Update on the Building Standards Hub Pilot
Guest Blog by Alan McAulay and James Whiteford, Building Standards Hub Directors.
The Building Standards Hub Pilot is being operated in partnership with Building Standards Division, Fife Council (host) and LABSS. Funding has been provided for the 18 month period by the Futures Board.
It is now just over 7 months since the start of the Building Standards Hub Pilot, it is no exaggeration to say that this time seems to have passed in the blink of an eye!
The end of the first 6-month period of the pilot coincided with our presentation of an Interim Update report to the Verification Delivery Model Working Group at its meeting on 23 November 2022.
The purpose of this report was to update the group on the progress of the hub pilot to date, including a summary of achievements made by the hub since its commencement on 23 May 2022.
To date, the hub has successfully transferred the administration and operation of several key central LABSS building standards system services to the hub, this includes the Scottish Type Approval Scheme (STAS), Information Papers, Dispute Resolution Process and the LABSS Consortia Technical Working Group.
The resilience and resources provided by the hub, even in its pilot phase, has allowed for significantly more pro-active work to be undertaken on the services noted above, in particular STAS, which has the potential to improve consistency and efficiency in the assessment of building warrant applications leading to an overall improvement in the service.
The Hub has also undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement with Local Authority Building Standards Teams and a wide range of professional organisations, trade bodies, specialist experts and groups, education establishments, research establishments and developers.
Feedback from engagement has been overwhelmingly positive in terms of the potential for a long-term hub to bring improvements to the Building Standards system in Scotland. In addition, engagement has resulted in new and renewed relationships between the Hub, LABSS and stakeholders with many new areas of collaborative working being identified.
Various case studies are ongoing as part of the pilot, which together will help to shape and inform the business case for a long-term hub.
To date, the hub pilot has also managed to enhance the opportunity for strengthened operational partnerships between Local Authority verifiers through our brokering work, such partnerships have the potential to support a consistent level of customer service delivery across the country.
The Hub Pilot has now become the home of the Digital Hub, this will provide the communications and strategy conduit between stakeholders and LABSS Digital Delivery Group (LABSS DDG).
Notwithstanding the success of the Hub Pilot to date, we know there is much work to be done in the areas of structure, costings, funding, and governance of a long-term hub.
Work in this regard is ongoing, with the Delivery Model Development Group scheduled to report preferred options on the functions and capability with structure and costings for a long-term hub to the Delivery Model Working Group at its next meeting on 1 February 2023. This in turn will allow an update to be provided to the next Futures Board meeting on 14 February 2023.
James and I would like to thank everyone involved in the project including the Chair of the Futures Board and Fife council as well as all the organisations that have contributed to the work of the hub pilot to date. We look forward to working with all stakeholders during 2023.
More information on the formation of the Building Standards Hub can be found in the Blog of 15 June 2022, see link – https://blogs.gov.scot/building-standards/2022/06/15/building-standards-futures-board-verification-delivery-model-building-standards-hub-pilot-2/