BSI, using an iterative and dynamic process called BSI Flex, is building a framework for use by key professions and trades including designers, contractors, fire risk assessors, building managers, and others

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The work undertaken in the built environment is diverse, encapsulating a wide range of roles and competence defined in different ways across different industries. If people act beyond the limits of their competence, they may expose themselves – and potentially others – to a range of risks.

The review of building regulations that followed the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 highlighted a fragmented approach to competence assurance in building projects: a major regulatory flaw. In August 2018, a number of industry bodies established a Competence Steering Group (CSG) to progress the recommendations of the review. A year later, the CSG published Raising the Bar, its first interim report. The report’s 67 recommendations included creating a suite of national standards and supporting documents.

Now, the British Standards Institution (BSI) – sponsored by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government – is building a framework to raise competency standards across the built environment sector. The framework is aimed at key professions and trades including designers, contractors, fire risk assessors, building managers, and others in specialist technical or corporate roles, and is being developed using an iterative and dynamic process called BSI Flex.

Version 3 of the Code of Practice, published in April 2021, has three main objectives:

  • set core criteria for building safety competence;
  • facilitate consistent and objective development, evaluation or use of sector-specific competence frameworks; and
  • support progressive development of a more consistent approach in the development and use of competence frameworks across the built environment

The Code is intended for use ‘by those with responsibility for the development, maintenance or application of sector-specific competence frameworks for roles, functions, activities or tasks undertaken by individuals where these are critical to and directly influence safety in and around buildings’. But it can also apply to:

  • principal designers;
  • principal contractors;
  • designers;
  • contractors;
  • building safety managers;
  • building control professionals; and
  • responsible persons for buildings in occupation

Download BSI Flex 8670: Built environment – Core criteria for building safety in competence frameworks – Code of practice for free here.

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