Competence steering group releases third report to enhance built environment safety

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New report calls for adoption of competence-led practices in the built environment

A new report from the Competence Steering Group (CSG) is urging the industry to embrace new competence practices and measures to ensure a safer built environment.

Titled ‘A Higher Bar – Achieving a Competence-led Built Environment’, the report outlines significant advancements across the built environment and fire sectors in improving skills, knowledge, and behaviour.

This initiative follows the Grenfell Tower tragedy, with the aim to drive culture change and enhance building safety.

The CSG, formed five years ago by the Industry Response Group and led by Construction Industry Council (CIC) Chief Executive Graham Watts OBE, has been pivotal in this development.

Watts emphasised the progress: “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, developed by industry for industry, should help move us to a higher level.”

Milestones and future plans of the competence steering group

The CSG’s third report not only reflects on past achievements but also outlines the next steps for implementing new competence requirements across the built environment workforce.

Key milestones include the development of a national suite of competence standards through BSI Flex 8670, PAS standards for regulated roles, and the establishment of the Building Safety Alliance.

Further steps include approval for new PAS Standards and the BSAS 01:2023 Organisation Capability Management System Standard.

Watts 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.”

Leadership changes and future directions

The CSG is set to evolve into an independent sub-group of the Building Safety Regulator’s Industry Competence Committee, to be renamed as The Industry Competence Steering Committee (ICSG).

Hanna Clarke, Digital and Policy Manager at the Construction Products Association, will take over from Graham Watts as Chair, with Gill Hancock of the Association for Project Management as Deputy Chair.

Incoming Chair Clarke commented: “CSG broke ground in bringing so many siloed sectors together in unprecedented collaboration.

“ICSG’s task will be to build on this, increasing our engagement and visibility.”

She also noted the importance of the new relationship with the Industry Competence Committee and the Building Safety Regulator, aiming to establish a culture where every member of the supply chain demonstrates competence in working safely.

Jon Vanstone, Chair of the Industry Competence Committee, praised the report: “’A Higher Bar’ is a pivotal step in advancing building safety standards.

“It sets a new benchmark in competence for the construction industry, aligning with the critical directives of the Hackitt Review and the Building Safety Act.”

IFSJ Comment

The release of the third report by the Competence Steering Group marks a crucial juncture in the journey towards a safer built environment.

It represents a collective effort to enhance safety through a competence-led approach, a response to the urgent need for improved standards following the Grenfell Tower incident.

The initiatives and frameworks set forth by the CSG and the impending role of the ICSG under the Building Safety Regulator are indicative of a systemic shift towards higher safety standards in the construction industry.

As the industry moves forward, the emphasis on competence, collaboration, and continuous improvement will be essential in shaping a more responsible and safety-conscious built environment.

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