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I would be grateful for your advice on the interpretation of the Code of Practice for Inspections as it applies to the agreement and inspection of street works defects.
The Code requires the undertaker to contact the Highway Authority by the end of the next working day following notification of a defect to arrange a site meeting. The meeting should be within 10 days and is to agree the defect.
If the undertaker fails to contact us but sends a proposed remedial notice with a date for the works can we charge the £40 D1? (Case A)
If the undertaker fails to contact us or send a proposed remedial notice and we inspect the site after 10 days and 17 days what can we charge for? (Case B)
If the undertaker fails to contact us at all but the defect is rectified what can we charge? (Case C)
We have been attempting to charge D1 D2 and D3 in Case A, assuming that we attend at the date and time stated for the D2 irrespective of whether the undertaker is present.
In Case B we have been attempting to charge D1 and D2 and after 17 days a repeat £20 inspection fee, repeating the whole process every 17 days until we get a response. In this situation is a new D1 joint inspection required after 17 days even if the undertaker has agreed the defect originally but has done nothing since?
In Case C we attempt to charge D1 D2 and D3 on the grounds that we have not been given the opportunity to inspect jointly at any stage.
Additionally with the D1 if we get a response to the defect notification but the utility doesn't want to attend a site meeting, can we charge the £40 D1 on the grounds that we want a meeting (and £40)?
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.