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Competence requirements set out for new role of Building Safety Manager

The competence requirements for the proposed new role of the Building Safety Manager have been set out in a new report Safer people, safer homes: Building Safety Management.

Under new legislation being introduced in the draft Building Safety Bill published in July, those deemed responsible in law for the safety of higher-risk building, such as the landlord, will be required to appoint a Building Safety Manager.  In the draft Building Safety Bill, homes that fall in the higher risk category are multi-occupied residential buildings of 18m or above, or six or more storeys in height.

The role of the Building Safety manager will be to look after the day-to-day management of fire and structural safety in higher-risk buildings and establish a clear point of contact for residents for fire and safety related issues.

The concept of the Building Safety Manager role was recommended by Dame Judith Hackitt in Building a Safer Future review of fire safety, in the wake of the Grenfell Fire, published in 2018.

Safer people, safer homes: Building Safety Management is the result of a two-year collaboration between experts from the social housing sector, commercial and residential management, facilities managers, health and safety experts and fire safety experts.

This expert group (Working Group 8) is one of a number of sub-groups within the Competence Steering Group which has brought together 150 organisations from across the built environment and fire sectors to improve competence and change the culture of those who design, construct and manage buildings.  A summary of WG8’s work is included in the Competence Steering Group’s final report, Setting the Bar, which is also published at the same time.

Safer people, safer homes: Building Safety Management sets out a comprehensive framework for the new Building Safety Manager role, focusing on the competences and job functions for individuals – so called ‘Named Individual Building Safety Managers’ and how they can sit within a wider organisational structure, the Organisation Building Safety Manager, to ensure sufficient support and resources. The report updates and enhances the work undertaken and reported in WG8's interim report issued in August 2019.

The skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours outlined in Safer people, safer homes: Building Safety Management will be used by the British Standards Institute to develop a national standard, that Building Safety Managers will be expected to meet.

Anthony Taylor, chairman of Working Group 8, said: “It is fully understood that the immediate concern is to deliver safe homes to those in ‘higher risk residential buildings’, but we have anticipated that the role, model and management systems should be rolled-out across the whole residential property sector during a reasonable, and sustainable, transition period to support the wider culture change needed.”

Graham Watts, Chairman of the Competence Steering Group and chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, said: “This is a ground breaking piece of work that will help raise the standards of people who own and manage residential blocks, and provide assurance for those that live in them.”

Safer people, safer homes: Building Safety Management is also calling for the Building Safety Manager role to retain the wider ‘holistic whole building’ obligations for occupiers’ safety and health, including public health considerations as well as those for fire and structural safety.

The full report also makes recommendations on:

  • The responsibilities and role of the Accountable Person (the term for a landlord or owner responsible in law for the safety of the building)
  • Calls for occupiers to play their part in improve their and their neighbours’ safety, to have access to relevant information and to be provided with clarity on their obligations to relevant stakeholders
  • The need for an extended “Fire Kills” campaign to inform occupiers about potential fire safety risks and how to mitigate them

WG8 Report Safer people, safer homes: Building Safety Management is available here
The Full Report Setting the Bar and accompanying Annexes can be downloaded here.
The Executive Summary is available here.

For more information contact:
Anthony Taylor, 07902 269405
Sofie Hooper, 07824 595261