GEORGE …in terms of the role of the principal designer and how that’s going to impact on projects. We thought it would be useful to look, from the advisory group’s perspective, what we understand that’s going to entail as a role and also how that then connects back to the verification of the golden thread and the building regs

DEBBIE I’ve got some slides I’m going to share. Today I’m looking at the concept of duty regimes and the accountability and then getting into some specifics around the principal designer, competence PAS and the challenge around the organisational versus individual perspective. And then I’ve done a bit of work extracting some of the competence requirements and some suggest activities that we could either do collectively or organisations need to do themselves, because I don’t really see that you can separate out the individual competency challenge without getting the organisational capability bit correct and wired at the same time.

GEORGE It’s probably worth reiterating what we’re trying to do here. One of the major challenges that landlords and contractors and people that are working on HRBs have got now is that since the regulation updates in August there is now a requirement on landlords and also supply chains to deliver far more rigorous information, in particular that relates to building regs. For example, the information that is required to satisfy Regulation 38 is now explicitly required that the landlord or the responsible person has to confirm that they’ve got all of the information that they need. And the supply chain or the contractor has got to confirm that they’ve actually delivered everything and also that they’ve got sign off from the landlord that that’s been delivered.

All of this ties back to conforming with building regs and there is still a widely held perception that that’s all down to Building Control and fundamentally that’s not the case. Building Control is really there to oversee things, but not to actually advise, and also not to take on any responsibility. The responsibility rests with the principle designer that’s appointed by the responsible person to actually deliver all of that, which is quite an onerous task. So the role of the principal designer is something that is being quite widely discussed at the moment. There is two elements to this: one is what the scope is of what they’re expected to do, but also how their competence is being measured, and that’s an area that Debbie has spent years working on.

DEBBIE I think there is a pre-step before the measurement which is organisations interpreting what this means and defining their own competency and duty regime around it. Essentially the Building Safety Act imposes a duty regime and accountability regime, and a duty is a liability or responsibility upon an individual or an organisation to perform specific activities and functions to defined standards and regulations. It’s interesting in the PAS looking at some of the things they define…in the real world it’s very messy, it starts with organisation core values and organisations need to look at how well do their own values as an organisation align to these new PAS and the building safety duty regime and it goes all the way up to the stuff that is more daily in terms of what people do and people not taking on activities that they’re not competent for or not doing something because they haven’t got the right information.

So, it’s a complex area and we’re now because of supply chains and stuff within the built environment it’s not an easy thing to do, but there are other industries who are looking at ways of codifying and sharing much more comprehensive responsibility models across value chains. So there are other sectors that are addressing this and you’ll see at the bottom here there’s a little company called Be Future Ready. That’s a partner that I work with and we specialise on workforce planning that takes into account all of this and we’re building new course in this area. So, if we look at the PAS 8671 the key thing here is it’s the individual competencies that they’re looking at, but the principle designer role can either be at the organisational level or it can be that it’s an individual that is appointed to design, even if it’s the organisation they’ve still actually got to appoint the key target person. 

And the 8671, as most people will know, references the first PAS that came out which is 8670 which was called BSI Flex before it moved into the PAS world. And anything that is to do with the principal designer or principal contractor has to be mapped to the Flex 8670, in the actual PAS they give you this very high level mapping. But as you can see the principal designer competencies are to do with design compliance and behavioural competence, so the focus is this design compliance angle, that’s the scope of the standard. It would be good, and I have asked before, if we could see this detail mapping, but as it’s not provided really there is an obligation for everyone to have to do that because it could be that you need to know why something is matched to something, particularly around some of the more gritty nitty things around fire safety or building or systems etc. 

Just going back to the principal designer duty role, this is the definition given in the PAS, but they don’t actually define what organisational capability is, they don’t define how capability relates to competence, they don’t give any guidance on what the duty holder functions might be. And obviously the levels of the principal designer are relevant to the organisational capabilities, it may be that some organisations don’t have anybody as an individual that can take on the full burden of responsibility in a complex project and the specific demands of the projects. So whatever the actual requirement in a real project or a real building is going to be, it has to be modulated in accordance with the two factors, and going back to the whole focus here of design, design basically the function of an organisation that focuses on activities related to product services or solution design, that’s the general definition of design.

If people aren’t aware, we do have a group in this country that’s funded by government called The Unit of Future Skills that does workforce foresighting and they actually have a capability classification framework and one of the core functional areas is design, so that may be something that is worth looking at and referencing. But in terms of any organisation in the principal designer world, the first thing you’ve got to define is your design functional areas and particularly your activities for design compliance that deal with planning, managing, monitoring, coordinating the design work for design work compliance. That’s the focus of the PAS and that’s the focus of what the principal designer role is taking into account, and obviously there is going to be other actors and other designers and other disciplines involved in that. So that’s something that actually needs to be done as an activity by any organisation playing in this space.

