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Findings from Competence Framework Installer Pilots Report (Phase One) announced

by Jennie Ward

CLC welcomes the findings but says “the construction and built environment sector must maintain momentum to ensure the competence of installation organisations and employees”, whilst the report calls RoofCERT “one of the sector’s main strengths”, but says “the lack of appetite across the industry to voluntarily take part in this process” is seen as a challenge.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has welcomed the publication of a report setting out the current state of competence arrangements for those installing products and systems in buildings.

Discussing the publication of the Competence Framework – Installer Pilots Report (Phase One) report on May 17th, the CLC has stated the construction and built environment sector must maintain momentum to ensure the competence of installation organisations and employees, as a the key report highlights ‘red flags’ amid wider progress on Building Safety. 

The report has been prepared by members of Working Group 2, set up as part of the post-Grenfell Competence Steering Group. Volunteers from Working Group 2 have worked with six pilot installer sectors – Domestic Plumbing and Heating, Dry Lining, Fire Detection and Alarms, Fire Stopping Specialist, Rainscreen Cladding, and Roofing – to benchmark existing competence arrangements. 

This Pilot – Phase One stage sets a baseline to identify shortfalls and considers the changes needed to create competence frameworks that comply with the recommendations of Setting the Bar. CLC says in 2020, Setting the Bar outlined how industry must improve the competence of those procuring, designing, constructing, inspecting, assessing, managing, installing and maintaining higher risk residential buildings. 

CLC says the report recognises that good practice exists in each of the six sectors that allows them to demonstrate elements of competence, yet there are elements of each sectors’ arrangements that the working group has ‘red rated’, showing that significant work is required to meet the requirements of Setting the Bar. 

Discussing the roofing sector, the report praises the presence of  the RoofCERT scheme, calling it “one the sector’s main strengths – which facilitates the revalidation of skills in the majority of disciplines.” But it goes on to say “The biggest challenge is the lack of appetite across the industry to voluntarily take part in this process. There are many in the industry who appear to be waiting for legislative changes to force them into better working practices, including the revalidation of competence.”

The report points to roofing sector having an apprenticeship and recognised level two and three qualifications, but points out “there are significant issues with the infrastructure to deliver the required training and assessment including a lack of trainers and occupational specific assessors.” 

More generally, the report calls on other installer sectors to begin their own competence journey now, offering guidance to help them do so which Working Group 2 has developed during the pilots. 

CLC says each sector will now move to develop sector-specific competence frameworks that play to existing strengths and close off any red flag issues raised in the report. This process – which will also develop a timeline and implementation plan for each sector – is expected to take six to nine months. 

Mark Reynolds, Sponsor for the CLC’s People and Skills Network, said: “Publication of Working Group 2’s latest report marks an important milestone in progress towards improved standards of installer competence in the built environment. The CLC will continue to do all we can to assist with the pilots and I would urge other installer sectors now to embark on their own competence journeys, drawing on the resources which Working Group 2 has provided.” 

Nick Jarman, Chair of Working Group 2, said: “There has been much collaboration since the formation of Working Group 2, focussed on how we can learn from the lessons of the past and forge a new pathway of improvement for the future with the objective of providing a safer built environment overall. I would like to thank sector representatives and my Working Group 2 colleagues for getting the pilot process to the point this report can be published. Working Group 2 looks forward to further engagement and collaboration with the wider installer sector to continue progress on this crucial workstream.” 

A copy of the report is available here. 

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