CIOB: Notices to stop cowboy builders in their tracks

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) calls for Local Authorities to have greater powers to stop cowboy builders in their tracks.

In a detailed submission to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), The CIOB has backed proposals to allow Local Authorities to issue stop notices for activities that either commit an offence, or present a significant risk of causing serious harm in the future.

Stop notices will allow Local Authorities to halt construction activity, until steps are taken to remove or reduce the risk of harm. Unlike informal written and oral warnings used under the current system, they could not be ignored.

Kevin Dawson, Chairman of The CIOB’s Building Control and Standards Faculty, said “This is an important step forward in preventing sub-standard work from being covered up, which can be costly, or even impossible, to rectify at a later date.

“There is a strong argument that the enforcement role of Local Authorities has been neglected in the past and should take much greater prominence from now on. This would have significant consumer protection, health and safety and compliance benefits.

“In issuing these extra powers to Local Authorities, care must be taken to ensure there is no conflict between handling building control applications and enforcement within the Local Authorities. We encourage the CLG to investigate the merits of enforcement via the trading standards department rather than through planning or building control sections of Local Authorities.”

The CLG’s ‘Future of Building Control Consultation’ document proposes a number of other changes to the building control system in England and Wales, falling under five areas:

1. Developing a vision for building control.
2. Establishing a better approach to the way we deliver regulations and guidance.
3. Modernising inspection and enforcement.
4. Providing alternative routes to compliance.
5. Enabling improved performance and capacity.

The CIOB’s full submission to CLG can be downloaded at

In summary The CIOB:

· Welcomes the review of the building control system. We commend the CLG for a clear and concise consultation document and an inclusive consultation process.
· Agrees that the existing system is not broken but that it can be significantly modernised and updated to ensure it is fit-for-purpose in the 21st century.
· Believes the proposed changes to the building control system will give additional consumer protection, and help clarity the role and importance of building control.
· Supports a move towards a risk-assessed approach to building control and consistency on the typical risk factors that need to be taken into account, and agrees there is no need for anything too prescriptive.
· Calls for building control to have the power to issue notices to stop cowboy builders in their tracks.



The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) represents on behalf of the public the most diverse set of professionals in the construction industry.

The CIOB’s role is to:

· Promote the importance of the built environment.
· Lead the industry to create a sustainable future worldwide.
· Encourage leadership potential.
· Set the highest standards in quality, safety and qualification.
· Create an industry where excellence prospers.

Further information is available by contacting Saul Townsend CIOB press and communications manager on 01344 630 766 –

Saul Townsend MCIPR MIPRA
Press & Communications Manager
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
t: + 44 (0) 1344 630766 f: + 44 (0) 1344 630770

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