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Water for Fire service, rural


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10 hours ago, Gus Potter said:

What has happened to the system where we are even discussing compromising just to get approvals? Why can't designers / experienced builders / contractors use first principles to innovate? I think we can.. but we need to find a new way of communicating our ideas in a positive way that encourages the young folk that are on the Authority side to engage.

 

You can innovate, but you need to pick your hill to die on - yes there are alternatives for a tank however a tank is the easiest (and probably cheapest) route to compliance. We've complied with this regulation with all sorts of different methods, suds ponds can be good if need one anyway! 

I'd guess going by your comments that you havebn't dealt with a lot of building standards officers in Scotland!? ? Young forward thinkers are only a couple of applications away from being jaded!

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Great help thanks all. I am ok on the Engineering but sensitive about the application. Have done Building Regs apps; 100+ in England and 3 in Scotland (which were so much easier).

I have learnt how different the authorities can be in how much detail they want, and whether they would  rather stamp through the perfect design, or always want to show their authority.

 

In the cases of drainage it just seems so vague about whether I apply to SEPA or let the LA do that.

And for fire, are there written rules on risk and volume of water, or is it always 10m3 or up to the officer?

 

For now I am taking the advice to allow 10m3 tank, and present a detailed drainage assessment to the LA.

 

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Don't overthink it - get the application into the system as soon as you can and then answer whatever queries they have - you'll get points back no matter what, 90% of the applications we do are before the engineer have issued their SER package anyway.

Anything that isn't a hydrant needs comment from SFRS so whatever the approach is, the sooner the better!

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On 04/10/2021 at 09:59, the_r_sole said:

 

You can innovate, but you need to pick your hill to die on - yes there are alternatives for a tank however a tank is the easiest (and probably cheapest) route to compliance. We've complied with this regulation with all sorts of different methods, suds ponds can be good if need one anyway! 

I'd guess going by your comments that you havebn't dealt with a lot of building standards officers in Scotland!? ? Young forward thinkers are only a couple of applications away from being jaded!

 

Not died yet! But like death and taxes.. both are inevitable and we have plenty hills in Scotland. Some this quote can be attributed to Frankin, others say Mark Twain but Christopher Bullock (1716) seems to be the front runner? According to the Adam Smith Institute.

 

"I'd guess going by your comments that you havebn't dealt with a lot of building standards officers in Scotland!?"

 

Mixed experiences here. Having been a contractor  / designer working in Scotland for the last 35 years I've "interacted" with the odd one or two.. but remain hopeful..as many more rather than less are helpful in my experience.  I'm now also a bit deaf and wear thick glasses with a rose tint so that helps too!

 

"Young forward thinkers are only a couple of applications away from being jaded!"

 

I think you sum this up well, bit of a sad situation though, can't be much fun for them either. What I have found is that there is a bit difference in approach between the different Councils, I think you expanded on this a while ago Sole. For all, this can be a consideration in how you couch an application so in some ways Sole I agree with your approach. There is a bit of a churn in staff going on in some of the councils with folk leaving and them finding it difficult to recruit and train new BC officers up.

 

Argyll and Bute don't get a nomination from me as the best Building Standards forward thinkers of the year. This year my Central  / West of Scotland nomination (so far) would go to Glasgow or North Lanarkshire. The year before South Lanarkshire.. but not Perth Council..

 

I tend to stay away from the east coast and up north.. as plenty to do locally, good to holiday there though.  but there are a few folk on BH that can maybe add their nominations?

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gus Potter said:

you haven't dealt with a lot of building standards officers in Scotland!

No only one, for 3 projects in very central Scotland. It was the easiest process ever because I signed off my stuff and another Engineer signed theirs, and nothing was questioned.

My English experience is for  100 + submissions...hence my query..

 

Some councils and their BCO's were not tough enough. I welcome any sort of quality control and they were not asking the right questions so some horrible stuff must have been going through elsewhere.

Some were over tough, esp London ones, who still wanted to use their old manuals and hated Eurocodes. Big arguments with them, but the full volume of building regs on the table was enough to make my point. A checking Engineer even said he didn't like Eurocodes and could we redesign a whole shed to BS. NO.

 

And many an argument about interpretation of the regs. Is a timber stair flammable if it is encased in plasterboard? 

 

So we switched to a private 'Approved Inspector'. Same man every time, any location, and he trusted us, but was firm if he didn't agree.

 

Which brings me back to the point. I think Sole you are saying that they will always ask questions because that is their job. therefore don't worry about the perfect application, as they will still ask questions, perhaps with invented problems. 

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1 hour ago, saveasteading said:

No only one, for 3 projects in very central Scotland. It was the easiest process ever because I signed off my stuff and another Engineer signed theirs, and nothing was questioned.

My English experience is for  100 + submissions...hence my query..

 

Some councils and their BCO's were not tough enough. I welcome any sort of quality control and they were not asking the right questions so some horrible stuff must have been going through elsewhere.

Some were over tough, esp London ones, who still wanted to use their old manuals and hated Eurocodes. Big arguments with them, but the full volume of building regs on the table was enough to make my point. A checking Engineer even said he didn't like Eurocodes and could we redesign a whole shed to BS. NO.

 

And many an argument about interpretation of the regs. Is a timber stair flammable if it is encased in plasterboard? 

 

So we switched to a private 'Approved Inspector'. Same man every time, any location, and he trusted us, but was firm if he didn't agree.