An organisations capability is a much broader concept than competence in the fact that you’ve got to also have this actual ability to combine things, to deploy things, to access things, to apply things in the right way at the right time with the right information etc. So it’s a broader ability, whereas competence is much more about being sure you know what principal designers can actually do and have done and can do and have confidence that they will be able to do it in the next context or next project or next building. And then capacity is another one of the Cs, that’s looking at it at the organisational level versus the individual level. These things would have been useful to define, but they often get confused as to how people write about these things, and they get confused between the organisational and the individual level. This is going back to the PAS, as you can see this is the only stuff they give on definitions, it doesn’t give any definitions about capabilities or functions or anything like this, so it misses a lot of this.

The other thing to be very clear about, it states what it doesn’t cover. It’s still implying that it’s your job to interpret the legislation, it obviously doesn’t cover the CDM principal designer duty holder role and it doesn’t deal with the organisational capability piece and it doesn’t deal with other things, assessing confidence and all of the rest. So essentially it’s just a framework that we’ve all got to interpret, apply and derive our own capabilities around.

GEORGE Alin, are Fosters doing the principal designer role?

ALIN MARGARIT On some of the UK projects I would expect to have this role. 

DEBBIE (sharing Slide 3 on screen). I’ll just recap. The PAS just focus on individual principal designer competencies. The case I’m making is that unless you as an organisation understand what you have to have around design compliance capabilities you’re not going to get that interpretation correct, it’s got to be contextual to what your organisation does. And then there is this mapping exercise that’s gone on between these principal designer competencies which as you can see are mainly focused on design work compliance related to the broader competence requirements that are stated in Flex 8670 to do with things like fire safety and building safety etc. But they don’t provide the full mapping of this, which is fairly annoying as it means that everyone else needs to do that as an exercise themselves. Some of the competence working groups do do some of this, but again they don’t do it in any traceable fashion, which isn’t helpful.

Organisational versus individual. What they don’t do in the PAS is define organisational capability, how capability relates to competence and what functions are. We do have a capability classification framework that is getting a lot of traction, including in the built environment, and that actually defines the functions of design. And in this particular context organisations actually need to have clear capability statements of their design’s functional areas, and particularly around design compliance and planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the design work for design work compliance. So that’s an activity you need to do if you’re playing in this PD space. 

Here, I’m showing you the difference between organisational and individual statements here and the real difference in organisations around this capability piece. It’s not just about having the capabilities, it’s how you actually coordinate them, allocate them, deploy them, making sure you have the right competencies and the right people with the right information at the right time to do that. It’s a much broader kind of statement you’ll be producing. They are all related to activities, so if you’re using any AI tools it finds these similarities and differences quite well.

Definitions & scope. I’m just showing what the PAS actually gives you in terms of definitions and as you can see it doesn’t give you any of the things that I have just been defining, which is a weakness in it. And I don’t really see how you deal with individual competence unless you’ve got your organisation supply chains capabilities profiles right. And obviously it doesn’t cover how principal designer should comply with legislation, we’ve still got to do that interpretation, it doesn’t deal with the CDM principal designer role, it doesn’t deal with the organisational capability and it doesn’t give anything on assessment or guidance. That’s all got to come from industry and professional bodies and others in the accreditation and certification game, which is an evolving and moving space at the moment. And within the duties of the interim industry committee the only competency register they’re responsible for is for building control actors, there’s not one for principal designer, but there is work from organisations like ICM looking at developing open registries of PDs and principal contractors going forward. That’s likely to happen, it would be a useful thing to do.

GEORGE I’d like to ask Adam, for example, from Peabody. As an organisation you’ve obviously got to select principal designers and you’ve got to be confident that they are competent. As I understand it, the role of principal designer for CDM is significantly different than the role under building regs. Have you got some sort of standard methods and templates that you’ve been able to develop on those? 

ADAM HOPKINS It’s the reason why I came to this, I saw the invite and it was about discussing competence. On CDM duty holders specifically we have got an existing process and means of checking that competence and it’s generally around a kind of staged approach. What we call a Stage 1, and that looks at competence in quite a broad brush way, I think it relates back to certain accreditations and qualifications that either an organisation and/or an individual may hold. But then we do a Stage 2 assessment at project level and say, right, what is the project, what’s the scale and complexity of the project, and then we look at the people proposed to work on that project. And that’s a bit more touchy feely, it’s looking at the person, it’s thinking about the project, it’s a bit more granular. 

