How CABE's competency framework affects you

Amy Chatfield, CABE Membership Services Manager, discusses the new competency frameworks and how it will impact members

CABE is committed to raising professional competency across the built environment. Its membership competency frameworks set the standards for CABE members, ensuring they have the necessary expertise and knowledge to meet the high expectations the industry demands of them.

Following the introduction of Flex 8670 and the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment (UK-SPEC) Fourth Edition, the Membership and Professional Standards Committee has introduced an updated CABE Membership Competency Framework (December 2022) designed to incorporate these new requirements.

The new CABE Competency Frameworks outline both the expectation of competence against each grade of Membership and a clear structure for accurately measuring the necessary competencies of CABE members.

The updated frameworks will be used to assess all new applicants and membership upgrades from February 2023. Existing CABE members will not be required to be assessed against the criteria.


Core competence criteria

The CABE 2022 Competence Framework is designed to ensure that there are clear and concise descriptors against the levels of knowledge, skills, experience and understanding that are being demonstrated. They relate to both the expectation of competence against the grade of membership, and then a clear structure for ensuring accurate measurement of the competencies required.

Awareness (1)

  • has the basic knowledge of theory to understand key concepts relevant to their work;

  • able to engage in discussions regarding specific competencies;

  • performs routine tasks, typically with significant supervision; and

  • learns how to do things.

Understanding/Basic application or proficiency (2)

  • performs fundamental and routine tasks;

  • requires occasional supervision in their execution;

  • increased functional expertise and ability;

  • works with others; and

  • decision-making must remain within the limit of expertise.

Detailed understanding/Detailed application or proficiency (3)

  • independent contributor;

  • integrates work with other disciplines;

  • assesses and compares options and makes decisions; and

  • often mentors, coaches or manages others.

Comprehensive understanding/Complex application or expert proficiency (4)

  • advanced experience in particular competence;

  • applies creative solutions to difficult problems;

  • defines and drives critical business opportunities and needs;

  • represents the organisation internally and externally on critical issues;

  • sets standards within the organisation; and

  • recognised as a subject matter expert.

Governance and standards

These revised frameworks are more detailed than previous versions and highlight CABE’s expectations for its members. Each membership grade has its own individual criteria consisting of core and sub-competencies, with clear direction relating to scope and evidence. Additionally, there is the inclusion of subject-specific annexes with supplementary guidance on a range of critical issues drawn from advice issued by the Engineering Council UK and CABE.

CABE applicants must understand, and be able to demonstrate, how they apply this guidance in their day-to-day work – work that covers cross-cutting areas of professional competence often relevant to multiple areas of building engineering practice, such as building safety, risk and inclusive design.

These latest frameworks enable applicants to provide evidence of their competence both as a Building Engineer and (if required) within a specialist working role. New clear and concise descriptors allow CABE to measure levels of knowledge, skills, experience and understanding demonstrated by the applicant. This, in turn, enables them to award the correct level of membership.


Competence Sections

A Knowledge and Understanding

This competence is about the foundational knowledge and understanding of technical principles and technologies relevant to an individual’s area of building engineering practice.

B Design, Development and Solving Engineering Problems

This competence is about the ability to apply appropriate methods and approaches when undertaking building engineering tasks or functions.

C Responsibility, Management and Leadership

This competence is about the ability to plan your own work and manage or specify the work of others effectively, efficiently and in a way that provides leadership at an appropriate level, whether technical or commercial.

D Communication and Interpersonal Skills

This competence is about working with others constructively, explaining ideas and proposals clearly and discussing issues objectively and constructively.

E Professional Commitments and Standards

This competence is about ensuring that the applicant is acting in a professional manner in their work and in their dealings with others.


Applicants for CABE membership will have to demonstrate their competence in all the core competencies specific to the grade of membership, but the depth and extent of their experience and competence will vary with the nature and requirements of their role.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate higher levels of competence in areas that are critical to their role. However, as a minimum requirement, they need to demonstrate an understanding of, and familiarity with, aspects of each core competence.

CABE continues to be passionate about putting the professional competence of our members at the heart of everything we do. It allows CABE to say confidently and consistently that being a member demonstrates that you are a competent and ethical professional who can be relied upon to strive for the highest possible standards.

For more, visit bit.ly/3ZGi4Ce

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