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setting the bar: will the new cic report help construction build safer?.

The CIC’s final report 'Setting the Bar: a new competence regime for building a safer future' has been hailed as a blueprint for competence and cultural change in the commercial sector.

Created by a team of 150 professionals across the industry, including health and safety practitioners, fire safety specialists, social housing experts, residential and commercial management and construction experts, the report sets out a proposed system, highlighting four critical elements for change.

The report outlines the need for a competence committee as part of the Building Safety Regulator, a set of national competence standards, inspection and re-inspection against those standards and a way of ensuring assessors have an appropriate level of oversight.

The competence framework will outline the skills, experience, knowledge and behaviours needed for a range of specific roles. One of these is the suggested position of the building safety manager and the report's contents will be used to develop the national safety standards.

Draft legislation

The draft Building Safety Bill, which was made public in July, makes provisions for the appointment of a designated building safety manager. But as the report makes clear “It is also paramount that the proposed Building Safety Bill provides the impetus to ensure that the enhanced competences outlined in this report are required for working on all buildings that are in scope to the legislation.”

The job of the new building safety manager will encompass structural and fire safety as well as the day-to-day management of such buildings, and they will become a single clear point of contact for critical fire and safety related issues within the building.

The BSM is just one of the proposed team of people who will ensure the fire safety of a building throughout its lifespan. This team encompasses the accountable person who will supervise the BSM and be legally responsible for mitigating building safety risks as far as is practical.

The scope of the role of BSM could also extend beyond fire safety to encompass other dangers to health including water and air qualities. The entirety of the BSM’s responsibilities has yet to be confirmed and there are expectations for it to be detailed as the legislation goes through Parliament.

Safe buildings

Working Group 8 chairman Anthony Taylor has published a separate report called 'Safer People, Safer Homes: Building Safety Management', which suggests that while it is appreciated that the top priority is to build safer homes for people in buildings that are considered higher risk, he also proposes the system is made a priority to the entire home building sector.

Competence Steering Group chair and Construction Industry Council chief executive, Graham Watts, praised the report as a groundbreaking plan that will help raise standards across the construction industry. In addition to the BSM role, the report recommends the development of three on-site roles, the Construction Project Manager (CPM), Site Supervisor (SS) and Independent Construction Assessor (ICA) to ensure the on-site delivery of safe buildings.

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