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Local Authority Building Control

UKGBC publishes Social Value guidance for local authorities

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has released its latest guidance document, detailing how local authorities can help ensure that new construction and property development in their area positively impacts people and communities by delivering social value.

‘Driving social value in new development: Options for local authorities’ is a comprehensive set of recommendations for local authorities, based on research and consultation with local government, businesses and not-for-profit experts. It is a detailed exploration of the policy mechanisms that can be used by local authorities to specify and ensure social value outcomes. Such outcomes include jobs and economic growth, health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability and strength of community.

John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said: “Ever since Government introduced the Social Value Act a few years ago, this topic has been rising up the agenda of both local authorities and private sector. However, there is still a long way to go before we fully grasp the opportunities presented by the concept, particularly in relation to development and regeneration.

“With the acute funding pressures faced by local authorities, as well as the growing interest in social impact investing and socially responsible business, there are strong drivers for public and private sector to work together to maximise the benefits from new development to local communities.”

The guidance covers the use of social value requirements in:

  • Local government procurement that relates to new development
  • Local planning policy
  • The disposal of local authority land

The document is available in UKGBC’s popular presentation resource format which allows local authorities to easily incorporate the organisation’s research into their own material.

As a live resource, the guidance will be updated periodically to reflect policy changes, latest thinking and new case studies. UKGBC is welcoming approaches from local authorities and other organisations wishing to contribute to the development of this resource.

100% Hackitt initiative to ‘drive cultural change in construction’

A new industry initiative has been launched to encourage the government to deliver all of the recommendations contained within Dame Judith Hackitt’s report in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

100% Hackitt is being led by Local Authority Building Control (LABC) and the British Board of Agrément (BBA), who say they have united to bring focus to industry calls for a full adoption of Dame Judith’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

The initiative has a dedicated website at www.100-hackitt.co.uk and has ‘pledge cards’ for supporters to sign up to the initiative and pushing for an Early Day Motion debate in the House of Commons.

Dame Judith attended the launch, delivering a keynote speech to a large number of cross-party politicians, policy advisors and industry body representatives, telling them there was ‘massive need’ for culture change throughout the industry, with responsibilities clearly defined at every stage of a building’s lifecycle.

“Much remains to be done to bring the construction industry up to the standards of other industries in terms of accountability, transparency and record keeping,” she said. “Don’t tinker, don’t tweak, it has to be fundamental.”

Claire Curtis-Thomas, BBA Chief Executive, said: “The BBA is backing this initiative as strongly as we possibly can because we want to see bad practices in the industry eliminated and protection for the public and companies that are fully committed to high standards of delivery.”

Paul Everall, LABC Chief Executive, added: “The LABC and the BBA share the same outlook and are determined to make a difference in our industry. But we’re not waiting, we’re getting on with building a safer future together – right now. The 100% Hackitt initiative is a space for everyone who wants to see systemic change in the construction industry and I hope the whole industry gets behind it.”

The launch event was facilitated by cross-party think tank Policy Connect through its parliamentary forum for the built environment, the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.

The initiative has the support of senior figures across the construction and fire safety sector including the Fire Sector Federation, whose Executive Officer Dennis Davis said: “We are backing the 100% Hackitt initiative because we need a mandatory, controlled system that allows us to balance what we want – innovation, good buildings, new ideas, growth in our economy – with sensible restraint that ensures short cuts and economies aren’t made and shows that people are competent, resulting in safe building for those who occupy them.”

Jonathan Shaw, Chief Executive of Policy Connect, added: “The Hackitt review represents a once in a generation opportunity to recast the building system and start to build safer, better designed homes. We will discuss how the review can bring about positive change in the construction industry, what still remains to be done and where the Hackitt review could have gone further so that we can encourage the industry to push for change.”

100% Hackitt unites those who wish to see cultural change in the construction industry, promoting safety and public trust via a forum which provides on-going opportunities to discuss cross-discipline issues whilst keeping pressure on Ministers to adopt all of the Hackitt review recommendations.

“Dame Judith’s review of building regulations and fire safety showed systemic change is required within our industry,” added Curtis-Thomas. “Her report came with a warning that cherry-picking recommendations would compromise their overall effectiveness and it is this ‘pick and mix’ approach that the BBA and LABC are urging the government to avoid by accepting the recommendations in full.

“The construction industry has overwhelmingly taken on board her views and aspirations and wants to drive change – shifts in practices and working relationships have already been voluntarily introduced by many – but we need government backing to ensure this happens across the board. Many of the recommendations fall to government rather than industry. We are doing our bit and it now needs to do its bit and if this needs new regulation or even legislation it will have our backing and the backing of those who recognise that business as usual is not an option any of us want to consider.”

For full information about 100% Hackitt and to keep abreast of its latest developments visit: www.100-hackitt.co.uk