Industry sets out post-Grenfell blueprint

The 200 people who logged in for a web stream of the annual Worshipful Company of Plumbers Autumn Lecture were urged to step up efforts to improve water efficiency because the government is focused on COVID-19 and Brexit.

The CIPHE-backed proposals created by a cross-industry group have been finalised and shared with the government.

More than 150 organisations in the fire and built environment industries have backed an overarching system of competence based on four key elements:

• a new competence committee sitting within the new Building Safety Regulator

• a national suite of competence standards – including new sector-specific frameworks developed by 12 Working Groups (CIPHE assisted with Working Group 1)

• arrangements for independent assessment and reassessment against the competence standards

• a mechanism to ensure that those assessing and certifying people against the standards have appropriate levels of oversight

The document also contained these significant recommendations:

Recommendation 1: A new committee for competence.

A strategic, industry-led building safety competence committee should be created comprising representatives of relevant industry bodies, independent experts, building owners and Government. The committee should be appointed or designated by the Building Safety Regulator to:

• raise competence by working with and challenging professional and trade bodies to drive gap-filling

• promote the equivalence of accreditation or licensing systems

• issue guidance to dutyholders and the Regulator on selecting competent people

• provide a space for industry to continue to work collaboratively to drive competence more widely

Recommendation 5: Mandate continuing professional development.

Levels of competence should be maintained and subject to continuing professional development. Common principles of CPD should be established for each sector, which the building safety competence committee should use to hold sectors to account.

Recommendation 11: Adopt the sectoral competence frameworks.

The competence frameworks proposed by each working group (WG1-WG12) should be adopted as the basis for assessing the competence of those in the profession/trade covered by the framework who work on higher-risk buildings. Professional and trade bodies are expected to develop and maintain their sector-specific or discipline competence frameworks.

Recommendation 13: Professional bodies should maintain registers of competent individuals.

Professional and trade bodies that assess and reassess members against a sector specific competence framework for higher-risk buildings are expected to maintain a register of those individuals certified under their scheme.

Recommendation 16: Mandatory registration/certification.

Wherever appropriate, Government should mandate persons working on higher-risk buildings to be registered/certified by a recognised professional/certification body.

Recommendation 25: Recognise professional engineers.

Professional engineers (individuals who are members of a Professional Engineering Institution licensed by the Engineering Council) should be recognised as a means of providing assurance of relevant competence.

Recommendation 54: Professional body membership mandatory.

That all project managers in this field must be members of a recognised professional body (or equivalent).

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