RICHARD We’ve got another four sessions next week, so we thought it would a good idea to run through with the development group what we’ve done so far and then maybe you can give us a steer on what we’re getting right or wrong and to add some input as well. The first question: how do we prevent incorrect design selection and installation of fire safety products? The overall considerations are competence, online register and the role of the insurers. These are the highpoint notes which have been attached to each section, we’ve highlighted any kind of answer. We didn’t get hows to everything, but to some. If we have a national occupational standard for a particular trade then ultimately that could be the accepted recognition that you’ve got these standards.

Chris Hall was saying that basically the training and setting up the standards and qualifications for this is all under one through the ASFP, they’ve been working with the IFS and have created a Fire Sector Safety Group. And then looking to publish standards on competency and then working on designer basically he’s saying that it’s in process and it’s going to be another year. Assessing everyone’s individual and organisational capacity to act as a designer and specifically looking at fire safety as a bespoke element of design work. So that’s something they’re actually doing themselves, Sarah Stevenson’s company. Chris Hall reiterating, we’re working on design competency as we speak.

The latest thinking that we’re doing is linking task-based activities to continuous updates of competency built upon those frameworks and qualifications. Maintaining an online register recording responsible competent individuals and their decisions will be part of the how to fulfil that first section of the question. Again, Chris Hall, the ASFP scheme will include a registration as well. George spoke on behalf of Alistair Brockett who said it would be a good idea to encourage the use of the LPC (Loss Prevention Council). Has anybody got any comments on that? That’s all around the competency side of this issue. Basically Chris Hall is saying that it’s in hand and Sarah Stevenson is saying this is what we’re doing already, while it’s in hand. They’ve gone quite a way along the path for validating competency.

The last part of that was around utilising insurance companies. How do we do that? We talk to them. George, you’re already doing that.

GEORGE Yes, we’re speaking with specialist brokers. We’re trying to work with them to see what information is likely to be accepted by the actuaries. So we’ve got three specialist insurance brokers involved in that. Any suggestions on that would be welcome.

RICHARD We’ll move on to the second thing which was considerations at planning stage. This is around contractual agreements and planning and design. Will Cousins talking in terms of design & build, what he did recently was a two-stage tender with a PCSA, so it’s going to be design and then build. If I remember correctly the meeting was pretty unanimous in saying that that’s the way that it’s going to be and it’s going to have to go in that direction. Will Cousins again, in terms of the contract, we basically don’t get in to a contract until you get you gateway 2 submission, so we’ve got a year tender process. Is that longer than it would normally be? Or is that a reasonable amount of time?

PAUL ECCLES (Peabody Housing) There is a government procurement guidance with a foreword by Judith Hackitt, it came out just over a year ago, that says that when you go into a build contract you want to try and get the PC involved as early in the design stage as possible, so they can support the PDs in identifying the challenges in the construction of that design. I can circulate the link to that, it’s on the government website.

GEORGE What do you do at Peabody? Are you in design or project management?

PAUL ECCLES I’m a Health & Safety Manager. Before we amalgamated I was Health & Safety Manager and did fire safety as well for business. So, since Grenfell I was running around like a two-headed dog, as you ca imagine, until they recruited some more.

RICHARD New contractual forms will arise over requirements in the Building Safety Act. This was Chris Hall saying that basically to some extent it’s going to be organic because it will happen out of necessity rather than someone actually taking a positive decision to do it.

GEORGE We’ve been working through this now for almost a year and some of changes that are going to have to be brought in by the new legislation are profound. And the point that that’s covering is basically the change in PCSAs and design & build because contractor design portion is something that needs to be done before gateway 2. The significance of that is fundamental as far as procurement is concerned. And what was interesting from that meeting that we had last week on this is that Will Cousins from Metropolitan Thames Valley said that that’s what they’re doing now.

David Poat from Notting Hill Genesis said that they’re also discussing that at the moment and we’re also finding in the market place main contractors are also moving that way because the risk is just too high to go into construction without the design being nailed because that could have a massive impact on delays. Has anybody else got any experience? Is that something, Paul, that you’ve heard that Peabody are doing?

