ATTMA today (1 November 2018) was delighted to meet with the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) to discuss future changes to the air tightness testing industry.
Both Barry Cope ATTMA Scheme Manager, and David Pickavance ATTMA Chairman, attended. The meeting saw ATTMA put forward suggestions on changes to the Conditions of Authorisation for Competent Persons Schemes (commonly known as CoA), the Minimum Technical Competencies (MTC) and to provide feedback, both positive and negative, about the air tightness industry.
ATTMA has made proposed changes in a few areas, most importantly Conflicts of Interest. ATTMA has proposed the person designing or constructing a building or product shall not conduct the testing, which is an extension to the current condition. Barry Cope, ATTMA Scheme Manager explains further: “Conflicts of Interest are rife within the Building Industry so following Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations, ATTMA has proposed that in ALL industries, if you design and/or build it, you shall not be the person to test it. This is particuarly important with industries such as sound testing, where it is common place that a consultant may design a wall between two properties and then test it. It would also stop national housebuilders conducting their own testing within a Government Authorised Competent Persons Scheme, which doesn’t stop the testing happening completely, but does stop it happening within the Governments schemes, something ATTMA feels very strongly about.”.
ATTMA also proposed that all Competent Persons Schemes achieve UKAS accreditation to further increase the independence of Competent Persons Schemes. MHCLG were very clear that this was supported by them, though there are some technical hurdles to jump before this was made mandatory. ATTMA Chairman David Pickavance comments: “ATTMA will achieve UKAS accreditation regardless of any requirement from any of the Governing nations. We at ATTMA do everything we can to support the testing industries and UKAS accreditation over the scheme and how it accredits its testers is a natural step to ensure that the ATTMA scheme will always be the go to scheme for the industry”.
Mr Cope also puts forward requirements to standardise the audit format between all schemes. “The NOS already covers the requirements for auditing, making it clear that scheme must audit in accordance with the entire NOS documents, though we know that this isn’t happening in a consistent way across the industry. The Government agrees that a minimum set of requirements must be made clear and will take on-board the comments”.
Finally, ATTMA sought to clarify its position with regards to sound insulation testing scheme. The Government have made it clear that the ATTMA scheme is a perfectly valid route for testing. It is the responsibility of each Building Control Officer to judge the evidence they receive in ALL parts of the Building Regulations as being fit for purpose, proportionate and accurate. ATTMA expects further confirmation from LABC and MHCLG in the near future.