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Code of Practice for Inspections (October 2002)


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Code of Practice for Inspections - Section 2.4.2

Date Submitted: Tuesday 11 November, 2003

Question:

The 2nd Edition of the Inspections Code of Practice was introduced in September last year, and is designed to operate on the assumption that all notices are sent in consecutive order ( as per Appendix C of the Code). In reality, many notices for defective reinstatements are not issued due to human error or custom and practice, resulting in the Highway Authority having no notification of either the Joint Inspection arrangement or "Works in Progress" second stage inspections. No physical inspection at Stage 2 will then take place unless a chance visit by the inspector occurs as works are underway.


Clause 2.4.2 of the Code emphasises that payment may only be claimed for inspections actually carried out, so Highway Authorities will be out of pocket if an undertaker chooses not to inform them of their right of inspection, as well as the additional issue of specification compliance having not been observed during remedial works.

It is undesirable to put workarounds in place to support such a newly implemented Code of Practice but in practical terms it is felt that all undertakers and highway authorities must follow an agreed policy to avoid a multiplicity of agreements being made throughout the country. This is even more important for those companies with national network coverage.

Hence, "Prosecution" under the Act is the ONLY allowable disciplinary measure for any non-compliance with the requirement to send notices for defect stage inspections. However, it is thought that both HA and Utility sides would not wish to pursue this course of action except in extreme cases.

Answer:

As stated in the query, Section 2.4.2 emphasises that payment can only be claimed for defect inspections that are actually undertaken. The Code only allows payment to be made for work undertaken and this is the reasoning behind this statement. The Working Party is not allowed to levy charges as penalty payments, that would require additional legislation. You will note the Code does not advise what payments should be made for Defect Inspections, as that is the role of the Fees Group and HAUC UK.

It is noted that it has not been custom or practice to necessarily issue the appropriate notices for defective reinstatements. The Code of Practice cannot address issues where both parties are failing to follow the process. As to human error, again the Code cannot address such issues. If a Utility is repeatedly not sending the due notices, then the only solution may be to prosecute.

Additionally it should be noted that Section 4.2.2 (vi), allows the Street Authority to claim the appropriate fee if the Utility has failed to notify them of remedial works.

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