Construction Best Practices

Tech-Aided Workflows for UK Construction Compliance

How Housebuilders are Using Field View to Help With Part L Compliance


Photographic evidence of building progress is essential to the UK's Part L building standard.

UK contractors face a number of compliance challenges when they build. Failure to comply with any rules and regulations could mean fines and costly re-work.

One of these is Part L, otherwise known as Document L. Part L is an amended building standard that decrees all new dwellings should be built with the aim to increase the conservation of fuel and power by up to 30%. One new change of note is the need to provide photographic evidence throughout a project’s lifecycle. These photographs must also be able to be traced to a project and a particular site location.

    What is asked for as part of Part L regulations?

    By collecting photos from the jobsite, contractors and regulators can ensure that that the correct materials and workflows have been used during the building process.

    High-resolution images must be taken of each detail within a plot, at least one photo per detail, per plot. Where the detail is not clear from the initial photo, there must be additional close ups taken to clarify the detail.

    These photographs must be taken nearing completion of each stage of the project so building control can then audit before that stage is closed out. This is usually done by working with a local authority building control department or approved inspector who can confirm whether work has been done in line with current building regulations.

    This photographic evidence can also be used on projects to ensure the correct products have been installed everywhere. Ben Wallbank, BIM strategy and partnerships manager at Trimble Viewpoint, said there is an opportunity to look past the “raft of requirements” and a chance to create better quality, more energy-efficient buildings for customers.

    The Importance of Building Controls and 3 Tips for Part L Photography

    Photographic evidence is much easier to attain today with the use of technologies like smartphones, tablets and even drones.

    As the regulation is still in its early stages of being practically rolled out, the relationships that contractors have with building control, SAP accessors and warranty providers are critical to form as a “hand-holding” process.

    Peter Roberts, head of quality at Berkeley Homes, joined Trimble Viewpoint, Ramboll Buildings, and Building Magazine on a recent webinar outlining the Part L changes. He demonstrated how Berkeley had readied itself for the Part L changes, and offered advice to those who are going through photo evidencing for the first time.

    Berkeley Homes has been photo evidencing on its projects for several years. The company’s experience means it is well-prepared for the new regulations. Here are Roberts’ 3 top tips when photo evidencing:

    1. Application

      Berkeley took the Appendix B7 and looked at how it could apply this to its developments and assessments. The company recognised that its current processes needed to be much more detailed and streamlined than how they were at that moment. Construction businesses are still learning what building control is looking for. For Berkley, working with building control throughout the process is incredibly important to ensure that what the company is doing is right from the start.

      2. Specificity

        The philosophy behind Part L is that anyone should be able to pick up a tablet, go to the site location and still be able to undertake an inspection with no prior knowledge of the details. Using specific questions that need to be answered by the inspector, as well as clear, accessible information means that the inspections can be completed quickly and thoroughly.

        3. Benchmarking

          Create a benchmark of acceptable photographs and evidencing through collaborating with subcontractors, SAP accessors, building control and warranty provider. This means that quality and compliance can become an easily repeatable process.

          We’ve got that record in perpetuity on the cloud, that we can always refer back to if we need to.

          Who Takes the Pictures?

          Trimble Viewpoint's Field View application helps contractors identify potential issues before they become problems.

          “For the larger trades, they will often have a quality manager,” Roberts said. “For the smaller contractors, it’s often the supervisor that’s taking the photographs. That then gets offered to the site management team to review and sign off that the records are being captured appropriately.”

          And the most important thing, Roberts said, is using a connected construction application such as Trimble Viewpoint’s Field View solution to capture this vital information. “We’ve got that record in perpetuity on the cloud, that we can always refer back to if we need to,” Roberts said.

          Posted By

          With over 28 years experience in the construction Industry, Ben brings a wealth of knowledge to Viewpoint where he works as BIM Strategy Manager. Ben has advised contractors consultants and client bodies on management, organisation, workflow and business process associated with BIM deployment.