PAUL ECCLES We’re just about starting our first tall building projects under BSA, so we’re still finding our way along the line, like most people (including the Regulators). But the challenges we’ve got in procurement and appointing the right people is mostly around the PD for building regs. Because there is no history, there is nothing to base our benchmark on, it’s our best endeavours in trying to get that sorted. And unfortunately, we’ve got a design & build contractor involved in that and their view is to try and get the tendering process done two weeks before submission is OK, and I don’t think it is. I think it’s going to be a lot of delays on that one, but we’ve got to wait and see what goes on.

We’re working with the Regulators as closely as we can, but the whole procurement process is up in the air because there’s new law as well now that came in October last year, the new procurement regulations and that comes into effect in October this year. For me as a health & safety practitioner I base all of my procurement assessments, because I’m also CHAS trained, on CHAS assessments, so I’m looking at health & safety, compliance and competence to carry out the work. And that’s sightly different from what other people in the process are looking at and understand, so it’s best if we talk amongst ourselves and try and get the best ideas, if we’ve got experience with Regulators, as to what the Regulator is thinking and doing because I don’t think they have a firm idea yet.

GEORGE That’s definitely the purpose of these sessions and that was the context in which I was asking whether people were aware of what we’re doing. We’re going to be feeding the outputs from this back to the Regulator because at the moment the Regulators aren’t going to be explicit in terms of what they are wanting. So they’re expecting the industry to come up with it, and I think that’s the only way that it’s going to work, but the industry, there isn’t a coordinated view. To my knowledge, we as BIM4Housing are the only ones who are actually doing this, so that’s why we’ve picked these particular topics. I think what would be very useful is when we finish this you’ll find it very interesting to read the notes that people like David Poat and Will and others have made on this. And obviously any contributions that you could make would be very welcome. Have we got another developers on?

RICHARD Considerations at design stage. So, in terms of planning and design, product information standards, risk assessment and quality assurance.

GEORGE One of the comments there is that there is concern about manufacturers becoming seen as designers. We need to get them involved earlier, but it’s got to be in a context where they don’t end up with design responsibility. And I guess that’s what Paul’s saying, the principal designer is such a critical role in this.

JESSICA WARD I’m a programme manager at A2Dominion Housing Association. I was going to chip in, where to start, interesting listening to the conversation around the principal designer. we have architects that we work quite closely with who’ve positioned themselves and demonstrated competency by being signed up to the RIBA approved list form PD and thinks like that. We’ve also got design & build projects and contractors who are gathering their architects that they can work with to provide that PD role, so it’s not all being approached in the same way.

But I would say that with regard to the product suppliers we do have a large cladding remediation project where this has become a bit of an issue where the product manufacturers have been very engaging on the systems that we’re going to use. It’s a big enough project for them to offer a lot of design support, but when push comes to shove are they going to provide the warranties for that? That’s a whole different board game.

RICHARD This next point is around using digital tools. In terms of integration of products and assets that will be largely done through classification and structure of the information so that systems are properly classified and the asset types that are part of the systems are properly classified so that they can be properly integrated.

GEORGE I think that is an answer to the question. Part of the challenge that we’re being asked to consider is how we’re going to be glueing all of this stuff together. What I’m saying there is that if we follow the detail of how things should be properly classified and structured it all comes together. The question is is that being policed? And therefore we need to improve the process of really ensuring that people are held to account on that because if something hasn’t been properly classified - I don’t mean just the product, but how it’s being used in the building, so spaces have got classification, systems have got classifications. So rather than using just the description that somebody happens to put in the BIM model, actually the classification enables it to be glued together.

Just to explain that we had somebody on who’s one of the specialists in product information and GS1 and that type of classification. So he was talking extensively about having unique identifiers, which I agree with.

RICHARD The key that holds this peg together in terms of this information thread regarding maintenance information, basically everything, again it needs to be this unique identifier, because there is nothing to tie it back to otherwise, which I think makes sense. Has anybody got anything to add to that section? OK, this section was around installation stage. The point is a thorough risk assessment is essential to optimal installation. Does anybody disagree with that? OK, installation: Mandatory installation accreditation should be implemented. Any disagreement on that one?

