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Building Safety Regulator signposts first step towards regulation of building control profession

25 July 2023

THE BUILDING Safety Regulator has announced two independent provider schemes for building control professionals to take the first step in becoming registered building inspectors. Registration is a key part of making building control a regulated profession.

The Building Safety Competence Foundation and the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) have been named as the first organisations to become independent competence assessors for all building control surveyors in England. The competence assessment is part of the pathway for building control professionals to become registered building inspectors.

Upwards of 4,500 practising building control professionals will need to be assessed and certified by April 2024. This will support them to become a registered building inspector. They will no longer be able to work in building control across the whole built environment in England without certification.

Registration is required by the Building Safety Act 2022. The register will open in October this year, with registration mandatory from April 2024, when building control will officially become a regulated profession.

From that date (ie April 2024), individual building control professionals, working in both the private sector and for local authorities, will need to have passed an independent competence assessment to operate and also be required to be registered on the Building Safety Regulator’s register of building inspectors. The Building Safety Regulator will provide a programme of support and guidance ahead of registration to help individuals and employers understand what they need to do to meet the requirements, as well as how to register.

Building Inspector Competence Framework

As part of the Building Safety Regulator’s approved independent competence assessment schemes, candidates will be evaluated against the Building Inspector Competence Framework Classes 2-4 every four years. Assessments include interview and examination pathways and Continuing Professional Development.

The Building Inspector Competence Framework focuses squarely on the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours expected of registered building inspectors. It’s split into nine interrelated subject areas, which broadly cover technical competence, the competent application of knowledge and understanding in core building inspection functions and activities and also management competence.

Dr Gavin Dunn, CEO at the CABE, said: “Building control professionals have a vital role to play in helping to deliver buildings that are safe, sustainable and accessible to all. CABE is delighted to be able to play its part in supporting professionals to demonstrate their competence and develop a culture of continuous improvement that will help protect the public interest in the long-term.”

Dunn added: “We do not underestimate the scale of the challenge in making sure the building control profession is ready by the April 2024 deadline. It’s a huge undertaking, and we are in constant talks with relevant organisations to make this transition as smooth as possible.”

Lorna Stimpson, CEO at the Building Safety Competence Foundation, observed: “Dame Judith Hackitt asked the industry for change. She asked for a change of mindset to reprioritise safety, a change of culture and the introduction of measurable competence. Dame Judith challenged industry and, in particular, building control to ‘get on with it and don’t wait to be told what to do’.”

Stimpson went on to state: “The Building Safety Competence Foundation scheme, which is developed in accordance with the requirements of ISO 17024 and audited and accredited by UKAS, is a robust, impartial and unbiased competency assessment which assesses a building control professional’s individual skills, knowledge, ethics and behaviours. The Building Safety Competence Foundation’s model reflects the changes Dame Judith has called for and the change our communities deserve. It puts people’s safety first and holds everyone – including service users, senior managers and insurers – up to scrutiny.”

Further, Stimpson noted: “We are delighted to have received approval from the Building Safety Regulator to provide independent competence assessments for building control surveyors in England. We’ve been impressed by the rigour of the Building Safety Regulator’s process for acceptance which holds true to Dame Judith’s vision of safety above all else, and we’re now actively encouraging building control professionals to prove their competence and make their application for registration.”

Pivotal moment

Philip White, director of building safety at the Health and Safety Executive (the home of the Building Safety Regulator), explained: “This is a pivotal moment for the building control profession. It will enable individual building control professionals to have independent recognition of their years of investment in their skills, knowledge and experience. It’s also another important step on the path towards rebuilding confidence in the profession post-Grenfell.”

White concluded: “Our advice to those working in building control is to embrace this positive and important change and begin the process early to avoid ending up in a queue.”

Making building control a regulated profession that’s required to demonstrate its competency to the Building Safety Regulator is part of the legacy of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It’s also a crucial component in the Building Safety Regulator’s own work in assuring members of the public that buildings are designed, built and maintained on a safe basis.