Expertcentre Regulations in Building (ERB)

The Dutch Expertcenter Regulations in Building (ERB) foundation did develop in the past ten years into the one centre of expertise for all questions relating to technical building regulations and provisions in the Netherlands. On a daily basis parties confronted with difficulties interpreting the regulations are supported in their work. ERB contributes actively to the improvement and innovation of the regulatory system as well as the technical regulations themselves.

The range of services provided remained stable despite the transition in the Dutch real-estate sector:

Our clients

The clientbase of the ERB includes architects, structural engineers, municipalities, the regulator, construction companies, fire brigade experts, project developers, directors and representatives of owners’ and tenants’ associations, sector-based associations, publishers, law firms, knowledge transfer companies etc.

Our experts

The ERB collaborates with a network of often independent experts whose expertise matches the demand of ERB’s client body.
In addition to the construction regulations in general, our experts provide the very best expertise in the fields of legislation and content of regulations related to the construction sector, like structural safety, fire safety, the conservation of monuments and historic buildings, safety during building process, energy-saving, integrated risk evaluation, explosion safety, sustainability, ventilation and air quality, light and lighting, working conditions and human behaviour, enforcement, Declarations of compliance, official standards in the Netherlands, EU Regulations and harmonised standards, etc.
In view of the fact that the services are provided under the auspices of the ERB itself, and do not constitute an individual opinion or interpretation by a given, individual expert, the ERB exercises its discretion when it comes to publishing the names of the individual experts involved. The explanation and interpretation provided, which will also include mediation if the parties choose not to have recourse to the administrative court, must not damage the reputation of the individual expert involved.

Equivalence and compliance

The extensive and in-depth (scientific) knowledge of the experts, coupled with the network of high-quality specialists of which the experts form part, means that the ERB is by far the most suitable organisation when it comes to issuing Declarations of Equivalence, Product Properties and Compliance within the context of product and process innovation. The advanced technical building regulations that apply in the Netherlands provide unique opportunities in this respect.
Over the years the ERB issued a large number of statements, both with regard to its Question and Answer activities, as well as with regard to the issuing of declarations relating to equivalence. In many cases, its work concerned issues of fire safety. The ERB publishes formal declarations in its own format on the website supporting companies in their innovative efforts.

The knowledge platform

The original website of the ERB was launched February 2005. Starting 2013 a completely renewed portal was introduced, fronting an advanced full-text database. It contains details of the modus operandi of the foundation and access to the various databases is provided. The address of the site is www.bouwregelwerk.org and the e-mail address info@bouwregelwerk.org.
The database grew to more than1000 questions and answers. The website lists about 1200 registered users and is growing.
The background documentation relating to the 1992 Building Decree, the 2003 Building Decree en the 2012 Building Decree (this plays an important role in the preparation of declarations of equivalence and resolving differences in interpretation) has developed into a database of hundreds of entries that can be consulted by experts and other interested parties and is published on-line under the name of Motievenbank.
The databases are freely accessible for the registered users. The reputation of the News-section of the website increases as can be seen from the average of 700 visitors per month and the replication/retweeting of our original news items on other websites active in the sector.

The idea is that the website increasingly is fulfilling the role of a collective memory that expands and reinforces knowledge of the building regulations.

A vision with regard to the functionality of the building regulations

The primary focus of the ERB is to explain the current regulations and to share knowledge relating to them. The specific experience that the ERB has therefore gained in this way has enabled it to acquire an acute awareness of the development and improvement potential of those regulations and of the way in which they are enforced. Starting 2009 ERB published "Vertrouwen en Betrouwbaarheid Part I [Confidence and Reliability] presenting an analysis of the functionality of and practical problems pertaining to the regulatory system. Susequently was Part II published in September 2010. The ERB developed in collaboration with many experts a plan for innovation of the system of regulations and its enforcement. This plan was handed to the Minister responsible in December 2010.

Quick-scan

This led in 2011 to the formal government commission to perform a so called quick scan of a fundamental review of the system based on the proposals presented in Part II. End 2011 the report was submitted to the Parliament. The Parliament discussed end of December 2012 this plan with the Minister. Further studies and discussions followed in 2013 leading to a policy letter by the Minister to the Parliament in december.

Accepted technical solutions

Upon suggestion of the parliament the Ministry commissioned ERB mid 2013 to develop further in cooperation with RIGO (an R&D collegue), STABU (Standard Specifications Institute) end NEN ( National Standards Institute) an important element in the plan.
November 2013 the report: “Quick-scan of the development of accepted technical solutions, complying to the Building Decree 2012, for 80% of practical situations” was delivered.

Relationship with the various parties and enforcement authorities

The ERB maintains a good relationship with a number of larger and smaller municipalities as well as with organisations in the field of construction, the Association of Municipalities, the National and International organisations regarding construction safety Consortium of European Building Control-CEBC and Dutch central civil engineering platform COBc. The contacts with the association of enforcement officials BWT and the Fire Brigade are currently reflected in the collaboration that exists between them and the ERB regarding the innovation of the regulatory system.
Whenever the need arises, the ERB’s involvement is sought whenever difficult projects are being undertaken or capacity issues exist.
Regarding the Dutch Standards Institute and the bodies responsible for the quality assurance system in the Netherlands the ERB supports them on a regular basis to ensure the technical fit between their regulatory documents and the building regulations proper.

Education, research and development

Regulations should follow societal developments and may not constitute impediments for the collaborating parties in construction. A simple call for abolition of regulations is not effective and does not diminish the regulatory burden as is the purpose of deregulation. As indicated above, the ERB is constantly investing in acquiring support for the ideas set out in her innovation proposals and as such in the fundamental review of the system.

The ERB is involved in Fire Safety Engineering courses, Post-academic on Acoustics, on implementation of Eurocodes and NEN 8700, as well as in various courses organised by the Concrete and/or Steel associations. Guest lectures and in company training happen regularly.

Publicity, publications and articles

The website offers yearly collections of the many articles and publications that have been presented. The ERB is participating and actively contributing in international conferences
A collection of all English language publications is available.

The Board

The executive Board consists of R.(Rob) J. Wijnands, BE , Chair, G.(Ger) M.A. Kusters, MSc. Vice-Chair, P.C. (Piet) van Staalduinen, MSc. Secretary/Treasurer.
Leading Expert and advisor to the Board is Dr.N.(Nico) M.P. Scholten, PhD.

Contact

Secretary ERB

Mrs. E.J. (Jolanda) Borsboom

Van der Burghweg 1C
2628 CS Delft (Netherlands)
Email: info@bouwregelwerk.org

Tel: +31 15 2565 219
Fax: +31 15 261 70 10
CoC Haaglanden 27274620
VAT NL 841.29.225.B01

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