Setting the Bar: In Conversation with Working Group 12

For the next instalment in our series of video interviews with construction industry influencers, technical experts and agents of change, we spoke to Douglas Masterson and Hanna Clarke about the next steps for Working Group 12 (the Construction Products Competence Working Group) now that the Setting the Bar report has been published.

Setting the Bar report front cover

Douglas Masterson is deputy chair of the Construction Products Competence Working Group, (also known as Working Group 12 or WG12) and technical manager at the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI). Hanna Clarke is secretary of WG12, an Industry Response Group (IRG) committee member and policy manager at the Construction Products Association (CPA). Both are also members of the wider Competency Steering Group (CSG).

In this interview, Hanna and Douglas talk about the work that WG12 has completed so far to establish the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours required to demonstrate competence in the specification, use, installation and maintenance of construction products across all disciplines in the construction industry. They also give an update on the Marketing Integrity Group.

Published on 5 October, the ‘Setting the Bar’ report includes an outline summary of WG12’s approach and its work to date. Working Group 12 is currently developing a detailed construction products competency matrix. This will be published in a separate report later this year alongside an implementation plan and proposals for the supporting structure.

Watch the video to find out more.

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Setting the bar

The Industry Response Group was set up following the Grenfell Tower disaster and the subsequent Hackitt Review to take responsibility for implementing the recommendations of that review.

Its work has been continued by the Competency Steering Group and its 13 sub-groups looking at specialist areas of construction practice. The CSG includes representatives from engineering, installation, fire, housing, construction, procurement and fire safety professions. It published its interim report, ‘Raising the Bar’, in August 2019.

Building competence

Building on the findings of the ‘Raising the Bar’ report, the ‘Setting the Bar’ report made 59 recommendations. Key to these recommendations is the development of national standards and the overarching competence body that will be appointed by the Building Safety Regulator.

One recommendation is to develop a system of competence that is made up of four key elements:

  • a new competence committee sitting within the Regulator
  • a national suite of competence standards
  • arrangements for independent assessment and re-assessment against the competence standards
  • a mechanism to ensure that those assessing and certifying against the standards have appropriate levels of oversight

The competence standards are divided into two types; an overarching competence framework developed as a suite of National Standards that will be common to all disciplines, and discipline-specific requirements that have been developed by the individual Working Groups.

The national suite of competence standards will encompass the following:

  • a British Standard for an overarching competence framework;
  • PAS standards for three regulated roles that have primary responsibility for building and life safety at each stage of a building’s lifecycle (the principal designer, principal contractor and building safety manager);
  • a series of sectoral competence standards that will list specific requirements for individual disciplines, roles or activities.

The next phase of work is due to begin in January 2021 with the publication of the overarching competence framework standard going to a second public consultation, with a third planned for April. The publication of the overarching competence framework British Standard and accompanying guidance is set for March 2022.

‘Setting the Bar’ report made recommendations on the development of national standards

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