As far as the principal designer and principal duty holders under the amended building regulations are concerned, it’s early days to be honest. We’ve spoken to a selection of consultants that are on our framework and we’ve had early days conversations, it might not surprise those on the call that a majority of the architects on our framework acknowledge that the role is essentially, certainly for kind of the work that we do, the architects for the taking. And that’s where we’re at the minute, we’re having conversations with them about how we practically move forward.

GEORGE Certainly Scott Sanderson from PRP has told me that their taking it on, so that’s encouraging. But as he said it’s quite challenging because the principal designer role, it’s not just your own design, it’s also

DEBBIE It’s this compliance lens, it’s the key one in the PAS. I think compliance sometimes has got various levels of maturity in how it’s been defined, from the capability level down to the individual level.  The next slide I’ve got here is looking at the PAS and extracting from it what the competence statements are, why they can’t produce these things in a way that is useful like this in the first place is beyond me. The duty holder focus is design compliance and the main function is this planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating the design work for design work compliance. That’s the sole purpose of this and whatever target competency profiles are generated they need to reference this. The stuff in italics is stuff which is not stated in the competence sections in the PAS, but actually these are important things because they’re to do with knowledge or different abilities or different duties that people should have.

Basically there’s four sections, the first being behaviour competence, the rest will deal with the compliance aspect, and they tend to have things which are specific competences and then they have additional competence for HRBs. In terms of the behavioural ones, there’s no additional ones for HRBs, these are the behavioural competences that you have to have. Look at this one here: P was able to liaise with principal design contractor to share relevant information. Well, really it implies that you have to also know the role of the principal contractor and the PAS 8672, you can’t really just look at this without looking at the other PASs in this. And you’ve got to encourage designers to perform their duties, so in reality you’ve got to understand how accountabilities and (particularly) responsibilities are allocated from the PD to other designers and other disciplines and that’s actually a sort of process.

But you’ve got to take what’s written and then putting this in a form of a competence statement that you could create a profile from and allow putting things to help measure and assess people. This is another one which is to do with the management of design work compliance and as you see there is the concept of minimum competences, specific competences and then the additional ones which relate to the HRBs. And you’ve got things like PD was able to curate strategies for managing design work compliance, and implied in that is also dealing with the human compliance element and that people actually doing tasks and duties are doing it in accordance with the Building Safety Act and guidance and other regulations, as well as having the right mindset and behaviours.

And then here you’ve got PD was able to analyse ways to manage gaps in designers competences, capabilities or capacities. Again, these things were not defined in the PAS and that’s really again a process and system challenge because to do that you’ve really got to be able to have some decent organisational competency management and platforms to do that to be continually assessing any adequacy overlaps or gaps when you’re looking at current profiles to the profile of a PD that you may need on the next project. I’ll finish the next slide and then I’ll go into the Excel sheet afterwards. So, just some things in terms of making this actionable, there is this need to review all of these related PAS and particularly understand it from the design compliance requirement perspective, which is the focus of the principal designer under this PAS.

You’ve got to extract and generate some competence requirements from that PAS, but then I would really recommend that you need to define your organisational compliance activities and scopes and actually produce capability statements. And then you’ve got to, there’ll be some kind of mapping to the Building Safety Act to refining that capability stuff and refining those statements and then you’ll be able to refine your PD competence requirements that are relevant to your organisation and they types of work and projects you evolve in. And then once you’ve done that you’ll be able to generate competency profiles and update job descriptions and profiles and stuff like that, because really the first thing that an organisation should be doing as a check is with our current designers and people who are going to act as principle designers in any of their job descriptions and current competency profiles, how do they match against this new duty regime, how do they match against all of these new duties and competence?

That’s the first thing to do because this is very much a duty regime, so the lens should go through that responsibility piece. I find a lot of people don’t seem to see duty as a dimension of competence, and it is one of the key dimensions or competence. And that’s because we live in this silly world where everyone thinks competence is about knowledge, skills and behaviours when actually there is about thirteen different dimensions of competence, it’s not as simple as that. So, that’s a recommendation. And these bits and the other boxes are things that you relate to that, there will be other professional occupational frameworks that may have come from the working groups that you need to consider: the type of building typologies, type of projects, processes and other things. When this can become quite a big exercise in profiling and mapping depending on what perspective you're looking at and what you’re trying to do. It’s one way of looking at the puzzle, it’s not necessarily the only way, but I still think that organisations have to get their design compliance capability defined and clear first before they can do any improvement in their job profiles, job descriptions and competency profiles of principal designers.

