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Ron Alalouff is a journalist specialising in the fire and security markets, and a former editor of websites and magazines in the same fields.
July 19, 2023


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Building Safety

HSE publishes conduct guidelines for registered building inspectors and building control approvers

Professional conduct guidelines – due to become mandatory in April 2024 – have been published by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for the newly created roles of registered building inspectors and building control approvers in England, as Ron Alalouff sets out.

Draft code of conduct rules for registered building control professionals and inspectors, were initially published in July 2022. These have now been finalised and made official, as detailed here.

Many people currently working in local authority building control teams – as well as approved inspectors – are expected to become registered building inspectors.

Individuals and organisations currently known as approved inspectors, who wish to continue undertaking building control work, will need to register as building control approvers. They and building control authorities will need to consider the advice of a registered building inspector before carrying out certain functions.

Code for registered building inspectors

Established on a principles-based regulation of the building control profession, the Code of Conduct for Registered Building Inspectors sets out the core professional and ethical requirements that inspectors must uphold. The code’s five standards expand on these principles, and set out a non-exhaustive list of requirements for professional practice and behaviours for inspectors.

BuildingSafety-20The principles set out in the code for registered building inspectors are to:

  • Act with honesty
  • Act with integrity
  • Maintain professional competence
  • Deliver services with professional skill and care
  • Uphold public trust and confidence in the provision of services and the profession
  • Treat everyone fairly and act in compliance with legal obligations

A breach of the code – or conduct which brings the profession into disrepute – may lead to disciplinary action including a financial penalty, varying an individual’s registration, suspending registration for a specified period, and cancellation of a registration.

The first standard set out in the code of conduct is about legal, regulatory and professional obligations. These must be complied with in the conduct of work activities, relating to enforcement of compliance linked to work activities, and those which apply to the conduct of work activities – such as anti-money laundering, anti-bribery and corruption, data protection and the Equality Act 2010.

Other provisions under this standard are:

  • Securing compliance of legislation including the Building Safety Act when a registered building inspector becomes aware of a breach
  • Working in a cooperative manner with fire and rescue services, statutory consultees and similar organisations
  • Not misusing the title or position as a registered building inspector for “inappropriate commercial or personal gain”

The second standard covers workplace requirements such as professional indemnity insurance, financial propriety, avoiding conflicts of interests, using technology, and managing data. Other provisions include implementing an effective complaints process and keeping abreast of issues such as data protection, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Professional competence and CPD

The third standard concerns itself with the need to maintain professional competence and continuing professional development.

This includes only undertaking work for which an individual is registered and has the necessary competence – as defined by the Building Inspector Competence Framework; maintaining professional competence and complying with any continuing professional development requirements issued by the regulator; and, in the case of a manager or supervisor, ensuring the competence of those under supervision.

Standard Four covers standards of service, including: acting fairly, objectively, diligently, conscientiously and in the best interests of the public; being accountable for decisions; and adhering to quality assurance processes and procedures.

Standard Five concerns itself with registered building inspectors engaging with applicants and agents.

Annex 1 of the code covers the various obligations of inspectors to notify and deal with the regulatory authority. Annex 2 covers the provision of terms of engagement information to applicants or agents under standard 5.

In addition to the code of conduct, the Building Safety Act makes it an offence for registered building inspectors to carry out work outside the scope of their registration, or while their registration is suspended. ‘Registered building inspector’ is a protected title, which means it is an offence for unregistered people to impersonate or to hold out as being one.

Conduct rules for building control approvers

A second document – Professional Conduct Rules for Registered Building Control Approvers – has also been published by the HSE.

BuildingSafetyConstruction-AndriyPopov-AlamyStock-22It covers similar ground to the building inspectors’ code of conduct, but includes some specific provisions for registered building control approvers. These include the need to publish whistleblowing and complaints handling policies, and implementing appropriate disciplinary processes for staff conduct and the conduct of those undertaking work on behalf of the building control approver.

Under their professional conduct rules, building control approvers must ensure that employees are provided with:

  • Relevant and up-to-date training and guidance
  • Supervision and advice
  • A structured programme of learning and development, including continuing professional development guidance issued by the regulator
  • Sufficient time to reflect on their development needs formally, and sufficient time to record the findings and planned actions to meet these needs, in accordance with the regulator’s continuing professional development guidance

The effectiveness of such learning and development, competence and continuing professional development should be monitored and recorded. Building control approvers must take steps to ensure that those undertaking work on their behalf maintain their competence and the regulator’s continuing professional development guidance.

In terms of standards of service, building control approvers must apply effective governance arrangements and be accountable for the duties and tasks delegated to people in their organisation or to outside contractors. They must also ensure that there are measures in place to actively manage, quality assure and supervise work activities, and that those undertaking work on their behalf understand their assigned roles, their responsibilities and any restrictions that apply to them.

Building control approvers must also be clear and transparent about their policies and procedures, recoding and explaining how decisions have been made, how they can be challenged, and the process used to resolve issues.

Announcing the publication of the documents, the Building Safety Regulator said: “All building inspectors, public and private sector, must comply with the code of conduct coming into force in April 2024. It sets out the standards of professional conduct and practice required of individuals performing their role as a building inspector registered with the Building Safety Regulator.

“The professional conduct rules apply to registered building control approvers. They set out standards of professional conduct and practice expected of building control approvers in the private sector registered with Building Safety Regulator, coming into force in April 2024.”


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