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Proposals to improve industry competence and deliver safer buildingsAugust 2019

An interim report on higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs) containing a radical wide-ranging set of measures has been released by the Competence Steering Group (CSG), a cross industry body backed by Government, the Industry Safety Steering Group and Dame Judith Hackett for consultation.

Following the tragic events of Grenfell, it became all too apparent that change was required with the construction industry. In this interim report Raising the Bar, the CSG is calling for all life–safety critical disciplines working on HRRBs, including designers, engineers, building standards officers, site supervisors, fire safety supervisors, fire safety enforcement officers and fire risk officials to adopt the measures.

Following Dame Judith Hackett’s original review, Building a Safer Future, which raised concerns over the lack of consistency and rigour in the processes and standards for assuring the skills, knowledge and behaviours of those working on HRRBs, the CSG and its working groups have developed competence frameworks setting out the appropriate knowledge, qualifications, and skill sets required for individuals working on HRRBs, how they should be assessed and by whom.

In addition, Raising the Bar calls for:

  • A new oversight body – the Building Safety Competence Committee – which will monitor assessment processes, draw up a central register of duty holders eligible to work on HRRB’s and continually drive improvements across the sector
  • Government to mandate individuals working on HRRBs to be registered/certified by recognised professional/or certified body
  • All organisations, including professional bodies, carrying out the assessments and reassessments of an individual competence should themselves be subject to rigorous system of oversight by a body such as UKAS or the Engineering Council
  • The building safety regulator to hold and maintain a register of those qualified to perform the key roles with the advice of the Building Safety Competence Committee and additionally to provide sign-posting to registers which should be held by the professional and trade bodies of those qualified and competent to work on HRRBs
  • The period of reassessment to be no less than every five years
  • Common principles of continuing professional development (CPD) to be established for each sector, which the Building Safety Competence Committee should use to hold sectors to account
  • Fire safety CPD materials to explain basic fire science to be available to anyone working on HRRBs or managing occupied HRRBs

The Raising the Bar Interim Report, Executive Summary and accompanying Annexes can be downloaded from the Construction Industry Council website.

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