BSI publishes competence requirements for newly regulated roles to support building safety
09 August 2022
THE BRITISH Standards Institution (BSI) has published three new standards – sponsored by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – which set out competence requirements for building safety management including the roles of principal designer and principal contractor.
The standards support industry reform, in line with the new Building Safety Act 2022, and are intended to minimise safety risks while also improving protection for consumers and occupants – including residents – in and around buildings.
People have the right to expect that buildings and their immediate environment are designed, built and maintained in a safe way. Occupants need to have confidence and trust in the people responsible for ensuring that their interests are properly considered and that safety is a priority. The competence of all who provide services and products throughout the life of a building is key to achieving this goal.
The following three new standards have been published based on the core competence criteria set out in BSI Flex 8670 v3.0:
Built environment: Framework for the Competence of Individual Principal Designers – Specification. This specifies competence thresholds that individuals are expected to meet when delivering or managing the duty holder functions of the principal designer, as well as additional competencies for working on higher-risk buildings. Areas of competence include appropriate behaviour, the legislative and regulatory framework for compliance, the management of design work compliance and technical frameworks for compliance.
Built environment: Framework for the Competence of Individual Principal Contractors – Specification. This specifies competence requirements for the duty holder role of principal contractor. It also describes specific competences common to all principal contractors and those which are additional for individuals undertaking the role on higher-risk buildings. It covers roles and responsibilities, skills, knowledge and experience, behaviours and ethics, additional competences for higher-risk buildings and the limits of competence.
Built environment: Competence Requirements for the Management of Safety in Residential Buildings – Specification. Specifies competence requirements for managing safety in residential buildings and other developments incorporating residential accommodation. It also gives guidance on detailed competences and the assessment of competence. It covers competence and commitment in regard to building structures and building systems, including building services, the interaction of systems and components; operational practices necessary to maintain buildings safe for occupants, risk management, managing the ‘golden thread’ of information (including other digital information), managing change (including the consequences of human behaviour), leadership, communication and planning skills and personal commitment to ethical behaviour and professional standards.
Built Environment Competence Standards
Scott Steedman, director general of standards at the BSI, explained: “We are delighted to announce the launch of these three new standards, which are published as part of the BSI’s Built Environment Competence Standards programme to provide an agreed and common approach for industry to embed building safety competence for design, construction and building management at a senior level. This is a major step forward and has the potential to support real change in the industry understanding of building safety in the years and decades ahead.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities added: “For people to feel safe in their homes, they must absolutely trust those responsible for building them. These new requirements support our mission to drive better building safety standards across the construction industry, together with the tough new regulatory regime we introduced in the Building Safety Act.”
The spokesperson added: “We’re pleased to see industry taking action to improve competence beyond its legal obligations, which is key to rebuilding confidence in the sector.”
*The Publicly Available Specifications are published as part of the Government-funded Built Environment Competence Programme. They have been developed by three Steering Groups (see below) comprising high-level built environment professionals. Download the standards online
Built Environment Competence Programme
The Built Environment Competence Programme aims to tackle the competence shortcomings identified in the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety conducted by Dame Judith Hackitt. It’s part of the package of measures recommended by the Steering Group on Competence for Building a Safer Future and set out in ‘Raising the Bar’.
The Government-funded programme supports the delivery of regulatory policy and the new regulated roles responsible for building safety set out in the Building Safety Act 2022, while also enabling the large-scale industry-led programme to raise competency across the sector.
*Further information is available online at https://www.bsigroup.com/built-environment-competence-standards-uk
The Steering Groups are as follows:
AECOM, Allies and Morrison, the Architects Registration Board, the Association for Project Safety, the Chartered Institute for Architectural Technologists, the Chartered Institute of Building, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Edinburgh Napier University, the Health and Safety Executive, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Institution of Structural Engineers, Local Authority Building Control, the L&Q Group, the National Fire Chiefs Council, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (Northern Ireland).
British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the Chartered Institute of Building, the Construction Industry Training Board, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, The Engineering Council, the Federation of Master Builders, the Fire Sector Federation, the Health and Safety Executive, the Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate, the Kier Group, Loughborough University, the Royal Institute of British Architects, Sir Robert McAlpine, Vistry Partnerships and the Wates Group.
The Association of Residential Managing Agents, the British Property Federation, the Chartered Institute of Building, the Construction Products Association, the Consumer and Public Interest Network, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, The Engineering Council, the Health and Safety Executive, the Institute of Residential Property Management, the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Local Government Association, the National Fire Chiefs Council, the National Housing Federation and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.