KEMI OGUNTOYE I’m a consultant or associate from Inside The Box Advisory, so I’m not a housing association, but I do support a housing association as a director on a part-time basis.  I wondered if you could spend a bit more time just going through the differences between the organisational capability and the individual capability? You had a screen up where you showed the differences. Where there are perhaps, and deficiencies is probably not the correct word so forgive my language there, where an organisation is not able to demonstrate a lack of one of the competencies, is it on the organisation to then demonstrate that they’ve hired in external consultants to plug that gap?

GEORGE I would have thought, if there is a requirement for that level of capability to be in the organisation or on a project, if you don’t have it internally I guess you’ve got to outsource it. 

KEMI OGUNTOYE Yes, that would seem quite logical, and then I guess the follow-up question is to what extent does the organisation then need to demonstrate that they’ve done their due diligence in appointing that third-party? Obviously there’s lots of processes in place at an organisational level before a consultant or a contractor is appointed, but are they fit for purpose?

JON CUMBERLIDGE I was just going to expand on it, in terms of it’s a really good point. From a law of agency point of view you can bring in that competency, but you can’t discharge your duties through somebody else, so it is that million dollar question of what is the level of due diligence that you do in order to make sure that those people are competent to fill that role. I’m currently an approved inspector, so I’ll be becoming a registered building control approver in April under the new system, and it’s nice and easy for us. I say nice and easy, it’s quite painful, but we’ve got various exams and things to take in order to tick boxes and that’s sort of and industry standard. It’s far more open when we’re talking about these partially codified competence standards at the minute. So, our experience of the new regulations and the duty holder stuff from October is we’re all on a massive learning curve at the moment and I think stuff like this is great.

RICHARD (to Debbie, who had not heard the question due to a ‘Teams blip’). The question from Kemi was about organisational as opposed to individual competence.

DEBBIE I didn’t want to necessarily include it in this session, but it may be worth doing a session taking people through The Unit For Future Skills Capability Framework and giving people an example of that and showing the difference. But really my recommendation is start at the capability level first, if you’re an organisation that’s going to have a big function in terms of the principal designer duty regime. 

GEORGE The thing you may have missed, Kemi was also asking if the organisation doesn’t have the capability in-house, then presumably they then would be required to outsource it. 

DEBBIE They would do, but if they’ve outsourced it they’re still accountable for the activities. So that’s why it’s so important that these things are actually well defined, you actually have competency profiles for all of the actors in this, this is what needs to be generated and this is what should be evidenced. And the only PAS that dealt with a concept of a competency profile properly was the one that was going to be to do with the third one, PAS 8673, they changed the title of that one. I think collectively we could as an activity try and define what design compliance capabilities are first, as a group, and I don’t think it would be that difficult. And then everyone at least has got the statements and they take those statements and they have to contextualise those to their own organisation, from the perspective of their own processes, their values and how they go about their business. 

GEORGE When I was speaking with one of the architects that’s putting together their plan to offer the role, the point that they were making was that overall they’ve got to ensure that the rest of the design team, who might be M&E, structures, civils etc, have also ensured that they’ve checked building regs to make sure that their work is compliant. And one of the ways they were considering that at the time was to have some form of verification and checklist. I know we’ve talked in the past about the importance of task lists and things like that and I’m just wondering whether that’s a logical thing to develop from the PDE role for the principle designer Building Safety Act role, because there does seem to be confusion as to what it entails. 

I suspect that nobody is going to explicitly say that yet, it will down to the industry to demonstrate that they’re following things. It seems to me that because of the fact that the PD is taking on that higher role, should they therefore have some sort of standard methodology that they will expect the other designers to follow? 

DEBBIE Yes, I mean they are responsible for it. Look at the word strategies, it starts with having to set the strategy for the design compliance process end to end, and the coordination of it, the planning of it, the communication of it, the collecting of evidence of it. That’s what the standard says. 

GEORGE And the collecting of evidence needs to probably be against an activity. Jarek, from an M&E point of view do you think that if you were working on a project your activities could be defined in that way that then a PD could audit against what you’re doing on that side of things? 

JAREK WITYK At MEP level we’ve got similar issues with assessing the capabilities and your maturity levels and basically every single discipline has its own requirements, but those capabilities are not clearly defined. There is various ways that people are trying to capture this, when I used to work in Winters we developed our internal mechanism (I can share that with you). What we tried to assess and tried to capture the current BIM requirements to assess capabilities of staff and organisation, but extension. But there is no clear definition at all as far as I know, so it’s very similar to what we’re just discussing here. 

