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Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
March 10, 2023

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£42 million committed for recruitment and training of new Building Control and Fire Inspectors

On 9 March the Government announced new funding to support the delivery of building safety reforms. £42 million has been set aside to recruit, train and employ new Building Control Inspectors and Fire Inspectors working with the Building Safety Regulator.

The Government says the measures are designed to increase capacity and capability of delivery partners working to make higher risk buildings safe under the Building Safety Act 2022.

A £16.5m grant will go to Local Authority Building Control (LABC), the representative body for local authority building control in England and Wales.

BuildingSafety-20The remaining £26m of funding will support the Fire and Rescue Services in England and the National Fire Chiefs Council.

The grant funding will enable local regulators to recruit, train and employ new Building Control Inspectors and Fire Inspectors.

Around 110 Building Inspectors and 111 new Fire Protection Officers across England will be recruited and receive high quality training over a three-year programme.

These local partners will support the work of the new Building Safety Regulator in overseeing the safety and standards of the design, construction and management of higher-risk buildings, as well as strengthening the sector as a whole, according to the Government.

Minister for Building Safety, Lee Rowley said: “The Government is delivering important reforms under the Building Safety Act, including introducing the new Building Safety Regulator to oversee building safety and performance. This taxpayer funding will give additional resource to local regulators who will support the work of the Regulator in making buildings safer.”

Peter Baker, Chief Inspector of Buildings at the Health and Safety Executive said: “Local Authority and Fire and Rescue Services are vital to the delivery of the new safety regime for higher-risk residential buildings. I welcome the work to quickly increase capability and capacity so our regulatory partners can deliver their important roles. Our common goal is ensuring the success of the new regime in keeping residents safe in their homes, now and in the future.”

LABC Chief Executive, Lorna Stimpson said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding to provide much needed additional resources for our local authority members in England.

“Building control surveyors are a scarce commodity and so it’s important that we start to invest in this previously underfunded but vital public service role. We welcome the role that local authority building control will have as part of the new building safety regulator’s multi-disciplinary teams, and in helping to implement the reforms recommended by Dame Judith Hackitt.”

NFCC Chair, Mark Hardingham said: “NFCC welcomes confirmation of the three-year funding for fire and rescue services to recruit additional staff to support the new Building Safety Regulator.

“We will be working collectively with others to ensure that the new Regulator delivers on the policy intent set out by Dame Judith Hackitt, and as part of that, establishes a sustainable funding model for fire and rescue services that goes beyond the initial financial package.”

Under the new regime, Building Control Inspectors, Fire Inspectors and Fire Engineers will be the local partner regulators of the new Building Safety Regulator in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Investment welcomed but local authorities stretched – “it will take time to recruit and train professionals”

Speaking to IFSEC Global, Gary Strong, Global Building Standards Director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), noted that while ringfenced funding for building safety was a welcome and much needed step, local authorities are likely to remain significantly stretched for the foreseeable.

“RICS welcomes all investment in building safety as built environment professionals across local authorities work towards delivering the requirements of the Building Safety Act. Ringfenced funding is crucial for building safety, and this needs to become the rule and not the exception. While this is welcome, several concerns remain for the sustainability of Building Control departments nationwide.

“Local authorities continue to struggle to recruit for crucial Building Control roles while many leave the profession. There are 333 local authorities in England, meaning they must share the new 110 Building Inspectors, stretching resources and diluting their effectiveness. When there is an urgent demand now, the time it will take to recruit and train these professionals is a huge concern.

Further, the reforms require retraining long-serving professionals to become Registered Building Inspectors by 1 April 2024, placing additional pressure upon professionals already stretched to workload limits. Ring-fenced funding, with higher salaries commensurate with the high level of technical and professional knowledge commensurate with their roles, has long been called for by RICS.

“RICS continues to work in partnership with the UK Government to achieve the goals of the Building Safety Act, and we look forward to further discussion throughout 2023.”

 

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