For Approved Inspectors Regulation 9 of the Approved Inspector Regulations, titled ‘Independence of approved inspectors’ deals with safeguarding impartiality, setting out that ‘Approved inspectors shall have no professional or financial interest in the work they supervise unless it is minor work.’
It is considered that this Regulation was intended to address the potential for conflict of interest
occurring during the building control approval process.
It is noted that the BCA’s view that similar principles should apply to public sector Building Control Bodies. The underlying principle of the building control process being an independent third party check is paramount.
CLARKE BANKS – IMPARTIALITY GUIDANCE
The building control function is carried out by Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited. This is a separate company with different directors to all trading group companies. This is communicated throughout the business and to external clients. This ensures that the function is carried out impartially and is perceived to be impartial.
Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited is responsible for the impartiality of the delivery of its building control service and does not allow commercial, financial or other matters to compromise impartiality.
Clarke Banks (Building Control Limited) identifies risks to our impartiality on an ongoing basis and has an internal review of this once every 6 months. This includes risks arising from our activities, relationships and relationships of personnel. However, such relationships may not necessarily present Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited with a risk to impartiality.
Note – Guidance from the Building Control Alliance confirms that a relationship presenting a risk to impartiality of the building control body can be based on ownership, governance, management, personnel, shared resources, finance, contracts, marketing (including branding) and payment of a sales commission or other inducement for the referral of new clients. Etc.
A risk to impartiality is considered to occur principally where a design or construction function is being provided on the same project by the same organisation carrying out the Building Control function. A risk to Impartiality may also occur in other ways such as financial involvement, personal or family involvement etc. This is the principal reason why Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited is set up as a single function business with its own governance.
DEMONSTRATION OF IMPARTIALITY
When setting up other group functions the guidance from the Building Control Alliance was used and this is detailed below to demonstrate impartiality within the group.
For larger commercial organisations incorporating a BCB, typically Public and Private Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships, elements of a policy that tends to safeguard impartiality may but not necessarily or exclusively include:
- Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited is a separate legal entity.
- Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited has an independent Senior Management Team
a) Common Directors are avoided with other group companies.
b) Directors or partners should have no responsibility as a Director or member of a Senior Management Team of any other legal entity providing a design or construction function on the same project.
- There is a clear published whistleblowing policy
- There is no financial incentive for the AI to market other organisational design or construction services on the same project – cross promotion is not rewarded within the group.
- Design and construction services are not sold together eg. bundled with the Building Control service or discounts offered for appointment on both.
- Design and construction services are marketed separately from the Building Control service
- Terms of appointment for the Building Control service are independent of design and construction services and incorporate an independence clause confirming that there are no contractual responsibilities for design or construction services on the project.
- Clarke Banks (Building Control) Limited does not take on any responsibility for design services (even if sub-contracted to other parties).
- The service delivery system of the building control process is wholly independent of design or construction functions.