GEORGE Is there anybody on the call, John Morrow, I think you’ve been on some of these sessions?

JOHN MORROW Yeah, quite a few of them.

GEORGE I’m just wondering if there’s people on the call who’ve already contributed to this…we’re bringing together expertise, we’ve had over 100 people look at these and we’ve got a really good set of information. But obviously before we send it through to DLUHC we want to make sure that you’ve all had the chance to comment on them.

RICHARD Also, we didn’t finish all of the questions, like this one. The second part, mandatory installation accreditation should be implemented. So the question is how.

EDWARD COSTER I wasn’t going to answer that question, but it was more about actually we need some kind of framework around how exactly do we record all of this. Because we’re going to do all of these things, but we need some sort of agreed protocol to say this is what we’re going to record, that’s very important to wrap around all of this. And then when it comes to accreditation, we’re going to apply similar frameworks to the one’s we have in place for product testing and quality control. And there are installer schemes already in place, in many sectors, not just fire safety and it’s about how do we mandate those. Do we go down the gas route, the electrical route, where you can’t work on these things unless you’ve got the ticket. There’s accreditation systems in place for fire stopping.

RICHARD for fire door installation there is accreditation now.

EDWARD COSTER Yeah, they’re not mandatory in that same way that working on a gas appliance is, it’s mandatory to be a member of one of those installer schemes and likewise for electrical works, Part P works. It would require legislation if it’s going to be mandatory.

GEORGE BM Trada is one example of that, Richard.

RICHARD No, I’m thinking of your story of the new build, they inspected the fire doors that had been installed and 75% of them didn’t pass. So that’s why I was querying about the accreditation, does it actually work?

JOHN MORROW We normally within our ERs and…procurement documentation, that’s one of our requirements for fire door installations, but then as part of that process we use a third-party assessor to look at the actual installation. Because we’ve gone with some of the largest providers across the country with door sets that have primary test certification and we have still found issues. I can think of one scheme where 70% of the door sets were not up to scratch, there were issues. And yet they were with a supposedly accredited installers.

GEORGE Yeah, part of the issue that I’ve certainly heard criticism of is, for example, BM Trada, I’ve no idea if that’s a good scheme or not, but it’s obviously widely implemented. But the person that’s actually doing the install doesn’t need any accreditation, they need to work with somebody that does have it.

JOHN MORROW That’s what happens in reality, that’s what we found because installers have to be accredited, BM Trada being one, then this instance that I’m referring to, that was exactly the case. But I think what the reality is on the ground, as used to happen with gas installations, you’d have fitters carrying out the install and then one licensed individual signing the commissioning certification on all 20-40 installations and a similar thing is happening here with the doors. Because the quality of workmanship on the scheme I’m referring to was shockingly bad.

REBECCA FRANKS I agree because we’ve been working with our contractor to get them BM Trada accredited and what I’ve found out through the process, one accredited installer can then oversee 20 installers underneath them. So they can’t get round and monitor 20, obviously BM Trada seem to think they can, but that’s one of the problems we’re encountering, it’s subject to who fits the doors. And that’s where the problems lie because it’s too broad.

PENCHO STUDENKOV I previously mentioned this obviously in our specification we actually specify how many…one supervisor, the number of operatives that they can actually supervise. We’ve already put that in place as a contractual agreement. And just to mention it’s not just fire doors, it’s all across the fire stopping as well, so PFP accreditations. I’ve actually seen situations where there’s operative with zero background in fire stopping and just because they’ve been put on a training list it’s allowed by the accreditation body to actually operate and to install fire stopping products, not even supervised onsite on that day.

But I think what we’ve done, obviously it’s not a very proactive kind of approach, is just to specify those individual requirements through that training matrix. So we specify specifically what it is that we want from the company accreditation point of view, but also individuals. So we have a set of specific requirements for the supervisors, all sorts of training and accreditation they need to meet and then obviously we have every single person from that chain onboard.

GEORGE I had a discussion with Land Securities about this a couple of weeks ago and what my contact was saying is that he’s now trying to build into all of their projects, there’s an inspection. He told me that the fire door installation has got to be inspected by a third-party afterwards. He wants to bring forward the fire door inspection, the independent third-party should be doing the inspection before handover. And he’s getting pushback from his procurement people because that’s increasing the price and he’s obviously trying to stand up to that fact. Does that make any sense with anybody?

