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Engineers face post-Grenfell competency standards

Grenfell Tower

Engineers could soon be held to new competency standards, following the publication of the Hackitt review

The Engineering Council is working on a new UK standard to measure the competency of engineers working on High Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs).

It comes following recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt after she was commissioned to chair a government-backed review into building regulations following the Grenfell Tower fire in June last year. 

The Hackitt review recommended the construction industry should create an overarching body to review competence of those working on HRRBs, which are 10 storeys high or more, and added the industry needs to take responsibility for ensuring workers are competent in their roles.

The Engineering Council has now announced that it is working with several professional engineering bodies to develop a contextualised standard to benchmark engineers working on HRRBs.

A spokesperson for the Engineering Council said: “The Engineering Council is firmly committed to building on existing work around competence and the need for relevant bodies to work together to deliver improvement, as recommended by the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt.

“The Engineering Council notes new recommendations that recognise the essential role of engineers in fire safety, as well as the crucial importance of competence and of maintaining competence through Continuing Professional Development (CPD).”

The Engineering Council was part of the competency working group which advised Hackitt while she was writing the final report.

Although it would not prevent unqualified people from working on HRRBs, the standard would allow firms to see whether an engineer had met a specific set of criteria. Currently there is no timeframe for the standard to be implemented.

The Engineering Council is also part of the Industry Response Group (IRG), a group of industry experts including Build UK, the Construction Industry Council and the Construction Products Association which has been advising government on the construction industry since July last year.

The IRG is working on proposals for an overarching body responsible for overseeing the competence of engineers and other professionals working on HRRBs, as Hackitt recommended.

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