DEBBIE I think the danger is that everyone feels there’s bits missing of the puzzle and therefore nobody starts, whereas I think that if we start with the core and then try and work this out is the way to do it. And in some areas there are other competence frameworks that help us and in other areas there just isn’t that, we’re going to have to interpret it from peoples’ knowhow or other guidance and information. 

JAREK WITYK In MEP I think the point of view is as long as you are capable to deliver compliance scheme, project or product, then you are competent. That itself is very grey. 

DEBBIE Yeah, but actually probably a lot of the compliance activities across disciplines, there will be a fair amount that are common. What are the common ones, let’s get those right first. And it really doesn’t help the way they lay these things out, even in taking the PAS and putting it into an Excel sheet, it makes it much clearer what you’re actually looking at. But they just love putting these things in PDF documents and writing these things in very odd formats. 

GEORGE Debbie, can you pull up that slide that Kemi was asking about so that we can look at the organisational and then the individual competency. 

DEBBIE It is different, and these words get muddled up. But when they first did the draft PAS for the 861 I commented on this and said you have to define these things. And they just leave people to figure out 8how they’re going to deal with the organisation versus the individual, but we could collectively provide some clearer support and guidance, if that’s what BIM4Housing want to take on. I haven’t touched at all today on where technology is a key enabler in this, but we can put some smart stuff on this to make this a lot easier for people. 

GEORGE Nick, what do you do? 

NICK TAYLOR I work for a property management company and we work at quite a high level with principal contractors and, in some cases, the actual principal designer. But we focus on fire safety, predominantly, and I’m responsible for ensuring competency through all of our actions, so obviously it’s relevant, just at a different level. The thing that this PAS brings up is that if you’re not competent you have to recognise that fact, so you’ve then got to go away and say I can’t do that yet, and i will come back when I can. 

GEORGE What happens if you don’t? 

NICK TAYLOR If you don’t, nothing, because nobody is watching over you, but if you were to get it wrong, I always look at it that if you were stood in front of the judge presenting your case, when you’ve finished presenting your case you should get the result of no further questions because you have demonstrated that you’ve done a good job. So you’ve got to have that in the back of your head when you’re setting up a process. 

DEBBIE Yeah, correct, and if you look at the PD PAS it’s a lot of process orientated stuff, which is why I’m saying to look at it from the capability level first and then go down to the individual layer for later, rather than doing it the other way round. It will be more efficient and also be stronger. 

NICK TAYLOR When I look at competency, one of the things that I find important is consistency. So whatever it is whenever you approach a project, a job however big or small. You do it in a consistent way, because that’s a real backbone of competency. And that’s also a useful, am I doing this as I’ve done it before, have I missed something, have I ticked all of the boxes. It's like having a list, how do I determine someone’s competency? It would be rally useful to properly define what that means for each person. 

DEBBIE And in doing that you’d also be naturally providing evidence against the behavioural competences. And in some ways some of the evidence out of other activities, you can infer that it has covered that behavioural competence. With competence, there is always an activity called inference, it’s part of what we do around competence. Behavioural competences don’t stand in splendid isolation from everything else, that’s not how we function as humans. And this is why it’s difficult because it’s to do with human activities at work and behaviours and it’s complex and messy and it’s constantly evolving. I’d be more than happy, George, to support trying to flesh some of this out further, if this is something that people find useful. I didn’t want to go into too much detail today, but we can easily produce templates for what should go in a decent profile for an individual, what should go in organisational capability statements etc. 

JAREK WITYK Because I think it’s relevant, I just wanted to quickly share my screen. I’ve built this template which you may find useful, I’m happy to share it, or if you provide me with the information I’m happy to build a similar template for that purpose we’re discussing. This is based on the assessment from that website, so that’s the idea, it comes from there. What I did, this is capability assessment or self-assessment for any organisation or MEP organisation and all roles are included. This is not the final document, but it’s pretty good. The way it works: you choose what your role or function is (let’s say project management), and then what’s your level (let’s say manager), and then a set of questions relevant to that function and your level appears and then you self-assess yourself based on this criteria that I explain in here. And you give answers, let’s say you fell competent. So you’ve got graphical representation of your assessment in that format (you can drag and drop), and then you’ve got a score at the end. 

I tried to use the gamification approach, so you have an overall score percentage which is calculated based on all the questions relevant to your role. And then by assessing yourself every year or quarter or half a year you can see progress. And obviously the questions, part of the questions are based on research, some of the questions are specific from feedback from within organisation, but that is based on my own research and feedback from only one single organisation, so it can be greatly improved. If you like the format, we could build something similar, or add to this. 

