The new Head of the Building Safety Regulator, Peter Baker, has been speaking about the role of the new regulator and the work underway to improve safety and competence standards in the industry.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, and following recommendations in the “Building a Safer Future” report by Dame Judith Hackitt, the government asked the HSE to establish a new building safety regulator. It was this initial report that identified what changes were necessary in the sector and recognised ECS as an exemplar for personnel certification when identifying competence in the workforce.
The new regulator will oversee safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings. It will be independent and give advice to local regulators, landlords and building owners, the construction and design industry, and residents.
The Building Safety Regulator will promote competence among industry professionals and regulators to raise standards in design, construction and the management of buildings. Peter Baker, who was the HSE’s director of building safety and construction, has recently taken up the post as Chief Inspector of Buildings. The Building Safety Bill, which gives power to this new regulator, is likely to take between 18 months and two years to pass into law.
Alongside this, as part of the work on Setting the Bar on competence, 13 working groups were set up, which included Working Group 2 (WG2) for Installers on which the JIB was represented for ECS disciplines. The JIB has been contributing to this work on WG2 and the recommendations of minimum qualification levels for skilled and competent operatives to a Level 3 (as has been the industry standard within ECS for over 20 years), CSCS or partner scheme cards, greater continuing professional development (CPD) and fire safety knowledge in buildings, along with third party certification of the company. Again, ECS is recognised as a necessary element of this competence framework to recognise the standards met by the individuals for their training and qualifications, assessments, heath, safety and environmental awareness, identification, and elements such as CPD recognised within the scheme.
The JIB will continue to contribute to this industry drive to raise standards through Working Group 2, development of the new British Standards on individual competence (BSI Flex 8670), through the Construction Leadership Council Competence stream and directly into Government and the relevant departments.
Greater digitalisation of personnel certification will play a crucial part of the steps necessary for clients, main contractors and others to assess and identify competence within their supply chain. To find out more about the digital solutions already available for ECS cardholders, have a look at the free-to-access ECS Check system for Clients and the Supply Chain and how more than 450 organisations have already signed up for this valuable service.