The deadline for proving competency
In part thanks to the cultural changes required by the Hackitt Review, the industry at large needs to make significant changes to prove its competency at work. The Building Safety Act, granted Royal Assent on the 28th of April 2022, has now introduced ground-breaking reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights and protections regarding their safety. Proving competency should be considered an industry-wide priority and with a now 7-month deadline to do so, the methods to prove competency should be clear.
Spotting areas for improvement
To prove competency by November 2023, the skills, knowledge and behaviour for every role in residential construction should be provably met. Questions need to be asked, such as whether a contractor can suitably spot inadequacies in a subcontractor’s work. Can an architect meet new design requirements without prompting? Are those involved with the external envelope building with fire-rated materials?
Higher-risk buildings need higher competence standards and so by spotting these inadequacies, raising competence can become simpler.
Competency in balconies
At Sapphire, proving our competency is a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute task. Spotting potential snagging areas in our balconies needs to be something everyone on not just the factory floor, but the office, on-site staff and showroom attendants needs to be able to accomplish to guarantee our balconies are as proven, promised and trusted as you’d expect.
Our Passport app allows us to monitor the quality of our balconies from the moment they’re fabricated right through to installation onto the building façade. Any snags will be logged the moment they’re spotted to make sure faults are accurately dealt with.
What’s more, we regularly engage in cross-departmental updates and training, our supply chain team recently completing a balcony build day to show the intrepid upskilling they had been provided, managing to build one of our Glide-On™ Cassettes® to an installation standard.
A committee has been established within the Building Safety Regulator in order to support the industry’s work in raising competence. This committee will monitor and help to improve competence industry-wide, publishing guidance and advice for both those working within the industry and the Building Safety Regulator itself.
To raise competence, it has been suggested by the committee that organisations must provide management systems for their staff that are comprehensive and contemporary, as well as processes, policies and resources that cover all competency requirements.
Raising competence may not be enough to satisfy the needs required by the Building Safety Act. To become and stay compliant by November, some upskilling of current staff may be needed. For example, cross-departmental training could be beneficial. Expanded knowledge on quality control could make for huge improvements in site teams for example. Satisfying the Golden Thread means digital inspection and verification processes need to be understood across the board.
It can be highly cost-effective to upskill as opposed to hiring a consultancy company to do the same work. Hiring consultancy firms can be extremely costly as their experience comes at a premium. By upskilling your own staff in the areas required and building their competency, money can be saved and spent in other areas that may need it more.
A simple method of upskilling staff could be through a shadowing process, or ‘buddy system’. Those with more current training and updated skills could be paired with those that need training and act as an on-the-job learning experience.
The changes required by both the Hackitt Review and the Building Safety Act mean that the industry needs to make significant changes to the way it acts, the way it trains and the way it satisfies competency requirements. Between spotting areas for improvement to fulfil higher competency standards, raising competence through companies providing more comprehensive management systems and upskilling staff through better training processes, the residential construction industry has a deadline for proving its competency.
Can you prove yourself in the ever-changing world of construction competency?