Major Projects: Don’t wait for planning – tackle risk at the design stage

The draft Building Safety Bill puts significant demands on a project’s earliest stages. It’s essential to seek risk management and building control support at the earliest design stage for a successful outcome.

The way we build taller residential developments is about to change forever.

The draft Building Safety Bill redraws the process for constructing multi-storey buildings and among its many statutory changes developers will be required to use local authority teams for regulatory building control by default

These teams are represented by Local Authority Building Control (LABC). As their partners and providers of structural warranties for major projects across England and Wales, LABC Warranty are working with them to help customers and stakeholders understand their legal requirements and structural risks in the face of the new laws.

Start with the design stage

Ben Smallwood, LABC Warranty’s Major Projects Business Manager, said the draft Building Safety Bill was the focus of a wider set of rules and standards that would introduce fundamental changes to the way we build major developments.

“What the Bill does is front-load preparatory work into the design stage of a project and adds further considerations for design, build and operation,” he said. “As one of the country’s leading providers of warranty cover, LABC Warranty has worked with LABC to create a Major Projects Service, supported by a substantial team of regulatory and risk management experts to help stakeholders make sense of the new process and get their projects right, first time.

“Our design meetings set minds at ease because they help provide confidence with a clear sense of direction from the start,” he added. “It’s a different way of working for all of us, so we’ve found our early, no-obligation engagement shares learning and best practice on all sides. We all want the same thing – high quality developments that are safe places to live and work for the long term.”

Peace of mind also comes in the form of reliable structural warranty insurance. Tailored for new homes, homes to rent, build to rent, social housing and commercial projects, LABC Warranty policies are backed by a panel of A-rated insurers and provide 10 or 12 years of cover.

Founded in 2007, LABC Warranty provides tailored cover backed by A-rated insurers. It works with LABC to provide a combined network of more than 4,000 surveyors for building control and risk management services. Significant projects include urban villages such as Redrow’s Colindale Gardens in London, Berkeley Home’s Westmark and Waterfront developments, and Durkan’s conversion of Lisgar Terrace for Southern Housing Group.

Planning a major project? If your development features a building with six storeys or more or has a value above £22.5m, request a call to see how our Major Projects Service can help you

Request a call

How the Major Projects Service works

LABC Warranty’s Major Projects Service is available for any project with a building of six storeys or more and/or a reconstruction value of at least £22.5m. In addition to considerable surveyor support, the Major Projects team consists of more than 20 specialists with experience working on high rise, complex projects and knowledge of the new regulatory regime.

The technical team is dedicated to the customer’s project and consists of:

  • Major Project Manager
  • Major Project Surveyor
  • Major Project Structural Engineer
  • Façade, roof and structural waterproofing experts

The service provides early, no-obligation engagement at the design stage to help customers navigate the regulations and ensure compliance with our LABC Warranty technical standards. This gives customers design confidence from the very start.

Further project management support ensures stakeholders are kept informed at every step and deliver project milestones on time and within budget. This support includes:

  • Design review report, including unique project management tools for the design team providing a useful resource and audit trail
  • Key inspection plan, providing clear guidance up front to address potentially enhanced risks on site
  • Certificate progress report, a visual, plot-by-plot insight on LABC Warranty acceptance of validation certification to ensure certificates of insurance are issued on time, every time.

Benefits of the Major Projects Service

Feedback from customers and prospects has highlighted many benefits including:

  • High standard of technical support and early engagement
  • Dedicated account manager to help navigate insurer requirements
  • Service based on the specific construction programme to hit your key dates
  • Consistent advice with reference to the LABC Warranty Technical Manual
  • Greater understanding and insight of potential risks for structural defects and building safety issues
  • A clear audit trail through an easy-to-use cloud-based document management portal so you can demonstrate risk management for the longer term
  • Support to manage building safety data for the long term, a key requirement of the draft Building Safety Bill

Kevin Leahy, Technical Director at Berkeley Homes (St Edward), described the benefit of their excellent relationship with LABC Warranty while working on the prestigious West End Gate development

He said: “At West End Gate we have forged an excellent relationship with LABC Warranty’s Major Projects team, who have provided an integrated service with Westminster City Council Building Control.

“From our first meetings with Julian Roper we have had a focused and helpful approach, from warranty, design, inspections and certification teams."

Planning a major project? If your development features a building with six storeys or more or has a value above £22.5m, request a call to see how our Major Projects Service can help you

Request a call

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