To assist in the transition to the new system of building standards introduced by the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 on 1 May 2005, Ministers used powers available within the Act to allow local authorities to act as verifiers, in respect of buildings where they had an interest, for the first 3 years of the system. The Direction was for an initial period of 3 years, up to 30 April 2008.
In considering an extension of the Direction beyond this date, Ministers wanted more assurances in respect of transparency and third party checking by local authorities before they could agree to an extension.
Following several stages of consultation, both within the Scottish Association of Building Standards Managers (SABSM) and also with Scottish Government Building Standards Division officials, a 'Model Agreement' to establish consortia, along with 'Model Procedures for Peer Group Reviews', have been developed by SABSM. Consequently, Ministers have accepted that the proposed framework for Consortia and Peer Group Reviews will meet the aim of introducing transparent, third party checking for vertifiers' duties during the building warrant process, from the assessment of an application through to the acceptance/rejection of a completion certificate, for buildings where the Council, as verifier, has an interest.
The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson has agreed, therefore, that a Direction should be issued for a further 3 years extending the right to self-verify until 30th April 2011. The Direction was issued on 24th April 2008 to Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council, North Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council as local authorities who have formerly agreed to enter the joint working arrangements to undertake the self verification process under the name South West Scotland Building Standards Consortium (SWSBSC). In addition to the self verification review process the consortium shall use this grouping to process benchmark and liaise with customers to enhance service delivery. Training initiatives delivered to both staff and customers will also be targeted by the consortium.