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Calls for new bar to be set for skills of 'high-rise engineering'

One of the key recommendations from the reveie of the building regs is to improve competence on high-rise and complex projects

Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of the building regs has called for the creation of new qualifications that will properly equip engineers for the complexities of tower blocks and other equally complex building projects. The review’s interim report identified ’numerous examples’ of lack of competence amongst engineers across all disciplines when working on such projects and so Dame Judith’s report recommends a ’joined-up’ approach to qualifications on high rises.

The report says: ”The competence of those involved in the design, construction, ongoing operational management and maintenance of complex and high-risk buildings has been called into question. While there are many instances of competent people planning, building and maintaining buildings in a conscientious way, there is no consistent way to assess or verify their competence. Numerous examples have been quoted, demonstrating lack of competence among designers, builders, fire engineers, fire consultants, fire risk assessors, building control inspectors and others, which compromises the fire safety of buildings.”

Dame Judith’s report  makes the following recommendation to industry: ”There is a need to be certain that those working on the design, construction, inspection and maintenance of complex and high-risk buildings are suitably qualified. The professional and accreditation bodies have an opportunity to demonstrate that they are capable of establishing a robust, comprehensive and coherent system covering all disciplines for work on such buildings. If they are able to come together and develop a joined up system covering all levels of qualification in relevant disciplines, this will provide the framework for regulation to mandate the use of suitable, qualified professionals who can demonstrate that their skills are up to date.”

This new bar of competence, she says, should be covering as a minimum:

• engineers

• those installing and maintaining fire safety systems and other safety-critical systems

• fire engineers

• fire risk assessors

• fire safety enforcing officers

• building control inspectors.

She concluded: ”I would ask these bodies to work together now to propose such a system as soon as practicable. I will launch this work at a summit in early 2018.”


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