Undergoing a compliance audit is not always met with joy; in fact many companies will dread the time a compliance audit rears its head. Yet like many necessary things in life, a compliance audit can provide extremely useful information that could prevent serious error.
Construction firms hire Compliance Auditors to ensure they, or companies working on their behalf are following the correct procedures outlined in the terms and agreements of a Contract.
It is the Compliance Auditor’s job to ensure regulatory standards set by the industry and agreed through Contracts are met. Essentially, the role of Compliance Auditor is an enhanced Clerk of Works/NEC Supervisor role. Both play an important part in assuring the quality of a project and ensuring the works carried out are in accordance with the Contract.
In terms of regulatory compliance most engaging Clerk of Works/NEC Supervisors would check against Building Regulations, British/European Standards and NHBC. But in reality these offer little challenge to any Developer/Contractor worth their salt as ‘they know how to build’.
The area where the Compliance Auditor can offer real value is in relation to Planning Conditions. Planning Conditions and S106 bring many other compliance criteria into effect. This is where Designers and Developers often make mistakes.
‘An Expensive service that isn’t needed’
This may be the view of many who can’t see beyond the costs a compliance audit can bring. Yet an audit can help spot errors that if unidentified could be extremely costly to rectify at a later date. The time and money saved from avoiding potentially huge problems during the project makes the role of a Compliance Auditor essential to every job.
Saving Time and Money from the Word ‘Go’
Some companies find it difficult to understand why they would need a Compliance Auditor on their job. As stated before, it’s an enhanced role of others that are already on board a project, so why is there need for another?
Compliance Auditors are best if involved in a job from the very beginning and can show their worth during that time. To give the maximum benefit to the client the Compliance Auditor needs to be brought in Pre-Planning to audit the GA drawings.
Whilst the audit is a fairly quick process in itself, the task cannot be undertaken without first reading the planning conditions/section 106 in order to determine what the designs should comply with and then researching the specific supplementary planning policies referred to therein. Sufficient time should be allowed for this process as it is this level of detail that many designers fail to undertake, where the Compliance Auditor will identify the early stage non-compliances.
If the Compliance Auditor is not appointed at this early stage some of the benefit can be lost but a drawing review post planning and physical site inspections can be undertaken at any point in time.
Getting Value for Money
From our experience, compliance audits are a necessary aspect to every job and generally pay for themselves when non-compliances are identified early on in a project.
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