Why Does Competency Matter According to The Building Safety Act?
The Building Safety Act has named HSE as the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) in England. One of its key functions is to encourage the built environment industry and building control professionals to improve their competence.
In this article, we’ll look at why competency matters according to the Building Safety Act and also explain specific changes that will occur now the Act has come into effect.
The Introduction of the Industry Competency Committee
Competency has been a challenge for the building industry in the past. The Hackitt Review described a fragmented industry of competing competency frameworks, making it difficult for installers to understand how to achieve good quality work.
The report also states there needs to be a cultural change in the industry — where individuals in technical and craft groups become more self-aware, honest about their own competencies and don’t feel ashamed to ask for training when needed.
To make this happen, the BSR has introduced an Industry Competency Committee. Their role will be to monitor and improve industry competence. This will be done by regularly publishing guidance and advice available to the industry.
Organisations must have appropriate management systems, processes, policies and resources. It’ll also be the role of the Industry Competency Committee to monitor this and ensure everyone is meeting the expectations set out in the Golden Thread of Information.
It’s also crucial that contractors recognise their role in supporting the upskilling of all groups, with particular support for craft groups.
New BSI standards were also recently published to set out competence requirements for building safety management. Read on to find out what these are.
The Latest BSI Competency Standards
The new BSI standards — also known as PASs — are designed to guarantee that occupants can have confidence in their buildings and ensure building professionals remain competent. These standards include:
The Principal Designers Specification specifies competence thresholds that individuals are expected to meet when delivering or managing the duty holder functions of the Principal Designer. This also includes additional competencies for working on higher-risk buildings.
Areas of competence include appropriate behaviour, management of design work compliance, legislative and regulatory framework for compliance and technical framework for compliance.
The framework for the competence of individual Principal Contractors specifies competence requirements for the duty holder role of Principal Contractor. It also describes specific competencies common to all Principal Contractors and those additional for those undertaking the role on higher-risk buildings.
The framework covers roles and responsibilities, additional competencies for higher-risk buildings, skills, knowledge and experience, behaviours and ethics, and limits of competence.
PAS 8673:2022 is related to the requirements for safety management in residential buildings. It specifies competence requirements for managing safety in residential buildings and other developments incorporating residential accommodation.
It also gives guidance on detailed competencies and the assessment of competence.
The standards cover competence and commitment regarding building structures and building systems. This includes building services, operational practices necessary to maintain buildings safe for occupants, the interaction of systems and components, risk management, managing the golden thread of information, leadership, communication and planning skills.
Competency is just one important factor of the Building Safety Act. To ensure you meet your responsibilities, we have created a checklist covering everything you need to know.
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