Upper House decision made: Environment Act from 1 January 2024May 8, 2023
Just 8 months to go until the Wkb launch!
After six postponements, the market held its breath for the Upper House decision of 14 March on the Environment Act’s effective date. To the relief of many in building and infra, the House decided to set the effective date as 1 January 2024 (41 votes in favour and 29 against). This means that the Building Quality Assurance Act (Wkb) will then enter into force immediately.
The positive decision means that actions initiated under the Wkb will be swiftly initiated. The building chain realises that this is now about to happen. Everyone, from client, developer/prescriber, builder, municipality to quality assurance body must work according to the Wkb in Consequence Class 1 from the effective date. Those who are not yet sufficiently prepared still have 9 months to get up to speed!
To encourage pilot projects, clients can receive financial compensation from the Incentive Scheme for Pilot Projects (STIPP), for hiring a quality assurer and for builder’s fees. Moreover, many municipalities provide fee discounts for Wkb pilot projects. So the motto is: get started right away!
What does the decision mean for KOMO?
Ton Jans, director of KOMO and KiK, is visibly relieved: “We needed this decision. It provides the long-awaited clarity the market and competent authority required for so long. Recently, we noticed that parties were putting the brakes on for a number of reasons. Nevertheless, you will now see people getting fully mobilised.”
“In recent years, we have developed and organised many things within the Wkb framework,” stresses Ton Jans. “The KOMO certificate has stood for demonstrable quality for decades. However, demonstrable quality takes on additional meaning under the Wkb. The new legislation focuses on the quality of the completed building work. We are responding to this with the KOMO Wkb Process Certificate. With an ‘as-built’ label we put the finishing touches to the ordinary KOMO Process Certificate.”
“We help the KOMO certificate holder by including certificates in the KiK Tool. Existing certificates contribute to risk reduction during building. This allows quality assurers to reduce their assurance efforts and costs go down accordingly. At the same time, the certificate helps the builder with the required burden of proof.”
“Last but not least, we are working with other certification scheme providers to value certificates on the Wkb Performance Ladder. The Wkb performance ladder, developed on the initiative of the Netherlands Quality Assurance Association (VKBN), is a powerful tool for quality assurance. Using the Wkb performance ladder, valuation of quality schemes is performed in the same way, independent of instruments, as risk management measures, even if they differ from each other. The ladder can be used by every Wkb instrument and every quality assurer as a ‘reading guide’, so that every quality assurance body in the Netherlands can deal with quality schemes in the same way. And additionally, can assign the same value to quality statements with the aim of reducing the risk of building work errors.
The Wkb performance ladder will be linked to the KiK Tool, making the position on the ladder and the underlying quality data automatically available to the quality assurance body.”
Important role for standards and digitalisation
A current topic is digital collaboration in the building chain. KiK and KOMO also participate in this. Ton Jans explains. “We focus on the value of standards and data in general but also within the context of the Digital System for the Built Environment, DSGO.
This is why we will sign the Digi Agreement on 23 March during the Chain Standard Congress 2023. In this agreement, chain partners agree to work together to achieve accelerated digitisation and chain optimisation in the built environment. We see KiK and KOMO as significant in this. Both KOMO and KiK have access to data relevant to the entire building chain. We see future opportunities. You could think here in terms of data sharing for building management systems, object inventory, disassembly and reuse. Of course all in a safe and reliable way.”