The Department of Finance has confirmed that it will move forward with changes to fees for work carried out by Building Control under Schedule 1 (one or more small domestic buildings) & 2 (certain small buildings, extensions and alterations) from April 2022.
In 2021, the Department issued a consultation that proposed the following:
- A 17.5% increase in all the fees for Schedule 1 and most of Schedule 2 work from April 2022, followed by;
- A further increase in April 2023 that would result in an overall 35% increase in all of the fees for Schedule 1 and most of those in Schedule 2. Some Schedule 2 costs will be decreased to ensure they don’t exceed the cost of delivering the activity.
RSUA responded to the consultation and agreed with the proposed ‘user pays’ approach with the caveat that the increases should be reflected in investment directly in the Building Control function across District Councils as opposed to being invested elsewhere.
Furthermore, RSUA highlighted that the investment in building control services must also address any potential increase in those undertaking works that do not apply for building control oversight which would have a negative impact on safety and the wider built environment.
In accepting the proposed changes to the fees structure, RSUA included in its response that the changes must not act as an economic inhibitor in precipitating a delay to small domestic projects.
The timeframes which the Department will now progress mean users of the building control service have time to adjust to the overall 35% increase incrementally rather than one steep rise.
Once these uplifts are in place, work on a full review of fees regulations, which identified the need for these changes, will continue. The NI Building Regulation Advisory Committee and District Councils will be involved in the review process which will result in a new consultation on regulations. RSUA will look forward to responding to any future proposals on overall fees regulations in conjunction with members.