JOHN MORROW There is definitely a cost implication for that. That’s what we’ve done previously to resolve issues, the fact that it’s underwritten by a third-party brings a certain level of assurance but in every instance where we’ve procured their services where we haven’t been able to do it within out our own, we’ve got specialist fife safety surveyors. We've always found issues and it’s always been very difficult to get to resolve issues, one to acknowledge them and then to resolve them. Obviously we won’t take occupation as part of the FRA process, so we wouldn’t take occupation without them matters being resolved, but it’s difficult.

GEORGE But to answer this particular point which seems to be a common problem if, for example, most developers like you and obviously Peabody and I don’t know where you’re from, Rebecca.

REBECCA FRANKS I’m in local government, I’m a building safety manager for Hull City Council and I’ve managed 23 buildings now.

GEORGE so if it became a recommendation through our community that there ought to be a third-party inspection of every installation, then that could make it easier for people like the guy from Land Securities to get that through. Because it becomes best practice because beset practice is what people should be working towards. Does that make any sense?

REBECCA FRANKS It does, the problem is if you’ve got an accredited installer undertaking the works then in theory you shouldn’t need a third-party to go singing off accredited works. That’s one of the things we were working with and that’s what I’ve developed because we had door installers which were just joiners, but then we had a third-party coming in and signing off each individual door, so that’s why we’ve gone down the BM Trada accredited route. It’s only going through that process that I found only three people in the organisation now are accredited, but they’re managing trades people underneath them. It’s too what extent I agree with it and I like the idea of a third-party sign-off, it’s just what competence level will they have to have to be able to do that sign-off?

PENCHO STUDENKOV I’d like to echo Rebecca and say that yesterday I had completed a fire door desktop review for our scheme and I noticed that the IFC certification scheme that is the S4 certification scheme. And what’s interesting in the scheme is that they are sending auditors to audit the contractor to some random site inspections and I’ve received the report and this is the first time i’ve actually seen this kind of level of details in the report. Not just inspecting the workmanship, but more crucially the certification, whether or not the door installing onsite is the door that has been specified and it aligns with the certification for that door.

But I think the third-party accreditation, maybe we can actually specify that we need those kind of audits to see that they’re actually being audited, because what is the point of having a third-party installer if we’re not 100% sure that they’re actually doing their job, if the supervisor is not doing their job with the operatives not recording what’s they’re supposed to be recording. so a little bit more strict specifications: this is what we need, these are the approval accreditation schemes and we already know that if the contractor is to that scheme they will capture this kind of level of detail. They are acquired to produce reports at the end of the installation, capturing before and after photos and all of the level of details.

RICHARD From the answers we’ve had further up the page, that accreditation is in process, it’s happening but it’s just not there yet.

GEORGE That type of thing is going to make it a lot easier for the principal designer and principal contractor to satisfy their responsibilities. And the insurers.

RICHARD Absolutely, and that organisation that Chris was talking about is working on design accreditation as well now. OK, there’s just one little thing at the bottom that installers should use digital tools to ensure easy access to installation guides.

EDWARD COSTER A quick one on that, and it carries on from the point that Pencho made which is actually what we need to see is their mandatory scheme which are UKAS accredited so that they meet a certain standard with the right kind of audits in place. That’s the key bit because I’m very aware there are some organisations out there that present themselves as accreditation services, but they’re really not because they don’t maintain any real level of standards, other that you pay them money and they’ll say that you have been trained and certified to install fire stopping products.

RICHARD Question 2: how do we ensure that the incomplete building services design does not impact construction? The overall considerations on this were around stakeholder engagement, as in timely engagement of stakeholders, utilising technology such as 3D modelling, conducting gap analyses, and also technology dealing with competency and compliance management. And the third section was on simplifying fire safety regulations. The first thing is a clear project timetable, one would think that would be self-evident, but possibly not. It’s accepting that things are going to cost, to actually implement everything thats’s set down in the legislation and guidance, it’s going to cost to do it properly. And there’s got to be a recognition by the industry that there is going to be a cost involved and it’s as simple and complicated as that. Basically the solution is in the technology. It’s like what you were saying, Rebecca, but with a slightly different slant: if the technology is there and it’s good, why do you need third-party assessors? George, why don’t you answer that question?

