Hackitt: steering group to take forward recommendations

8 June 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A new independent steering group has been set up to take forward key recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of Building Regulations and fire safety.

The 'Steering Group on Competences for Building a Safer Future' is a sub-group of the Industry Response Group (IRG), which was set up in July last year, following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The new steering group will continue the work on capacity and competence, begun in late August last year by the IRG, and also by the Working Group on Competence. 

Both groups were chaired by Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), who will also chair the new steering group on behalf of the IRG. 

Peter Caplehorn, deputy chief executive and policy director of the Construction Products Association, and Peter Yates of the Local Government Association will be deputy chairs.  

The steering group will develop a plan for an overarching body to provide oversight of competence requirements and support the delivery of competent people, after the Hackitt Review identified a lack of appropriate skills, knowledge and experience of those engaged at every stage of the life cycle of higher-risk residential buildings.

The Hackitt Review, entitled Building a Safer Future, recommended a year to complete this work, with quarterly updates. The steering group and IRG are expected to consider how best to contribute to the process once details about the role of the Joint Competent Authority (JCA) and the implementation of Hackitt’s recommendations.

Comptency frameworks and accreditations

The work of identifying and developing specific competency frameworks and accreditation pathways, will be undertaken by 11 working groups (see list below), broadly reflecting the work set out in the Hackitt Review; with one additional work stream for procurement being added by the Steering Group.

Each working group will be tasked with defining:

The chair, secretariat and membership of each working group are being recruited from across the fire safety sector, built environment professions, the construction industry and from those who own and manage higher-risk residential buildings.

The steering group met for the first time on the day prior to the publication of Building a Safer Future and has met twice more. 

Graham Watts said: “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. 

“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.  It is an excellent beginning and we hope to improve upon the year timescale envisaged by Dame Judith by completing this work in March 2019.”

The 11 working groups

  1. WG1 Engineers – led by the Engineering Council, working on a contextualised standard for chartered and incorporated engineers [Proposal on p.135, Building a Safer Future];
  2. WG2 Installers – led jointly by Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation, working on a comprehensive framework of competences for those installing fire safety and other safety-critical systems [Proposal onp.135, Building a Safer Future];
  3. WG3 Fire Engineers – led by the Institution of Fire Engineers, working on the enhanced competences offire engineers [Proposal on p.77, Building a Safer Future];
  4. WG4 Fire Risk Assessors – led by the Fire Sector Federation, working on the enhanced competences offire risk assessors [Proposal on p.136, Building a Safer Future];
  5. WG5 Fire Safety Enforcing Officers – led by the National Fire Chiefs Council, working on the competency framework for fire safety enforcement [Proposal on p.137, Building a Safer Future];
  6. WG6 Building Control/Building Standards – led jointly by LABC/Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors, working on the competences of those regulating building standards (currently known as buildingcontrol) [Proposal on pp. 79/80, Building a Safer Future];
  7. WG7 Architects/ Building Designers – led by the Architects Registration Board working on the enhanced competences of architects and other building designers [Proposal on p.137, Building a Safer Future];
  8. WG8 Building Safety Manager –to be chaired independently, working on the required competences forthe new role of building safety manager [Recommendation 5.4 on p.80, Building a Safer Future];
  9. WG9 Site Supervisors – led by the Chartered Institute of Building, working on enhanced competences for site supervisors [Proposal on p.77, Building a Safer Future];
  10. WG10 Project Managers – led by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, working on enhanced competences for project managers [Proposal on p.77, Building a Safer Future];
  11. WG11 Procurement – to be chaired independently, working on defining competences for those commissioning/procuring higher risk residential buildings [additional to recommendations in Building a Safer Future].


I am Chair of the Direct Works Forum, a Not for Profit organisation representing 115 LA's and HA's who manage and maintain over 2.2 million of the 4 million social housing stock in the country. I am trying to identify and make contact with the Chair of Working Group 8 addressing the responsibilities of the Building Safety Manager.
We are in the process of pulling together our September seminar, which will be totally devoted to addressing the challenges of Hackitt. We are hoping to attract the chairs of 5 of the most relevant Working Groups to our members and have already received the commitment of the Fire Safety and Procurement chairs.
Our seminars attract around 150 delegates to our venue in Coventry.

Keith Simpson, 12 June 2019

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