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Post-Grenfell competency group set up

Grenfell Tower

Fire engineers and other construction professionals have been tasked with building an overarching body to scrutinise competency in the sector, as recommended in the post-Grenfell Hackitt review.

A sub-group of the Industry Response Group - a selection of industry professionals advising the government on construction issues post-Grenfell - has pledged to create the overarching body by March 2019.

The Steering Group on Competences for Building a Safer Future will agree competency frameworks, ways to measure competence, launch a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) on fire safety and decide whether the body should reach beyond HRRBs into the wider industry.

Driving up skills standards and professional competency in the construction industry was a key theme of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations, published last month.

Under her recommendations clients, principal designers and contractors could face jail in extreme circumstances if they or those working under them are not competent.

Hackitt recommended an oversight body should be set up within the next year which would scrutinise the competency of those working on High Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs), which are 10 storeys tall or more.

“Dame Judith asked the construction and fire safety sectors to continue the work started in response to her interim report and it has been heartening to see the collective commitment from across both sectors, and amongst those who represent building owners, to come together quickly to ensure that these issues are addressed,” said group chair Graham Watts.

“Our aim is to ensure a joined-up approach to achieving a comprehensive, coherent and robust framework for the competence of all those creating, maintaining and managing higher risk residential buildings.”

The group will meet every two weeks for the next year, feeding information back to government and the new Joint Competency Authority (JCA), which Hackitt also recommended should be set up in her final report.

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