GEORGE I can’t see how technology is actually going to…this is about incomplete building services design. I’m just looking at the context of that.

RICHARD Yeah, so that’s not really the technology that’s going to complete that, it’s just going to make it available what’s been done.

GEORGE Yeah, I think Peter misunderstood, because he doesn’t come from this industry, he comes from oil and gas. I think part of the principle here is that the building services element, if the building services design isn’t completed before, for example, compartmentation is installed (I’m talking about dry lining and the like), the builders work holes probably will be in the wrong place or the wrong size. Os the solution to this particular common conundrum is that the building services design needs to be completed before construction work starts. So I don’t think technology is a solution to this.

RICHARD Yeah, it’s a tool, it’s not an end result.

PAUL ECCLES Since Grenfell we’ve been photograph evidence of every passive fire protection measures, fire doors, everything onto Boris or Bolster. That’s fantastic, it gives you evidence that it’s all done properly, but when you’re reviewing it to make sure that it’s compliant it takes a lot of manpower and resources to do that. Technology is only great if you’ve got somebody to check that it’s actually correct and I don’t think AI is up to that at the moment. The main fundamental problem is not necessarily the evidence, it’s having confidence in your contractors. We’ve been talking about third-party accreditations, that’s great but as long as you’ve got an industry that operates on a very low profit margin and crucial things get hidden during construction there’s an opportunity to cut corners to save money. And until that is resolved we’re still going to have this problem.

JOHN MORROW We’ve found that even with our very highest performing contractors with regards to PFP passive fire stopping arrangements, they still need careful management. There’s no room for us to take a slightly more relaxed approach that we’ve realised, you still need resource to do that.

GEORGE The other challenge I’d imagine is that when you’re engaging with the contractor, John, you’re probably dealing with the main contractor. The main contractor would then subcontract things like building services and then the building services contractor would then subcontract some of the installation work and even the fire stopping. So you can lose the connection there, can’t you?

JOHN MORROW Yeah, and that loss of connection is a loss of control, so we can make observations and suchlike, but we’ve got no control over it, that’s the difficulty.

RICHARD What Peter goes on to say which is again around accreditation and competence is that competence is a continuum. It’s not something that you take a test and that’s it because a) you forget things and b) things change. He’s saying that the linking of compliance with competency and with the management of risk in one technology platform is an elegant way of possibly dealing with that. George, would you agree with that?

GEORGE I don’t agree with the one technology platform. I think Peter was saying that, with the greatest respect, it’s because he is selling a technology. I’m a technology provider as well, but I wouldn’t recommend that somebody just uses one technology platform. Because as Paul said there is a range of different software applications that are very good at doing certain things, the problem is how they interface with each other. Bolster is a good example of that.

RICHARD Does anyone disagree with what George is saying around one technology platform? (there is no response). Basically it’s about the standardisation of the way that data is held, so it’s interoperable. People will be using different software applications for different purposes and what we need to do is to make sure that there is an adequate and robust ecosystem. And again, back to the unique reference number, just like having a VIN number, each building, not just the assets, but each building has a unique reference number provided by the local council. So that any information can be stored under that unique reference number.

GEORGE Could I ask a question on this, the UPRNs, there’s obviously quite a few developers and owners on the call. The UPRNs as a term is managed by the Ordnance Survey nationally for all properties. Housing associations also use the term UPRN and I wanted to check whether it is the case that that’s completely abstract from the Ordnance Survey UPRNs, or whether there is some sort of alignment there.

