Building inspectors miss extended competency deadline

The building inspection industry has missed the deadline for ensuring enough qualified building inspectors are available to meet the high demand for work.

The Building Safety Regulator’s (BSR’s) deadline for inspectors to prove their competency was already delayed for three months back in March, following concerns by the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) that “a significant number of authorities” would be unable to perform building control.

Now, the BSR has been forced to temporarily change the rules around competency for some class two and three building inspectors, who can assess a building’s safety unsupervised.

Inspectors had to apply for certification by Saturday (6 July), but any class two or three inspectors that are still awaiting their results will be able to inspect buildings in the meantime.

In a letter sent to those affected, dated 3 July, the BSR said: “We have been alerted to concerns in the profession that there will still be insufficient class two and three RBIs [registered building inspectors] by the end of the extension period, and that some organisations will struggle with the resulting supervision requirements when those who have not completed their assessment revert to class one, only able to work under supervision.”

It said that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities supported the decision to extend the ability of the “limited cohort” to carry out inspections unsupervised.

Class three inspectors are the only ones who can inspect buildings that are higher-risk, and of any height.

Class two inspectors, meanwhile, are limited to buildings that are under 18 metres and are not high-risk.

Meanwhile, class one inspectors need supervision and do not need to complete competency assessments to do their work.

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive, which the BSR is part of, said: “We have taken the decision to allow that limited cohort of individuals to continue to undertake the restricted activities for which they have completed the assessment process.”

The BSR has contacted all of those affected. Any who have not received a letter will need to revert to class one status and work under supervision.

On receipt of results, the individual inspectors are then required to contact the BSR to upgrade their registration.

LABC chief executive Lorna Stimpson “welcomed the pragmatic decision” from the BSR.

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