Data from 85 councils show they employed 707 building control staff in December 2010, and 513 in December 2020. Scaled across the country this would account for 1,400 roles being removed. One council has gone from 10 inspectors to two.
It appears some councils have struggled to balance the books since a requirement to make services self-funding was introduced in 2010. Others have entered into shared service arrangements and some have fully outsourced to the private sector.
This of course comes as we face an unprecedented building safety crisis and raises the question: have cuts to the number of inspectors contributed to the number of unsafe buildings? My considered answer is maybe, a bit.
Lots of buildings are unsafe because regulations were defective. Hire as many inspectors as you like and with broken rules you will still get broken buildings. In others the cause is probably marketing which hushed up the true fire risk of the materials
But there is no doubt that with fewer inspectors you get fewer inspections, a greater likelihood of mistakes and a greater inclination to take the contractor at their word to simply get the job done. There are many buildings that should never have been signed off, but were.
Some of these were signed off by private inspectors, but a not insubstantial proportion were signed off by councils. It is fair to ask the question, would they have been if we hadn't let so many roles go?
You can follow @PeteApps.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: