News | 23 September 2019

Help to raise the bar in building safety

The body responsible for industry’s response to the competence failings identified in the Hackitt Review, ‘Building a Safer Future’, has published its interim report, ‘Raising the Bar’, as a consultation exercise.

Under the leadership of the Industry Response Group Steering Group on Competence (CSG), more than 150 bodies and organisations across the construction and fire sectors have worked together for over 12 months on radical and wide-ranging proposals to raise competence and make buildings safer. 

‘Raising the Bar’ sets out suggested competence frameworks to codify the appropriate knowledge, experience, behaviours and skill sets required for individuals who design, construct, inspect, maintain and operate higher-risk residential buildings (although the report suggests widening the safety regime to other building types). If implemented, the measures will bring about a major culture and skills change in the industry with a much more rigorous approach to training, assessment, third-party accreditation and oversight; all of which will have cost and resource implications.

Through the contributions of our members, volunteers, the Life Safety Working Group (LSWG) and participation in the CSG’s working group 8 (WG8) on competence for the new statutory role of building safety manager (a first for the workplace and FM profession), IWFM has made a significant contribution to this report, also providing the Secretariat to WG8 and taking part in two consultative conferences on 30 September and 18 October.

We’re asking members to take part in the consultation, in particular the recommendations on the building safety manager role (see pages 93-102). Our LSWG members have also taken part in the working groups looking at site supervisors (see pages 103-108) and project managers (see pages 109-115). 

The report’s proposals will require Government support for implementation. The Secretary of State has indicated that it wants to legislate as soon as possible to implement building safety reforms and, to underline this commitment, the Chancellor recently awarded an additional £23m to the Building Safety Programme in his Spending Round. The scope and ambition of the proposed measures go to the heart of everything the sector does and will require a substantially higher budget if one of the biggest shake-ups the industry has ever seen succeeds in its aim of ensuring that a disaster such as Grenfell can never happen again. 

The Raising the Bar consultation closes on 18 October 2019.  

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