Cook Brown Building Control – Complaints Procedure
Cook Brown Building Control is committed to delivering a high quality service to our clients, however we recognise that occasionally things can go wrong. Our complaints procedure has been developed to make it easier for you to understand the framework to report complaints and to ensure that these issues are dealt with promptly and in a fair and transparent manner.
Our aim is to constantly develop and improve our service delivery and the information gathered from this process will be reviewed to help us learn as an organisation.
It should be noted that our role as an Approved Inspector is to review the construction project for compliance with the Building Regulations. However, we do not constantly supervise the works of your chosen builder or contractor at every stage of the construction process. We advise clients to employ the use of an Architect or Contract Administrator to act as an overseeing agent for their building work.
Building Regulations in England and Wales are set by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). These are standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health of the people who use those buildings. The standards also include requirements to ensure energy efficiency (the conservation of fuel and power) and accessibility (providing facilities for people, including those with disabilities, to gain access and move around inside buildings).
Building control is not:
- A ‘clerk of works’ service monitoring every stage of the construction process on site. That is a matter for the contracts and arrangements put in place between the client and the builder. Ultimately, compliance is the responsibility of the person carrying out the work.
- A service to address issues such as the finish and aesthetics of the final project where these are not Building Regulations standards. These are a matter for designers, builders and new home warranty providers.
- A service to offer contractual protection to a client in a contract with a builder. This is a matter for contract law.
- A 100% guarantee of compliance. It plays an important part to educate and to reduce risk, but building control does not remove the obligation of the builder and/or owner to achieve compliance with the Building Regulations.
We are required to be an impartial and independent part of the construction process and ultimately strive to ensure that any project complies with government set minimum standards for the built environment.
Definition of a Complaint
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about the performance of Cook Brown Building Control Ltd relating to our delivery of services, actions (including lack of action or the complaints handling process itself) where a response or resolution is expected from Cook Brown Building Control as an organisation.
Matters that are not considered complaints:
- A Building Regulation technical assessment.
- Misunderstanding or dissatisfaction with the minimum standard set by the Building Regulations.
- A decision of an Approved Inspector where regulatory powers are being exercised.
- Unsubstantiated criticisms of the scope or context of the Approved Inspector service.
- Criticisms of quality of workmanship (outside Building Regulation requirements for materials and workmanship) or building warranty items.
- Criticisms which constitute a disagreement with, or a refusal to accept, a rule of law which the Approved Inspector is applying.
- Criticism of decisions made by the Planning Authority.
- Neighbourly or Party Wall Act disputes.
Matters that are considered complaints:
- Failure to provide a service at the right time or to the standard expected of the service.
- Failure to fulfil statutory responsibilities.
- Failure to implement a decision.
- Failure to comply with the Building Control Performance Standards.
- Failure to abide by the CICAIR Code of Conduct for Approved Inspectors.
- Dissatisfaction with an answer to a query or a response to a request for a service.
- Failure to follow the Approved Inspectors agreed policy or procedures.
- Failure to take proper account of relevant matters in coming to a decision.
- Discourtesy or unacceptable behaviour by a member of staff.
- Harassment, bias or unfair discrimination.
Stage 1 – Internal Review, Acknowledgement & Response
A summary of the complaint should be provided, preferably by letter or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The complaint will be acknowledged within 2 working days.
The complaint will be passed to a Manager for initial review and acknowledgement. If the nature of the complaint involves an individual member of staff, this staff member will be interviewed to establish the full facts of the case. Full contact details of the Manager dealing with the complaint will be provided at this time.
We will respond to you within 10 working days of receiving your complaint to inform you of the circumstances leading to the complaint and you will be invited to make written comment in response. Where the problem is complex the initial contact may be to clarify the nature of your complaint.
Stage 2 – Internal Investigation & Response
If the complainant is dissatisfied by the outcome of the Stage 1 process, the complaint will be passed to a Director for further review and investigation. Full contact details of the Director dealing with the complaint will be provided at this time.
Within 15 working days of receiving your complaint we will write to you informing you of the outcome of our investigation and inform you of any corrective proposal or actions. Any reasonable requirements for an extension of time for further investigation will be communicated and discussed with you. Outcomes may include:
- An apology.
- An explanation of our actions.
- Remedial action.
- A review of our policies and Standard Operating Procedures.
- The delivery of the services that should have been provided.
Complaints will be recorded and reviewed to assist with developing our Standard Operating Procedures, to ensure a constant improvement in service delivery.
Stage 3 – External Referral
If customers are still dissatisfied after exhausting the Cook Brown internal complaints procedure, referral can be made to the CICAIR Approved Inspectors Register (CICAIR). Further details of their formal complaints procedure are available at https://www.cicair.org.uk/complaints/.
- The CICAIR complaints process does not provide for financial penalties against Approved Inspectors or the awarding of costs or financial redress to complainants.
- CICAIR will only consider complaints against an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Approved Inspectors. For a complaint to be upheld it must be demonstrated that a breach of the Code of Conduct for Approved Inspectors has taken place.
- CICAIR cannot consider complaints based on a Building Regulation technical assessment, a misunderstanding or dissatisfaction with the minimum standard set by the Building Regulations or on criticisms of the quality of workmanship.
- The date that a complaint is accepted and that CICAIR begins an investigation is the date on which CICAIR is satisfied that the acceptance conditions outlined below have been met and is not necessarily the date that the complaint was lodged. Once a complaint has been accepted, CICAIR will send the complaint form and the supporting evidence in its entirety to the Approved Inspector for a formal response.
- The time limit for lodging a complaint with CICAIR about an Approved Inspector is a maximum of 6 years for clients under contract and 10 years for users of buildings. The time limit begins from the date of the cancellation of the Initial Notice or the date on the Final Certificate issued by the Approved Inspector for the building or property. If the building or property is part of a larger development, the time limit begins from the date of the cancellation of the Initial Notice or the date on the Final Certificate issued by the Approved Inspector for that building or property.
- Complaints cannot be progressed if there is legal action in process involving the Approved Inspector or complainant in relation to the dispute.