DEBBIE Yes, I think traceability to sources is important and also just saying some of these statements like ensure compliance with project standards, sometimes it could be little bit more fleshed out. Not everyone will necessarily interpret this in the same way. They’re good as questions, but the actual competence statement needs to be related to them and fleshed out underneath. Also I’d suggest, at the moment you’ve got five levels, which is good. Unfortunately from all of the working groups some have four levels, some have three, some have five levels which is annoying. The other thing then would be what else can people provide as evidence. The other thing is there should be something to do with your duties in here as well, specifically as a specific category, a separate kind of attribute here, and secondly related to types of building typologies. Let’s combine what e have and build that collectively, that’s the whole point of this. It’s very helpful, thank you. 

KEMI OGUNTOYE Jarek partly answered it because at the bottom of that self assessment he’s got a list of qualifications that are required, and actually my question was are there qualifications that the group can signpost members to. I assume most of them are still in development, but I think that’s the big question for a lot of the people that I’m working with. Which qualifications should we put our staff forward to if we feel there are development needs? 

DEBBIE There’s nothing in the PAS about qualifications. The other group would be to go to working group 1 to do with engineers or the other working group more to do with designers, see what they’ve produced in terms of their competence frameworks and guidance post-Grenfell. But I haven’t looked at those groups for a little while, there’s been a new project management competence framework that comes out, so it’s probably worth just doing an update on where all of these frameworks are. Some of them cover the qualification piece and some don’t, but it’s a fair question. It’s either that, or asking institutions, what is RIBA recommending here or whatever. And there’s different types, there’s also qualifications and also your professional status, which are two related things, but not the same. 

GEORGE Obviously we’ve tried to focus today on principal designer because that’s the topical area, but I noticed Jeremy…the reason I was asking Jeremy is that he’s involved with fire doors and the competency of fire door installers and inspectors has been very topical. Are there any other installers on inspectors on the call? 

NICK TAYLOR Yes, what do you want to know? Where it fits? 

GEORGE Yes, and I was just coming back to what Kemi was saying earlier about qualifications because it does seem to be quite a moveable feast, whether somebody is BM Trada or what level of qualification you’ve got. 

NIVK TAYLOR I’m an FDIS inspector, as well as all the other things I do. When you talk about a qualification it’s slightly challenging because FDIS is a third-party accredited body. so someone looks at my work and says it’s good, to a standard that they take to be good, so that puts me in good stead because someone can then look at me and say that person knows what they’re doing because someone else has told me that they do. When you come to how do you back that up with qualification, there is no formal qualification in the sense of GCSE, NVQ, A-Level, Degree to bring you to that. You get industry courses that can take anything from a few hours to a few weeks, but the way that I’ve come into it is through fire door manufacture, and through joinery. 

I’ve worked in joinery since leaving school and was involved in the 1980s/90s when the first round of developing an ordinary door, improving its fire resistance, was undertaken, right through to the latests doors of today. So, I know a lot about fire doors through the years and years of time spent doing it, but when I came to switch over to do inspection, it still took me 12 months of reading through legislation, building regulations, British standards etc to really be able to justify why I was saying that that door hadn’t got enough hinges, or that door wasn’t correct, or that door was correct. The qualification I’ve got that’s probably be the best one is through NEBOSH and fire risk assessment which enhanced my knowledge of fire risk within buildings to complement the knowledge I have on fire doors. 

GEORGE Richard, could you pull up the fire door guidance that we’ve been developing with Alan? The reason I’m raising this is that this has come out of a BIM4Housing working group, quite a lot of people have put effort into this, and I’m just wondering if something of this nature we could develop, building on what Jarek’s done. And if other people are interested in this as a topic we can set up a little workstream just to come up with something. 

EMMA JENKINS I work for Shellen, I’m a trainee sales and marketing administrator. Shellen manufacture fire safety doors. 

GEORGE (BIM4Housing document ‘Fire Door Inspections in Residential Buildings’ is displayed on screen). The purpose of this is that there’s lots of different ways that people apparently have been inspecting fire doors. This originally came out of work that was done for the NHS and what we’ve done is robbed that, with their acceptance and support, and applied it to resi. 

RICHARD There was an awful lot of additional material that came out of the meetings from hundreds of people. There’s quite a lot more depth than the initial health one. 

GEORGE In essence they broke it down into three different types of inspections: the inspection of a new door that’s just been installed; the inspection of a door that is existing, a type 2 inspection. Both of those are only every done once, they’re done to explicitly determine what the status and condition and what that door is. And then Type 3 survey inspection is the regular inspection that’s done every three months, six months or whatever. They’ve created examples of all of those different scenarios and how it should be followed, so how can you check to make sure that it’s up to scratch. The purpose of this as well is to show examples of issues.

