Building inspectors under pressure to register above skill level

The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) has warned that building inspectors are being pressured to certify beyond their level of competence.

In a notice to its members issued earlier this month, the professional body raised the alarm ahead of 6 April, when all building inspectors will have to be registered at Class 1-4 with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR).

The notice said: “CABE has been made aware of instances where CABE members are being put under pressure by their employers to register for a class, or scope, of registration that is beyond the sensible limits of their experience of competence.”

The notice also urged employers not to threaten employees with unemployment or changes to their employment terms to encourage registration and instead put in place an appropriate supervision system.

CABE’s interim chief executive Richard Harral told Construction News: “While it is understandable that businesses want to have people qualified to the highest possible level, it is simply wrong to put pressure on individuals to hold out that they are more competent or experienced than they really are – particularly as part of a legal registration process.

“Far better to recognise what competence people have and then put in place necessary training and support to help them develop additional competence.”

The warning comes after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors called for an urgent review into how many surveyors will be registered as building inspectors by April, amid fears that the new building-control regime could lead to a fall in capacity in the sector. Local Authority Building Control has also raised the alarm about the number of public-sector building control professionals.

CABE is encouraging its members who have not yet been certified at class 2 or higher to register at class 1, which does not require independent assessment. It will be illegal to work as a building inspector after 6 April without having registered with the BSR, although it will still be possible to register after that date.

Class 1, intended for trainee building inspectors, can only carry out work on a building under supervision. Those who register at this level do not have to undertake independent assessment with one of the BSR’s approved schemes.

Those certified at class 2 can work on buildings less than 18 metres in height without supervision. Class 3 building inspectors are able to work on all buildings, including those over 18 metres and those classed as higher-risk under the Building Safety Act 2022.

Class 4 is an additional certification for technical managers. A class 4 can be certified at either class 2 or 3 and have additional responsibilities for the technical management of teams and processes. A class 4 technical manager who is a class 2 building inspector cannot carry out work on HRBs without supervision.

CABE has advised employers to target a maximum ratio of one supervisor to four supervised building inspectors after 6 April, and to ensure competent inspectors are registered at the right class within the following 12 months.

The body operates the CABE Building Inspector Competence Assessment Scheme (CBICAS), one of three schemes approved by the BSR that can certify building inspectors for registration under the new regime.

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