1 December 2022
What is the Building Safety Act 2022?
“A Bill to make provision about the safety of people in or about buildings and the standard of buildings…”
The Building Safety Bill, which became legislation known as the Building Safety Act 2022, received Royal Assent on the 28th April 2022 and will be fully enforceable by October 2024. It follows Dame Judith Hackitt’s damning review (Building a Safer Future) of the building industry, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Why is it important?
‘Primary legislation’ is the term used to describe the main laws passed by the legislative bodies of the UK. These types of legislation are sometimes referred to as ‘statutes’, i.e. laws.
With the Building Safety Act 2022 being primary legislation, not adhering to the Act would constitute breaking the law and therefore a criminal offence.
One of the key recommendations is the creation of a national Building Safety Regulator (BSR). BSR responsibility has been given to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The BSR will have three main functions:
Section 35 of the Building Safety Act 2022 stipulates:
35 Industry Competence
(2) A “competence requirement” is a requirement relating to-
(a) the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours of an individual
Whilst many in the industry will no doubt have gained extensive experience and may understand the behaviours required whilst in the workplace, who has made a judgement that they have the requisite skills and knowledge to undertake their role, particularly when it comes to health and safety? It’s fair to say that, over the years, individuals will have gained a level of skills and knowledge, however, what qualifications do they hold to prove their competency in a court of law?
These competence requirements are continually referred to in some of the new BSi (British Standards Institution) documents, with the 8670 highlighting specific criteria for Behavioural Competence and Fire Safety.
While the BSi 8672 stipulates that the Principal Contractor is expected to monitor and also evaluate that the workforce has the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours to carry out its role. They’re also being informed to embed ethical and behavioural practices as defined in the BSi 8670.
These competence requirements are seen, once again, in BSi Flex 8670:
3.7 competence management
systematic identification, development, assessment, deployment and maintenance of the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours required to fulfil responsibilities and to perform activities or tasks to recognized standards of competence.
Why are qualifications important?
What we learnt from the Grenfell Inquiry was that significant focus was put on the qualifications of the responsible individuals involved. For example, the Fire Risk Consultant responsible for carrying out fire risk assessments of Grenfell Tower, misled Kensington and Chelsea Management Organisation about his qualifications before he was hired.
Carl Stokes added a series of letters to his name (post-nominals), suggesting he had achieved several qualifications. It came to light that these qualifications either did not exist or simply represented training courses which “significantly mislead clients and potential clients as to his qualifications”.
For example, there is no “Fire Eng (FPA)” post-nominal, which would have misled people into believing he was a qualified fire engineer.
During the public inquiry, Mr Stokes admitted that rather than having achieved the requisite qualifications, he was demonstrating “courses and competencies”.
How to prove skills and knowledge
The skills and knowledge required for all roles within our industry are defined by the Sector Skills Council for the Building Engineering Services sector, BSE Skills Ltd. under the guidance of the UK government.
BSE Skills Ltd. Is responsible for writing the National Occupational Standards (NOS), applicable to every occupation/job role for our industry.
These NOS describe the minimum standard to which an individual is expected to work in their chosen occupation and therefore contain the relevant Performance and Knowledge criteria (i.e., Skills and Knowledge) that are deemed to be mandatory levels of competence by the Building Safety Act.
All Paddeco’s qualifications, Level 2 and Level 3, are based on the relevant NOS for each job role:
For more information on legislation and how to meet competence and compliance requirements, please contact us on 02920 105312 or [email protected].
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