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Local 'sheriffs' for cowboys

Local authorities should have more powers to stop cowboy builders operating said the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

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: "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."

Dawson cautioned nevertheless that, "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."

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