It is now illegal to install heating and hot water systems, pipes and ducts, mechanical ventilation or cooling in buildings without notifying Building Control or registering with a Competent Persons Scheme, warns Building Engineering Services Competence Accreditation Ltd (BESCA).
BESCA was established by the HVCA to act as an independent assessment and certification body for the building services industry, and was appointed by the Department for Communities and Local Government to implement and operate a Competent Persons Scheme under the new 2006 Building Regulations for England and Wales.
Bill Belshaw, chairman of BESCA, commented: “We believe that there is a percentage of contractors within the building services industry who are still not fully aware of the legal implications of non-compliance under the new 2006 Building Regulations for England and Wales. As a responsible industry body, we feel it our duty to emphasise the legal requirement that in carrying out the installation of ‘controlled services’ in buildings you must either notify Building Control prior to starting the job to allow them to inspect your work, or be a member of a Competent Persons Scheme such as BESCA. Failure to comply with the technical requirements or to advise Building Control of notifiable works could expose the contractor, client or customer to prosecution under the Building Act.”
Bill continued: “It is also important to remember that when selecting a Competent Persons Scheme suitable for your business, that the scheme chosen must be accredited to cover the range of work that the business is involved in. It has recently been brought to our notice that some schemes are claiming to be able to deal with far more areas of work than they are officially allowed to undertake, so leaving their members further exposed to prosecution.”
Being a BESCA member allows businesses to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations without having to involve Building Control, therefore potentially saving time and reducing costs, yet still enabling them to fulfill their statutory obligations.