Industry urged to adopt new competence practices in new report

A report from CIC's Competence Steering Group (CSG) urges industry to embrace new standards and frameworks.

The CSG, the cross-sector group charged with raising standards for those working in safety-critical occupations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, is urging companies and individuals to adopt new competence practices and measures for a safer built environment.

The report – A Higher Bar - Achieving a Competence-led Built Environment – sets out the significant steps being made across the built environment and fire sectors in improving skills, knowledge and behaviours to drive culture change and improve the safety of buildings.

This recent publication is the final report in a series of three that also sets out the next steps for the CSG as it looks to accelerate the roll out of the new competence requirements and systems across the built environment workforce.

Professor Sam Allwinkle PPBIAT FCIAT,  Chair of the CSG's Working Group 7 - Design said: "While this report provides a position statement and pointers for future direction of travel for competency, it also recognises the industry needs to challenge, change and accelerate the pace of adaption and adoption to address the issue relating to improvement of public confidence in the sector.

"It will be seven years since the Grenfell Tower fire and the final report on the second phase of the public inquiry is still to be published. It is only recently that the regulations relating to competency have come into force and the slow pace of government and inertia of the construction industry has restricted progress to date.

"As indicated in this report, £13 million has been expended from non-government funds to get this far and one can only hope that the CSG, that has now moved to be under the umbrella of HSE, can influence and accelerate the implementation of competency frameworks and standards for the various roles and functions to improve building performance for users and occupants.

"Like climate change, cultural change needs action now as the status quo is not an option."

Chair of the CSG and CIC Chief Executive Graham Watts said: “We have laid the foundations of a new infrastructure for skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours. Coupled with strong legislation and enforcement, these new standards, frameworks and assessments, which have been developed by industry for industry, should help move us to a higher level.

He added: “There is still a long way to go. As we move into the implementation phase it is incumbent on those working in all professions and trades in life-critical disciplines to attain these higher levels of competence. Only then can we rebuild the trust of those who occupy and live in the buildings we design, construct and manage.”

Going forward, the CSG is to become an independent sub-group of the Building Safety Regulator’s Industry Competence Committee and will be renamed as the Industry Competence Steering Committee (ICSG).

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