Home News & Knowledge Why new building control regulations are helping improve safety in Wales

Why new building control regulations are helping improve safety in Wales

Safer buildings

Changes to Building Control responsibilities in the UK following the Grenfell Tower disaster are supporting the design and construction of safer structures in Wales, according to a Mid Wales architect.

In the wake of the Building Safety Act 2022, brought on by the disaster, property owners and developers face a revised landscape for building approvals, but not everyone is aware of the changes or the professional advice that architects can offer, according to Richard Lewis, Architect and Director of Hughes Architects based in Newtown, Powys.

The recent changes separate the design and planning function from the building control responsibilities once handled by Local Authority Building Control (LABC). This means architects are taking on greater responsibility for ensuring projects meet the stricter building safety standards.

“In the past, the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) teams in Wales and across the UK, could be more directly involved in design of buildings or planning applications. However, the Building Safety Act 2022 brought in a separation of powers and conflicts of interest,” said Doug.

“This was down to ensuring impartiality and checks and balances. For example, if the same body that designs a project also assesses it for compliance, it creates a conflict of interest. This could lead to biased decision-making or the perception of it, compromising the integrity of the planning and building regulations approval process.

Separating design from assessment fosters a system of checks and balances. An independent body ensures all designs are evaluated against the same standards, promoting fairness and public trust in the system.

Doug Hughes

A clear separation of roles fosters a more robust and impartial system

Richard added: “At Hughes Architects, we welcome these changes. A clear separation of roles fosters a more robust and impartial system, ultimately leading to safer buildings. However, it also underscores the importance of partnering with an experienced architectural firm.

“As an established practice with deep roots in Mid Wales, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities of building in this region. Our comprehensive knowledge of local planning regulations and our expertise in building code compliance make us the ideal partner for projects within Powys, Ceredigion, Shropshire, Herefordshire, and throughout the UK.”

Key reasons for choosing Hughes Architects is its Mid Wales legacy with a nationwide reach. With offices in Newtown and Welshpool, the practice has built a reputation for excellence over two decades. Its commitment to quality design and client satisfaction extends to every project we undertake.

Richard added: “We merge creativity with a profound understanding of building regulations. Our designs are not only beautiful and functional but inherently comply with all safety and technical standards.

“We foster collaborative relationships with planning authorities and approved inspectors. This proactive approach streamlines the approval process, saving clients time and resources. We also minimise risk while maximising success. By prioritising compliance from the initial design stages, we reduce the potential for costly delays or setbacks later. Our goal is to ensure a client’s project is a success on every level.”