tier of responsibility to be devolved in appropriate cases.

Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Amendment No. 10 changes clause 6, which amends the Building Act 1984. It provides for a new sort of certificate to be given to the building control body by

''a person of a prescribed class or description''.

It is an enabling measure. The details are left out so that they can be set down in regulations after the usual processes of consultation and regulatory impact assessment.

The new power might be used to create a new sort of certificate to be given to the building control body—a local authority or a private sector approved inspector—by the builder or the main contractor. It might be a certificate to the effect that the project is complete and complies with the regulations. At present, there is no requirement in building work—subject to the normal building control procedures—for a certificate from the builder's side that declares that the work complies. New subsection (4)(a) allows us to require such certificates. That will have a salutary effect and serve as a powerful reminder to builders of their existing legal responsibilities to make their building work comply with the technical requirements of the building regulations.

The hon. Gentleman has covered several detailed points very well. Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 are consequential. I will make a final key point: amendment No. 12 amends section 52 of the Building Act 1984 to make it clear that an approved inspector should cancel the initial notice if there is a procedural contravention of the building regulations, such as a failure to provide a new sort of certificate, and the person responsible has not put right the contravention after due warning.

The hon. Gentleman described the changes in the amendments very well, and we support them.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 11, in

clause 6, page 6, line 32, leave out sub-paragraph (3).

No. 12, in

clause 6, page 6, line 37, at end insert—

'(1A) In section 47(1) of that Act (giving of initial notices) after ''giving'' insert ''and receiving''.

(1B) In section 52(2) of that Act (cancellation of initial notice for contravention of building regulations)—

(a) in paragraph (a) after ''work'' insert ''or intending to carry out the work'';

(b) in paragraph (b) for the words from ''that person'' onwards substitute ''the prescribed steps are not taken by the person who, in accordance with building regulations, is required to take them''.'.

No. 13, in

clause 6, page 6, line 42, leave out '4A(1)'and insert '4A(1)(a) or (b)'.—[Mr. Stunell.]

Clause 6, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till Tuesday 9 March at half-past Nine o'clock.