DEBBIE Who and how is this being disseminated to? 

RICHARD We’ve only just finished it. It’s now formally published in electronic form on the 15th, and the plan being that it’s still actually a work in progress and we’ll be putting out hard copies after about three months, once we’ve had further comments and any tweaks that need doing. We’ve got about 300 on our BIM4Housing contact list of people engaged with us in the fire door arena, some 200-odd organisations and companies, so that’s the first port of call and they’ve actually already gone out. So that’s how it’s been disseminated thus far, any suggestions are very welcome. 

GEORGE I just thought that was a useful thing to show because it gives an indication of what can be done as a collaboration. I guess something like that for principal designers, with some examples, might be a useful thing. Adam, you thinking about that from Peabody’s perspective at the moment, would it help if some other organisations shared their ideas and maybe coordinate with that? 

ADAM HOPKINS it would be tremendously helpful. 

GEORGE I think at the moment people are really very unclear as to what the next step is. You’ve got principal designers who aren’t clear as to what’s going to be required of them, their insurers aren’t clear. You as a landlord, you’re trying to appoint people and there’s a lack of clarity there as well, so it’s something that would be valuable if we can do it. I’m just trying to think of the best way of achieving that. 

DEBBIE I’d be very interested if anyone could provide some example job descriptions or role profiles of principal designers that they currently have. The first thing to do is to be taking whatever you’ve got and matching it to what’s in the PAS, to see those initial gap in duties. If you haven’t got the word design compliance in our job description for a principal designer, then you’re way off the work. The first thing to do is to ensure your duty statements are right in anybody’s job description at the moment, that’s the first task you have to do. 

ADAM HOPKINS We don’t have anything that we’d be in a position to share, but the way that we’re approaching it at the moment, and this is based  on feedback that we’ve received from people who are anticipating on being able to act as a principal designer on our projects, the way we’er approaching it is to broadly align it to what the regulations say and then just augment it with Peabody specific process layered over the top of that responds to our kind of governance in the way that we run projects. 

The rationale behind that is because the feedback that we got from the principal designers is that their insurers would be quite resistant to anything that modified or was deemed to make the regulatory duties more onerous. I think they were essentially saying we’re going to probably have to default to standard wording in terms and conditions. We need to test what we’ve written on them when we’re in a position to, but we don’t even know if what we’re drafting will be acceptable. They might kick it straight back and go, no, no, no, it’s going to be our Ts & Cs and we’re just gonna point to the regs and you just appoint this in writing and that’s that, basically. It’s very early days, but as an approach that’s what we’re looking at. 

DEBBIE Well, maybe we need to include insurers in this discussion, but secondly is that including what’s written in the PAS? Or only direct to the Act and guidance? 

GEORGE The other point is the regs, I wasn’t quite sure what you meant there, Adam. Is there something in the regulations that defines what the principal designers role is? 

ADAM HOPKINS Only it Part 2A where it defines the duties generally and then additional duties of the principal designer.

DEBBIE Which is reflected in the PAS.

ADAM HOPKINS Exactly, I think we would probably, at the very least, reference the PAS. I don’t know whether we would seek to strip out great sections and passages from that and put it into scope because then it might become unwieldy. 

DEBBIE It’s interesting in the Excel sheet, I need to count out how many statements it was, but your probably only talking about 40-50 statements. You wouldn’t necessarily want to put, and they’re hierarchical, so some of those could be aggregated. 

GEORGE For what it’s worth, Adam, one of the things I’m concerned about is that all too often what we’re doing is just trying to transfer risk but referencing a standard that somebody may or may not read. Whereas what Debbie’s saying there, if we could actually have something that’s explicit then it means that it can be more easily managed, if that’s possible. 

JON CUMBERLIDGE Just to add my perspective as a regulator. From 1st October last year those duty holder regimes came in. It’s not my job as a regulator to assess the competence of people, however I can, survey contravention notice for being in breach if something goes wrong onsite, under the basis of them not being competent. But if someone said ask me know what does evidence of that look like, I have no idea and neither does any regulator, whether they’re local authority, private sector, or even the building safety regulator. So we’re generally hanging on for maybe the RIBA guide to give a bit more guidance. The BSR did say they were going to publish some guidance before Christmas, but it didn’t happen. So from my perspective a working group that could try and bring some sort of standardisation, some sort of industry recognised standard to this, would be fantastic because we are all in the dark at the moment. 

