I was interested in your piece about the London flats collapse (NCE last week). It is not planning officers who deal with applications for internal structural alterations but building control officers, under the requirements of the Building Regulations 2000.
These regulations have nothing to do with the planning process, and such matters would only fall within the jurisdiction of the planning acts if the building was listed.
The local authority has little control over how the work is executed, and by whom, once a full planning application is approved. There is now a pretty clear case for more proactive building control, possibly with a requirement for compulsory insurance or even licensing, as existed in the immediate post war years.
Brian Flint of the Federation of Master Builders represents the predictable establishment view that the cowboys should be rounded up and run out of town. I take the view that poor training and skill levels are endemic in the industry.
By all means introduce more proactive building control, but this should be paralleled by properly funded training schemes.
Alan Turner, Wellside Wedge, Backwell Common, Backwell, North Somerset, BS48 3AE