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Resistance to the Passage of Sound: Robust Details compliance certificate

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Replacement of Circular Letter dated 27 September 2004.

Building Act 1984 (as amended)

Part E of the Building Regulations 2000: Resistance to the passage of sound

I issued a Circular Letter on this subject on 27 September 2004. I regret that there were errors in that letter concerning enforcement of the Building Regulations. The errors have been corrected in this Letter and it therefore replaces that of 27 September.

When robust details are used as an alternative to pre-completion testing (PCT) the procedure to be followed is set out in regulation 20A of The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2004 and regulation 12A of The Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2004.

In both cases the builder has to submit a notification to the building control body, which among other things, should include the unique number(s) issued by Robust Details Limited in respect of the specified use of the robust detail(s).

The reason for this is that possession of the relevant unique number(s) indicates that the builder has registered his intention to use one or more robust details with Robust Details Ltd, and that Robust Details Ltd has included the plot address(es) in their database and may subject it to inspection or sound insulation testing as part of their quality assurance procedures. This inspection/testing is an essential component of the robust details system.

In addition to the unique number, Robust Details Ltd will issue the builder with a check list for the construction of each robust detail he applies to use, and also a Compliance Certificate on which the builder may certify that he has properly constructed the Robust Detail(s) in accordance with the relevant robust details specification sheet(s) and associated checklist(s) as published by Robust Details limited.

Building control bodies are free to ask the builder for a Compliance Certificate as further confirmation that he has complied with Requirement E1.

It is important to note that the Robust Details scheme is not a self-certification scheme, so the Compliance Certificate does not in any way replace normal building control checks. The Certificate is simply a confirmation by the builder that he has carried out properly any relevant work that may not have been visible during building control site inspections. This may increase the building control body's confidence in issuing a Completion or Final Certificate, but a Compliance Certificate is not proof that the building work meets the standards set out in Section 0 of Approved Document E 2003 (as amended).

An example of a Compliance Certificate is attached to this letter.

A question has arisen as to the position where a building control body has issued a Completion Certificate or a Final Certificate for a dwelling, which is subsequently tested and fails the test. This situation might arise in a case where a Robust Detail has been used and a complaint about poor performance is made, or indeed where PCT has been carried out, and a complaint is made about the performance of a dwelling that was not selected for testing, but where others within the same development were subject to PCT.

The enforcement provisions of the Building Act 1984 operate in the same way with respect to Robust Details as they do in relation to any other breach of the Building Regulations. Therefore, where a Local Authority is the building control body and a completion certificate has been issued, if the building work is subsequently found not to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations, enforcement action pursuant to section 35 and/or section 36 may be taken, subject to the provisions of section 36(5).

Where an Approved Inspector is the building control body, it is the responsibility of the Approved Inspector to take such steps (which may include the making of tests of building work) as are reasonable to enable him to be satisfied, within the limits of professional skill and care, that the Building Regulations have been complied with. Once an Approved Inspector is so satisfied and has issued a final certificate which has been accepted by the local authority, neither the local authority nor the Approved Inspector in question can take enforcement action pursuant to sections 35 or 36.

Enquiries

Any enquiries on this circular letter should be sent to: E-mail partsefkn.br@odpm.gsi.gov.uk

Signed by Paul F Everall

Head of Buildings Division

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

29 October 2004

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