DEBBIE Jon, is it just me is that we had this interim industry competence committee we didn’t have a clue what they were doing and nothing was publicised or in the public domain. And now we have the industry competence committee, but it the last two HSE updates on BSR, again (apart from building control) nothing on the competence piece. It seems to all…what the hell is everyone doing? 

JON CUMBERLIDGE Yeah, September was the last statement we had from them as a group, and nothing since. It feels very much at the moment that the building safety regulator and the government have put this out there and they want to see how the industry reacts. They don’t have the answers, they want us to come up with the answers from them. You’ve got the law, we’re not going to tell you what to do, you know what you should be doing, go away and see what it looks like. And that’s the challenge that’s been given to us. 

DEBBIE I think we can do this, it needs technology. But to do it properly we’ll need some funding at some point, but it can be done. The key is going back to the point that Adam was saying about the insurance, if you can show clear traceability to the regulations, other guidance, the PAS and all the rest in what you’re doing, that would be helpful, but you need to have all of this stuff in machine readable format. To start with, George, we should scope what we’re trying to achieve and agree that and then break it down. We can’t bit this all off in one go. And then what kind of people we need involved, if we could get an insurer like AXA, I know they’re very active in this area at the moment, or others, and understanding what satisfies them is an important perspective. 

GEORGE I know Tina Jolliffe from Consort. She does a lot of PI insurance for different people, so she might be a useful person to contribute. She’s a broker. I think we could get Tina to probably contribute some time. Jon, by the sound of it, that’s something you’d be interested in? 

JON CUMBERLIDGE Yeah, absolutely. 

GEORGE Kemi, would you be up for that? 

KEMI OGUNTOYE Yes, my colleague couldn’t make it today, so I’m here on behalf of him. So I think there’s some stuff we might be able to share, but I also need to double check. But yes, I would be. 

JAREK WITYK I would be up for it. 

RICHARD Put your name in the chat, and then we won’t lose it. 

GEORGE And we’ll set up a session. This initial one would be a scoping exercise for what we think would be useful. And then we can work out a plan. OK, has anybody else got any other observations? 

JAREK WITYK We started doing this infographic to capture the process of establishing whether the building is the high risk building or not, and all of the legislation associated with and so on. So this is in progress, we had a few comments, it’s great and improving. If any of you here would like to contribute that would be highly appreciated. (shares screen).  I'll send the link in the chat and you can just comment on it. I don’t think you need to be registered, if something doesn’t work just give me a shout. So, we’re building a process map to establish whether the building can be considered as a higher-risk building and then what you should do after. This is just a really high level overview, you can see there’s some comments made and based on the comments its improving, the whole process. It’s very much a work in progress, there might be stuff which is wrong, but we’re trying to capture all of the errors. But again, if you see any errors, problems, that comment would actually be more valuable than advice. 

GEORGE This has come on a long way.

DEBBIE Wonderful, very useful. I’m happy to comment. In fact, we could use this to also help shape our scope. 

GEORGE And ti records who contributed. 

JAREK WITYK Yes it does, and I keep track of all of the changes, you can read them, and all of the comments are retained. You can be added as a user and edit if you want to. At the moment everyone is just as a guest with the ability to comment only. 

GEORGE Ron, where are you from?

RON BURNS I’m from William Cox. 

RICHARD Ron, dos this meeting give you some understanding of why we don’t just look to the standards? 

RON BURNS I’m still piecing it together, I’m not a believer that we should stay far away from the standards. 

GEORGE I don’t think we are. What we’re saying is that it’s how to actually interpret and act on the standards. 

RON BURNS That’s fine for this process. I was looking more towards the specifics on the equipment certification. It’s not a discussion for this forum. 

RICHARD George, Ron replied back to the four questions, and I just thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. 

DEBBIE I’ll send you the updates slides, George, and a couple of comments and we can have a follow-up. 

RICHARD We’ll keep everybody posted you’ll receive a highpoints and a video of the meeting. As the next meeting that George is arranging progresses we’ll let you know how that goes and you’l still get invites for that even if you haven’t put your name in the chat. 


[11:59] Jarek Wityk

the five levels of competency in my template is based on the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition.

[12:00] Debbie 

Jarek competency concerns acquisition, application, appreciation & depreciation

[12:00] Kemi Oguntoye

I agree, I should have perhaps said qualification and training. 

[12:03] Jeremy Malet (Guest)

Theres a lot of discussion around organisation and individual competence, which both should be considered when appointing contractors so that the organisation  is 3rd party certified but its installers should have competence such as level 3 passive qualifications.