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14 March 2019
Since the Industry Response Group introduced the Steering Group on Competencies in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, the associations involved have been working hard on creating a competency framework.
The competency steering group was introduced following the publication of ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report’ (Hackitt Review) in May 2018.
Martin Duggan, FIA general manager and a Secretary of the WG2 group commented, “The FIA are involved in three of the 12 working groups, which directly affect our members.
“I’m the secretary of ‘Working Group 2 (WG2) – Installers’ and we have representatives in the Fire Engineering (WG3) and Fire Risk Assessment (WG4) working groups. Each working group has a Lead/a chairperson/a secretary who make up the over aching Competency Steering Group (CSG).”
WG2 is led jointly by Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation, who are working on a comprehensive framework of competencies for those installing fire safety and other safety-critical systems.
All the groups are looking at ‘what looks good’ for competency in their relevant sectors and, in WG2, third-party certification backed up with qualifications for the individuals, as well as the use of a CSCS card, have been championed.
Martin explains, “We have also been talking about a minimum ‘Fire Safe Building – core knowledge’ (don’t knock big holes in walls and use proper fire stopping to fill any breaches in fire compartment walls, as an example).”
The government are looking specifically at Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRB’s) and any legislation is likely to apply to this type of building first.
However, with all the working groups proposing competencies relevant to all buildings, it may be the closest the industry has ever got to making third-party certification mandatory.
At the very least, Martin says, “we should get an agreed definition of competency from Government with only those able to demonstrate that they meet this level of competency being allowed to work on HRRB’s.
“This would be a great start, signalling to the construction industry the type of companies they should be working with on all projects”.
The proposal currently being put together by WG2 will be submitted, via CSG, for governmental review in April 2019.