PETE PATON I’ve worked for several housing providers and the use of we’ll call it the statutory UPRN is not consistent across all organisations. Some organisations when they use the term mean the unique property reference number that their housing system has given that dwelling/block and there can be different UPRNs obviously for both the apartments and the blocks. Some organisations do use the statutory UPRN, so there is a level of inconsistency and also a level of sometimes misunderstanding because some individuals who are familiar with the statutory UPRN assume that the UPRN is indeed the statuary one when, on occasion, it’s not. So your statement is correct in that there is no consistency and there is no mandatory or statutory requirement for housing providers to use that, they can use their own reference number that’s on their housing management of asset management system. It brings a lot of inconsistency, especially where the fire services are using the statutory UPRN and then they’re presented with a stock list and they don’t match and then you’ve got to explain why they’re different. The VIN number comment is exactly that, if the organisations and the software providers indirectly linked to the statuary UPRN then we’d be in an easier place.

EDWARD COSTER That’s exactly my experience as well, so I think that’s probably fairly common. Some organisations use the national UPRN number and some don’t, and they use their own internal numbers and there’s all the confusion around that. A lot of people don’t realise that there is a national system.

RICHARD Why do they do that? Surely if there is a national system it makes sense to use it.

EDWARD COSTER It’s beyond me. I don’t know all of the workings of it, my suspicion is that it might have been clunky at times. Unlike a lot of other government systems, maybe this one didn’t work very well.

PETE PATON And I imagine the statutory address list, there is a time lag between that being set up and the construction phase and completion phase of a set of buildings. Don’t start me on the meter point reference numbers as well and their lack of association with the UPRN. I suspect that there might well be some form of royalty that needs to be paid in order to use the statutory UPRN number, that’s just a suspicion, not a fact. That might be a reason that influences the use.

RICHARD OK, this comes out to George’s point about the building services design not being complete when construction starts. The design itself needs to be completed earlier and then the information about the products that are going to be used needs to be simple to be able to drop into the evolving design. And Peter again says that use a methodology, digital stage case and again about the continuum, this time the golden thread in the construction projects has also to go through stage gates. There needs to be clarity for what is being used in overall design because to actually change the standards is an exceptionally long process.

So, this is around British standards and best practice and guidance and the consistent use of same. One thing we could perhaps be doing is looking more at scenarios so that we can see which of the building regs is relevant at which stage. You spoke about Regulation 38 which is one of the key ones, which determines which asset types are critical ones.

GEORGE What we found over the last few years is the best way of getting knowledge exchange from people is to actually give them a scenario and ask them to use what they know to resolve the issues in that scenario. So that’s a part of what we’re saying there. Giving them a problem and then applying their knowledge to come up with the solution.

RICHARD Paul’s saying we should be looking at changing the regulations, but we might need to simplify the guidance. To simplify the guidance, do you think that is a good idea?

REBECCA FRANKS I think it’s a good idea.

EDWARD COSTER I think perhaps the distinction needs to be made between making it clearer because it should only be as simple as it needs to be. Simple guidance is great if we’ve got simple buildings.

JOHN MORROW That’s the important part, it’s clarity as opposed to simplifying as dumbing down. But clarity is better.

RICHARD This is consideration at design stage, so we’re talking about understanding the designers duties and responsibility. Well-structured planning and design processes which is echoing something earlier. The importance of a complete design, how to prevent design issues and complete service design for better outcomes. We need to map it, that’s pretty clear. we need to have a more structured methodology of roles and responsibilities. George, do you want to expand on that?

GEORGE So, what we’re really trying to do is we’re recognising that the principal designer isn’t designing everything and the principal contractor isn’t building everything. So what a couple of the PDs that I’ve been talking to have said is that they’re looking for a more structured way of saying what’s expected…if an architect is the PD, they’re not the experts in structure, so therefore there needs to be some sort of mechanism whereby they can provide the assurance to the PD to the fact that they’ve carried out work and also that it’s compliant with building regs. So there needs to be some method of doing that. I don’t know if there’s any designers on that call who are looking to provide that role. To some extent, this is what Paul was saying earlier, if he’s talking to people. There is now a duty of care on clients to ensure that the PDs are competent, so how do you go about doing that?

RICHARD That’s the question, that’s what this document is all about, the how.

PETE PATON It’s a topic that is getting a lot of time at the moment and there are organisations. First of all, on the client side, I’m not a provider of the design details and we’ve been knocking on RIBA’s door. You’ll know that RIBA has a course out at the moment on PD associated with the building regs and so do the Building Safety Regulator.There was one that was subscribed within 48 hours and was fully attended and I think the next one is later on this year. The RIBA folks have issued a toolbox to help you navigate through that process. I’m doing the course at the moment, not because I want to be a principal designer, but because I want to understand the process as well as I can.

