New competency framework progress update
THE FIRE Industry Association (FIA) has given an update on the competency framework that has been worked on post Grenfell.
The FIA stated that since the industry response group introduced the steering group on competencies post Grenfell, the associations involved in the work have been ‘working hard’ on creating a competency framework, with the steering group introduced after the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report into building regulations and fire safety last year.
Martin Duggan, FIA general manager, stated: ‘The FIA are involved in three of the 12 working groups, which directly affect our members. I’m the secretary of Working Group 2 (WG2) – Installers and we have representatives in the Fire Engineering (WG3) and Fire Risk Assessment (WG4) working groups. Each working group has a Lead/a chairperson/a secretary who make up the over aching Competency Steering Group (CSG).’
The WG2 is ‘led jointly’ by Build UK and the Fire Sector Federation, who are both working on a ‘comprehensive framework’ of competencies for those who install fire safety and other safety critical systems, and all groups are looking at ‘what looks good’ for competency in relevant sectors. Within WG2, third party certification ‘backed up’ with individuals’ qualifications – alongside use of a CSCS () card – have been ‘championed’.
He added that ‘we have also been talking about a minimum “Fire Safe Building – core knowledge” (don’t knock big holes in walls and use proper fire stopping to fill any breaches in fire compartment walls, as an example)’. The government is currently ‘specifically’ looking at high risk residential buildings (HRRBs), with legislation ‘likely to apply’ to those first, but with all the working groups proposing competencies ‘relevant to all buildings’, it ‘may be the closest the industry has ever got to making third-party certification mandatory’.
Mr Duggan added ‘at the very least’ that ‘we should get an agreed definition of competency from Government with only those able to demonstrate that they meet this level of competency being allowed to work on HRRBs. This would be a great start, signalling to the construction industry the type of companies they should be working with on all projects’. The WG2 proposal will be submitted via the CSG for governmental review this April.