Introduction of an industry agreed ‘Construction Product Competence Standard’
11 November 2022
Following the Grenfell Tower disaster back in 2017, the Building Safety Act has introduced numerous legislative changes, aimed to ensure that the design, construction and maintenance of buildings is safer. However, in her report ‘Building a Safer Future’, Dame Judith Hackitt also identified competence issues with construction materials. In response to this, and the introduction of a wholly new cause of action under the Building Safety Act for the use of defective construction products, the Competence Steering Group (CSG) Working Group 12, led by the Construction Products Association (CPA) has published a new white paper entitled ‘Built environment – proposed construction product competence standard’.
The white paper acknowledges “a recurring story within the built environment is of individuals making choices outside their scope of competence to do so”. It therefore recognises that “radical change” is needed around the area of construction product competence and stresses how important it is that all those who supply, use, or otherwise work with construction products should be properly assessed and deemed competent to do so, and that failure to do so could lead to “dangerous and potentially fatal outcomes”.
As such, the white paper “has been developed to outline proposals for an industry agreed standard on construction product competence”, accepting that the construction industry can no longer operate in a siloed fashion.
The proposal, which was published in September, is for a new standard comprising five core levels of competence applicable to the use of all construction products (whether used in high rise buildings or not), not simply those related to fire safety, structure or other performance. It establishes a methodology of application for the CPC, as well as five steps through which the CPC is to be implemented; each with the aim of ensuring that the CPC is applied in a consistent fashion across the sector. It also allows for individual training needs to be identified at the appropriate time.
The intention is to develop the proposals in the white paper into an industry-agreed standard as part of BSI 8670, at which point it will be subject to public consultation. In the meantime, all those who will be affected by the proposal are encouraged to trial it, with the CSG offering support through a series of panel-led webinars.
For updates on this article, or for further information on its contents, please contact a member of the Construction Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at November 2022.