There are views that ? 1hr 6mins 50 secs are more aligned with architectural practices and there are views that the duty is better aligned with the PC and the PC then subcontracts that out to a relevant competent practice. So getting back to your question, how do you do that. I understand that the legal position is that you are that the client is expected to carry out due diligence to determine that the organisation that’s providing that service of PD under the B regs has organisational competence. And if the Building safety Regulator was in the room he or she would say that you determine competence in the same way as you do for any other duty. And they will use the words, you’ve got to consider that they have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours.

Which is a bit of a challenge because this is a new duty. It’s not completely unfamiliar territory in checking competence, but it’s purely about…I’ll put it clearly rather than simply, but it’s simple to me in my head and that is check that the organisation has the skills, check that they have the experience, check that they have the knowledge and document that. In the same way as if you’re appointing a gas engineering organisation to carry out your gas services for the next five years. That’s a standard process during the tendering process, but of course the Regulator is expecting you to do that at the outset and also during the course so that if there are any material changes within your organisation, as a client you’re making sure that those changes aren’t having a detrimental effect on the competence.

So let’s pretend that it’s been provided by two individuals within an organisation and they leave. Does that mean the organisation still has the competence. Well, yes if they appoint someone else within that organisation that carries out the organisational duty to the contract and to the client. So simply, it’s a case of checking those four things and evidencing that and reviewing it regularly, in the same ways you would for your old gas engineers. The organisation has got the engineers with the competence and it’s the same engineers that are doing that work during the course of a contract which could last for 2, 5, of the development could last for 2, 5, 15 years depending on the scale of the scheme.

So, clearly that’s the best clear way I can put it, in the same way as you’d consider any other professional appointment and determine the competence. And of course sometimes that has been because they’re the organisations that we’ve worked with for the past 10 years, we trust them and we know their practice, we know the individuals and off we go. The expectation now with the Regulator in the room is to evidence that that step has been taken and that you’re regularly checking it to make sure that it’s still as valid midway during the contract as it was at the outset.

JOHN MORROW We’ve been reviewing that circumstance ourselves and that is kind of the approach that we’re taking because we’ve got a compliant framework of contractors and consultants and we’re assessing the organisational competencies at that initial stage. And then assessing the project team members at the individual contract stage as well. We haven’t got as far as the checks that we should be undertaking during the construction phase to capture any changes, the personnel changes and such like. So that’s the approach that we’re currently looking at.

RICHARD So what we’re seeing is everybody is doing it slightly different, people have different approaches to actually getting round these issues. You’ve got to be compliant so you follow the rules but it’s a question of how you do it and that seems to be varying a lot.

GEORGE It would be interesting, Pete, to delve into that a little bit more. One of our long standing contributors to BIM4Housing is Steve Coppin. He ran the training courses for CIOB until very recently and he’s stepped down from that because he doesn’t agree with the way they’re doing it. And what he said is that this is a problem with all of the institutions in that they’re certifying and providing training for the individuals, but not for the companies. It’s understandable because RIBA’s members are the individuals, but if you’re working for a company then no matter how good your competence and how diligent you are unless the culture is right within the organisation that doesn’t work either. So I’d be interested to know a little bit more.

PETE PATON Yeah, and I think many organisations are trying to find their way with it and of course the Regulator won’t state that this is the way that you should run your business and this is the way that you should establish competence. Because they’ll take the view, and rightly so, that we have organisational expertise and that aspect of it to know how to do it. And I’ll use the same analogy about the gas engineer, the gas engineer is individually competent through his Gas Safe qualification. And that sits with the individual, not with the organisation, but as you say there’s got to be organisational competence. And as John touched on what we’re trying to do is map that process out to make sure that we can demonstrate that we’ve got a policy, a standard operating procedure in place that navigates that route and allows us to make sure that we can demonstrate the competence should we be called to demonstrate that that step took place.

