Back in July 2020, I was asked to join the British Standards Advisory Group to participate in the development of a new standard for overarching competency in the built environment.
The work was sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as part of Government's response to the Building a Safer Future report and consultation process.
This was an opportunity for me to develop some of the work I had being doing with Working Group 2 (installers) who published the post Grenfell Raising the Bar interim report and later Setting the Bar report published in October 2020 that outlined the key recommendations for the Built Environment sector to achieve consistent and improved levels of competence.
For there to be consistency over such a wide industry with such a huge array of specialist fields and traditional trades, it was clear some guidance would be needed, as well as a national standard, so that those within our industry developing, managing or training for competency frameworks would have a benchmark against which to measure or assess their effectiveness.
So, why is this needed when we have a apprenticeships?
Well, many careers do not have established apprenticeship routes within the Built Environment. Even within areas like Fire and Security, the FESS apprenticeship standard is relatively new.
For those who do have an effective, well-functioning apprenticeship scheme in place, this standard does not aim to replace these, but to maintain competence throughout a person's entire career.
BS8670 is a standard encompassing revalidation and CPD, so that individuals can keep up to date with new technical and safety standards, new methods of working, and evolving technology.
The latest version of BS8670 is due to be published in April 2021 for immediate use, and those organisations or trade bodies responsible for competency frameworks within their respective fields are encouraged to engage with it as soon as possible. Some are in fact already mapping existing frameworks against previous draft versions.
The new proposed Building Safety Regulator in England has been engaged in the process, and it is expected that the Regulator’s Competency Committee will look at compliance against this standard as a means of providing the sector's competency requirements, and ensuring that they are being met.
For more information about the BSI Flex 8670 Standard, click here.
For more information about the Fire and Security Association (FSA), click here.