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IFE named first licensee of higher-risk building registration under fire engineering discipline

13 November 2023

GLOBAL MEMBERSHIP body the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) has become the first licensee authorised for the Fire Engineering Discipline Annex of the new UK-SPEC Higher-Risk Buildings registration standard.

The IFE is the first professional engineering institution to secure a licence for registering engineers and technicians rigorously evaluated against The Engineering Council’s new UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment: Higher-Risk Buildings (UK-SPEC HRB). This significant process is due to be launched in the early stages of next year and represents a huge step forward in raising safety and competency standards in the built environment industry.

Following on from Dame Judith Hackitt’s all-important study, numerous groups in the built environment sector joined forces to form the Competence Steering Group. This initiative aims to address and implement industry competency recommendations.

To date, the Competence Steering Group has published two major findings across the years – ‘Raising the Bar’ (2018) and ‘Setting the Bar’ (2020) which jointly influenced the Building Safety Act 2022. Following its advocacy for context-specific standards, the Steering Group then advocated for the framework to apply to all building trades and professions.

The UK-SPEC HRB specifies the competencies and commitments expected of engineers and technicians working in the built environment, particularly so on higher-risk buildings. The standard, which is specifically matched to professionals involved in various elements of building work (such as design, construction, maintenance and operations) also incorporates critical building safety criteria including fire safety, structural safety and public health.

Driving professional competency

IFE CEO Steve Hamm believes this latest development is a vital next step in the display of competency.

“I’m so pleased to witness the IFE become the first licensee to register individuals against the Fire Engineering Annex of the UK-SPEC HRB standard. Many will know that the IFE is steadfast in its endeavours to drive professional competency. This is another step on the ladder towards a safer future across the built environment.”

Home to nearly 12,000 fire professionals across the globe, the IFE is showcasing its dedication to ensuring its reviewing committee is well-versed in the new UK SPEC HRB Fire Engineering Annex.

Following successful completion of this training, the IFE intends to expand this registration option to its larger pool of registrants. The inaugural applicant pool is currently completing applications in advance of registrations.

Paul Bailey, CEO at The Engineering Council, observed: “This is an important step forward in the fire sector and for the engineering industry more widely. Assuring the public that those engineers and technicians working on higher-risk buildings have the requisite competences and commitment is a crucial outcome of Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘Building a Safer Future’ report and the subsequent publication of the Building Safety Act 2022. We’re delighted to be working with the IFE on this important activity.”

Clearly, showcasing excellence in fire engineering and safety in the built environment is now more important than ever.

*Further updates on registration details will be released in the New Year via the IFE’s regular communication channels. In the meantime, additional detail is available online at www.ife.org.uk