So it’s straightforward to me. I think what we’re also going to bump into is where principal contractors and professional practices that are going to offer that service separately. Can position the appropriate level of insurance that clients are comfortable with under their standing orders and financial regs and insurance requirements under any tendering and pre-award arrangements. John mentioned that he’s looking at the framework arrangement, I’m about to reach out to a procurement team and ask if they will reach out to the existing procurement framework members and ask them if they can do a poll of those contractors and practices that are on the frameworks and ask which of them are prepared to provide the PDE duty on a consultancy basis or an appointment basis.

Because as John will have known the existing procurement frameworks doesn’t feature PD under the building regs because a lot of the framework arrangements were set up prior to that. Great if you look for a generic fire engineer, a general consultancy, if you’re looking for design support, yeah, you’ll get it because that’s an established process. Whereas this relatively new PD building regs duty hasn’t quite made it to the procurement framework.

Also the JTC’s suite of contracts will be updated and issued on the 17th of April. I’m certainly interested to see what degree of inclusion of the new building safety obligations and the secondary legislation duties will be incorporated in that. I’ve not seen a pre-release of it. I’m aware that you can purchase a hard copy of the changes, but I believe that the changes document won’t be available digitally. That can be pre-ordered for it to arrive on the 18th of April. That may cater for the PD aspect of it as well and may cater for many other aspects of it, but I don’t know yet.

GEORGE One of the things that’s worth mentioning is that I spent several years working on the integrated project insurance contract, JCT were involved in that, Thomas Selford. But that is probably something that people need to be looking at now because integrated project insurance removes the PI from the individual organisations and makes it a project PI which is a collaborative approach and it means that there is no risk transfer. Which is I think going to be needed in a lot of these new projects. If anybody is interested in learning more about that let me know.

RICHARD OK, so the conclusions that have been come to on this section, basically the design should be finalised before the construction begins to avoid mistakes and uninformed decisions. Design states should be kept to a minimum to prevent budget overspends. I can’t imaging anyone disagrees with that.

GEORGE Also, the design changes should be kept to a minimum because under the change control process you could end up with six weeks delay for each change that could be very significant.

RICHARD This is another good one, the client needs to set out at the very beginning the level of information that they and their consultants are looking for. It needs to be top down and it’s got to be digital.

GEORGE I’m not sure that should be consultants, I think that’s more…we need to take a look at that again, Richard.

RICHARD The publication of a competency demand profile related to the project and design, should be required. Right, this is about rethinking procurement processes. Phil Thompson says it needs to be split in two, you’ve got the labour element of procurement and the product element of procurement. And again they can be covered by improvement in identification and digital adoption. And we need to be helping the procurement team to understand the implications of them maybe de-scoping something to save money.

GEORGE Martin Oates that’s mentioned there, he’s from a manufacturer, but a manufacturer that also does design and installation, He’s from SE Controls. They make smoke vents but they also design smoke control systems.

RICHARD This comment is saying that procurement teams don’t take account of design elements or the technical content unless they’re explicitly given information. That’s around briefing, isn’t it. Construction stage considerations, that’s about the coordination between build and M&E design and halting construction when it’s necessary. Basically until design issues are resolved. We didn’t finish that question about coordination between build and M&E design that a lack of coordination can lead to compromises and potential dangers. This suggests that starting the process with modular builds can improve construction outcomes.

JOHN MORROW We do a lot of work with regards to dealing with those potential dangers and the retrospective changes to the actual installation arrangements in regards M&E and such like. That’s a big factor for us in regards to notifying them and rectifying them before they’re covered up and encapsulated and such like. Ceiling wall details and such like, that’s always an issue for us.

GEORGE And at the moment you’re capturing that as photographs, are you?

JOHN MORROW Yes, we do it exactly like that, we evidence it and then before and after shots by way of to record the completion of the remedial works.

GEORGE And do you do that on jobs where you’re the Section 106?

JOHN MORROW Yes, we do. And it doesn’t make it very popular, but yes we do it on every scheme.

GEORGE Have you been doing it on Mediers? 1hr 25mins 10secs House?

JOHN MORROW Yes, we got involved at the later stages because sometimes with the 106s the construction phase is well advanced and we come to the party late in the day. But we do our best to capture that on every scheme.


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