Doing digital to improve building standards
It’s been ten months since the Building Standards Futures Board agreed our plans for digitally transforming the building standards system in Scotland. In that time we have taken our work forward in a number of ways.
One of the biggest steps was being included in scope of the Digital Planning Programme, Transforming Places Together last Autumn. For most construction projects in Scotland both planning permission and building warrant approval are required so inclusion in this exciting and encompassing programme makes sense because we are serious about a joined up system for developers, contractors, small to medium enterprises (SME’s) and home and property owners.
After building warrants are approved, owners and their architects and contractors are responsible for evidencing compliance, both with their approved building warrant plans and details and the building regulations. Local authorities also take reasonable steps to ensure this evidence is correct and supported by their inspections and checks. From the future of openBIM and Digital Twinning, to simple tools for the homeowner, we are investing time and effort into how digital tools can bring both parties together to ensure our buildings are safe and energy efficient. The emphasis is on taking advantage of existing and new technology to make the process simpler, easier and more effective for everyone while still delivering the statutory requirements which keep us all safe, and reduce impact on our planet and its resources.
Underpinning the above requires knowledge, understanding and cooperation, which is why we have instigated research and development on a number of fronts, and are keen to expand our engagement this coming year.
We have completed research on both the data standards landscape in the local authority teams who deliver building standards services, and on remote video inspections (RVI). Next steps are to implement some frameworks to introduce positive change. For RVI this means defining some rules of engagement so that we have the right level of national consistency, and an appreciation of both its scope of use and as a customer what to expect, and why it might be a good fit for your inspection. For data standards a framework for change will define where consistency of data is best implemented and why it’s important as a foundation for automating tasks to deliver surety and efficiency.
Further research is being taken forward in partnership with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC). This includes looking to establish what construction related data sets there are which can be integrated with online building warrant applications, how we can develop our statutory building standards registers and respond in a digital way to the need for better and more accountable compliance.
Finally we are doing some work around digital tools, for SME’s and property owners, including homeowners, which will make the evidencing of compliance intuitive, sensible and straightforward. Are mobile apps one of the solutions? Let’s find out!
As we start to “do digital” we will be expanding our engagement to users of the system, so watch this space.