 

Which brings me back to the point. I think Sole you are saying that they will always ask questions because that is their job. therefore don't worry about the perfect application, as they will still ask questions, perhaps with invented problems. 

Hello @saveasteading

 

For the avoidance of doubt I was responding to the r_sole as the sole was pondering whether I had had been on the Scottish Building Standards joy mobile on a regular basis.

 

"Some were over tough, esp London ones, who still wanted to use their old manuals and hated Eurocodes. Big arguments with them, but the full volume of building regs on the table was enough to make my point. A checking Engineer even said he didn't like Eurocodes and could we redesign a whole shed to BS. NO."

 

For all. It is still perfectly acceptable to design to the British Standards, there is no requirement to design to the Eurocodes in most cases in the UK for BC purposes. In fact there are a number of areas that the Eurocodes don't cover in a UK environment. There are a couple of caveats positive and negative.. for you as a home owner/ self builder.

 

On the negative side you can still design to the British Standards so long as you know where the BS has been proved to not meet the current accepted research knowledge embodied in the Euroodes. For example take a steel portal frame. The BS requires no explicit check on whether the haunch should be stiffend or not at the sharp end. The Eurocode does. For all.. that seems like a pedantic technicality but BC will pick up on that.. well they should. You can still design a portal frame to the BS but include the extra haunch check.

 

More importantly for the typical BH member is this. The Eurocodes allow the suppliers of certain products to say hey our stuff won't fall down but as we are using the Eurocodes it is up to you to agree with your designer what deflections are acceptable. In other words you could as a lay person buy a product designed to the Eurocodes that is going to crack your brickwork unless you have the technical knowledge or an SE to say.. hang on, lets look at the deflection.

 

The British Standards often have enough clauses to protect say the BH member.

 

"Which brings me back to the point. I think Sole you are saying that they will always ask questions because that is their job. therefore don't worry about the perfect application, as they will still ask questions, perhaps with invented problems. "

 

Yes agree, BC's job is to guard public safety. Sometimes they will ask some apparently odd questions. Sometimes an inexperienced BC officer (us too on Bh) will ask some daft questions or not even know what they want to ask..they just blurt it out. It happens.. there is often a way of smoothing things over.

 

What a lot of folk forget / just don't know is that you may live in the house for five years and never load up the floors say. You sell it and a young family move in and stack it up. The house is designed for a 50 - 60 year occupancy. Yes, you may think it 's your house, you bought and paid for it but that's not the way it works in terms of public safety! It's hard to get your head round it and often this is one reason why folk wonder why they are in conflict with BC.

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Gus Potter said:

Mixed experiences here. Having been a contractor  / designer working in Scotland for the last 35 years I've "interacted" with the odd one or two.. but remain hopeful..as many more rather than less are helpful in my experience.  I'm now also a bit deaf and wear thick glasses with a rose tint so that helps too!

 

You're a better man than me - I'm only about half the time in and have given up expecting anything from them - some are great, most are awful but generally it comes down to communication, if they tell you that they're struggling then I don't mind so much but just head in the sand grinds my gears!

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I try ever so hard to treat planning and BC officers with respect and give them full and accessible information.

If that is reciprocated then everything goes smoothly. I have no problem having errors or better ideas pointed out.

But I fear it is not the norm and they expect errors, omissions  and tricks in the applications and are wary.

Some BCOs don't like Engineers as they think we are tricking them with numbers: yes one boy inspector  told me that.

 

I once said publicly to a head of planning that we would continue to include access statements as it was an essential part of understanding our design...if we could not explain it then we had not thought about it...He paused his presentation to write that down.  Later he told me that he viewed our applications with respect and allowed  some freedom of thinking.

If only that was the norm.

 

BCOs can be egotistical and vindictive for some reason.  Perhaps looking tough is supposed to impress management.

 

The best explanation I can reach is that usually (?)  the architect or builder just accepts what they are told by BC....make that joist bigger, dig that hole deeper, so when I ask them to justify it,  they resent the challenge.

 

To their defence, one told me that they come across some awful quality control. Example: big new shopping centre...where is the reinforcing mesh?......it is coming. He returned 2 hours later and the concrete was poured with no reinforcement.  Little subby but working for  major contractor.

So perhaps BCOs paint us all as chancers.

 

 

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On 07/10/2021 at 10:05, the_r_sole said:

 

"some are great, most are awful but generally it comes down to communication, if they tell you that they're struggling then I don't mind so much but just head in the sand grinds my gears!

Spot on. What turns my rose tinted specs to blood red is when you get radio silence.. what you seem often to get now is an automated response. The last one I got was.. we acknowledge you have paid us money, your BC officer is xyz and they will be in touch in due course.

 

If they recognised that if they dropped you a quick note to say... Your submission is on my desk. I'm really busy due to abc but won't forget about you. After all it could be their old mum and dad that are needing to get the work done. If they did this then they could avoid many of the phone calls / emails from folk just wanting to know what is going on. It's not professional to just ignore folk.

 

They could even say, thank you for your comprehensive and clear submission...please give us time to study it in detail. Believe it or not sometimes you do get a verbal compliment from BC / the Council Engineers on the quality of your submission. I agree with the Sole's approach, achieving a high standard.. that is the mark of a professional and in some ways it's encumbant on BC to step up to the plate.

 

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