Report of the District Surveyor & Environmental Resilience Director.
The Committee received a report of the Director of the Built Environment updating them on the workings of the District Surveyor’s Officer which reports to it for the purposes of building control, engineering services for the City’s major infrastructure and to provide resilience to buildings and businesses within the Square Mile that may be affected by climatic and environmental risks.
Officers confirmed that building control had been severely affected by the pandemic over the past year with the amount of construction work being undertaken dropping off quite dramatically. Applications for here and the private sector therefore dropped by approximately 50% in comparison with normal levels. However, due to some relatively large schemes, income only fell by approximately 75%. The pandemic forced the surveying team to move to working from home which was achieved successfully, with new methods adopted for carrying out site inspections remotely. During the summer months, Officers had worked alongside the Health and Safety Team to develop a COVID secure site inspection regime this was still in operation now.
Members were informed that, in March 2021, building control lost three very experienced surveyors with over 100 years service between them due to retirement. A recruitment process had been embarked upon with one new recruit set to join the team in September. It was reported that the team had now also taken on a third technical apprentice who would be starting university in September. The office therefore continued to evolve and grow its own building control surveyors.
It was reported that the engineering team continued to be extremely busy looking after the infrastructure of the City and had completed the London Bridge waterproofing works on budget and on time and had also been monitoring Thames Tideway through the tunneling works that had now passed through the City and the new culvert at the bottom of the fleet. Officers were pleased to report that there had been no detrimental effects on any of the City’s structure as a result of this work. It was reported that the team continued to work with the Museum of London around Smithfield and were continuing to do a lot of the repairs to the underground structures here.
With regard to environmental resilience, the team continued to look at risks associated with climate change and had recently presented their newly proposed Riverside Strategy and, earlier in the year, their Local Flood Risk Management Strategy to the Committee. It was reported that the team continued to progress resilience projects and embed resilience through their Climate Action Strategy work.
Finally, Members were informed that the new Fire Safety Act was currently going through Parliament and that this would change how building control operated. Royal Assent was expected in Spring 2022 and Officers undertook to update the Committee on this in due course.
The Chair praised the excellent work of the Environmental Resilience Team in particular and the development of things such as the Riverside Strategy.
RESOLVED - That Members note the report.