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Sweco Building Control – Impartiality Statements

For Approved Inspectors, Regulation 9 of the Approved Inspector Regulations(titled ‘Independence of approved inspectors) deals with safeguarding impartiality, setting out that ‘Approved inspectors shall have no professional or financial interest in the work they supervise unless it is minor work.’

It is considered that this Regulation was intended to address the potential for conflict of interest occurring during the building control approval process.

It is noted that the Building Control Alliance’s view that similar principles should apply to public sector Building Control Bodies. The underlying principle of the building control process being an independent third-party check is paramount.

IMPARTIALITY GUIDANCE

The building control function is carried out by Sweco (Building Control) Limited. This is a separate company with different directors to Sweco UK and all other Sweco companies. This is communicated throughout the business and to external clients. This ensures that the function is carried out impartially and is perceived to be impartial.

Sweco Building Control Limited is responsible for the impartiality of the delivery of its building control service and does not allow commercial, financial, or other matters to compromise impartiality.

Sweco Building Control Limited identifies risks to our impartiality on an ongoing basis and has an internal review of this every quarter by its Statutory Directors. This includes risks arising from our activities, relationships, and relationships of personnel. However, such relationships may not necessarily present Sweco Building Control Limited with a risk to impartiality.

Note – Guidance from the Building Control Alliance confirms that a relationship presenting a risk to impartiality of the building control body can be based on ownership, governance, management, personnel, shared resources, finance, contracts, marketing (including branding) and payment of a sales commission or other inducement for the referral of new clients. Etc.

A risk to impartiality is considered to occur principally where a design or construction function is being provided on the same project by the same organisation carrying out the Building Control function. A risk to Impartiality may also occur in other ways such as financial involvement, personal or family involvement etc. This is the principal reason why Sweco Building Control Limited is set up as a single function business with its own governance.

DEMONSTRATION OF IMPARTIALITY- ISO 17020

For larger commercial organisations incorporating a BCB, typically Public and Private Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships, elements of a policy that tends to safeguard impartiality may but not necessarily or exclusively include:

  1. Separate Legal Entity
  2. Independent Senior Management Team
  3. No common Directors with other Divisions
  4. Directors have no responsibility as a director or member of senior management team of any other legal entity providing a design and construction function on the same project.
  5. There is a clear and published whistleblowing policy. In the event of a complaint there is the highest-level management process that ensures that no pressure can be applied to Building Control in relation to carrying out their legal function. View our complaints policy here.
  6. There is no financial incentive for Sweco Building Control to market other parts of Sweco UK.
  7. Design and construction services are not joined with Approved Inspector Services or discounts offered for multiple appointments.
  8. Design and Consultancy Services are marketed separately.
  9. Sweco Building Control use CIC form of contract that is entirely independent from design services contracts.
  10. Sweco Building Control does not carry out any design functions.
  11. The financial reporting and management systems are entirely independent from Sweco UK.