Refreshing the Building Standards Procedural Handbook
Guidance on the building standards system for all
Most regular users of the building standards system will be familiar with the technical standards and guidance set out in the Technical Handbooks (or “building regs” as most refer to them). The Procedural Handbook provides guidance on all aspects of the building standards system from the building warrant application stage through to completion. It is a source of advice and information on the entire system for all users regardless of whether they have technical knowledge or not. The handbook is aimed at both those applying for a building warrant for the first time and those who use or deliver the service on a daily basis.
Recent changes to the content has given us the opportunity to refresh the handbook to improve its appearance and usability. Our aim is to make it more accessible and to promote it as a valuable resource.
A co-production approach
Our first step was to strengthen the guidance to reinforce the roles and responsibilities of those involved in a building project. We set up a working group with building standards representatives from various local authorities to discuss and develop the proposed changes. We used their experience and knowledge to discuss in detail the implications and benefits of each change. Details of the changes we’ve made to the guidance will be covered in another post in the next few weeks.
Accessible and easy to use
Once we finalised the revised wording we met with graphic designers to discuss our intention and aspirations for the new-look handbook.
The handbook is currently a simple document that isn’t particularly engaging and has no visual differentiation between chapters. We are working to make it a more visually appealing resource that is easier to use and digest. There are a few key changes that we hope will have a huge impact on the appearance and usability of the document while also meeting accessibility standards and guidance. These are:
- using double-column format and correct font size to make text easy to read;
- introducing colour-coded chapters to help with visual navigation between chapters;
- consistent use of colour in diagrams and flow charts for different procedures throughout the handbook;
- linking chapters from the contents page for easy navigation around the document and back to the contents page; and
- adding contemporary images showing diversity in the workplace.
The new and improved version of the Procedural Handbook is on the way. The publication date is set for 1st October 2019. Let us know what you think of the new version once you start using it. We’ll take action on all feedback to continually improve the handbook to meet the needs of everyone who uses it.