The establishment of the Building Safety Act (2022) brings the introduction of clear accountability and statutory responsibilities for accountable persons.
Professionals working on higher-risk buildings (HRB) with dutyholding responsibilities – including clients, principal contractors, principal designers and those with maintenance responsibilities – must now demonstrate their competence to undertake their roles under the act. Clients now have the responsibility of proving they understand their obligations and ensuring the professionals they hire are competent.
This changes the focus to the individual to prove competence. With the introduction of the Engineering Council’s HRB process, CABE is in a position to support professionals to demonstrate their competence to work on buildings in the scope of the Act.
With other professional engineering institutions (PEIs), CABE has worked with the Engineering Council to develop the UK-SPEC HRB Standard. It becomes the first PEI awarded a licence to offer Engineering Council HRB registration.
Applicants for Engineering Council HRB registration will be asked to demonstrate their competence against the UK-SPEC HRB Standard. This process will help professionals to demonstrate meeting and understanding responsibilities. Based on the recently updated UK-SPEC 4 (aligned with BSI Flex 8670), the contextualised framework has been developed to show expectations and provide clear standards of competence for engineers and technicians working on HRBs.
Forefront of change
Dr Gavin Dunn, CABE Chief Executive, said: “The increased responsibility for dutyholders is a step change for the industry and CABE is excited to be at the forefront of raising standards. Professionals working in general engineering on HRBs now have the opportunity to provide the evidence of their competence and give those hiring general engineers the confidence that they understand the risks and responsibilities of their role as an accountable person.”
Richard Harral, CABE Technical Director, commented: “In offering members the opportunity to gain additional evidence of their competence, CABE builds trust in the industry and allows those with dutyholding responsibility to prove that they are qualified, knowledgeable and have the experience to undertake the role of a dutyholder.”
Paul Bailey, CEO of the Engineering Council, said: “The Building a Safer Future report produced by Dame Judith Hackitt provided an independent review of building regulations, fire safety and the culture and process of the industry. One of the report’s main proposals was for PEIs to work with the Engineering Council to develop a contextualised standard for chartered and incorporated engineers working on residential HRBs. The development of this UK-SPEC HRB standard has been a good example of the way the professional engineering community can work together, and [the Engineering Council is] pleased to award CABE the first licence.”
All professionals working on HRBs with dutyholding responsibilities now have a route to demonstrate their technical engineering competence via applying for Engineering Council HRB registration with CABE.
In addition to the UK-SPEC HRB standard, the Engineering Council is developing specialist annexes for fire engineers, structural engineers and building service engineers. These registrations will provide clients, residents, employers and regulators with confidence that engineers are competent to work on HRBs. For more, visit bit.ly/EC_HRB