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November 10, 2023


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Building Safety

IFE becomes First Licensee of the Higher-Risk Building Registration under the Fire Engineering Discipline

The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) has become the first licensee authorised for the Fire Engineering Discipline Annex of the new UK-SPEC Higher-Risk Building (HRB) registration standard.

High-rise-Building-IFE-23The IFE is the first professional engineering institution (PEI) to secure a licence for registering engineers and technicians evaluated against the Engineering Council’s new standard; UK-SPEC HRB Fire Engineering Discipline Annex.

This process is due to be launched in the early stages of next year, representing a huge step forward in raising safety and competency standards in the built environment industry, says the IFE.

What is the standard for Professional Engineering Competence in higher-risk buildings?

Following Dame Judith Hackitt’s important study, numerous groups in the built environment sector joined forces to form the Competence Steering Group. This initiative aims to address and implement industry competency recommendations.

The group published two major findings over the years, “Raising the Bar” (2018) and “Setting the Bar” (2020), which influenced the Building Safety Act 2022.

Following its advocacy for context-specific standards, the group advocated for the framework to apply to all building trades and professions.

The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment: Higher-Risk Buildings (UK-SPEC HRB) specifies the competencies and commitments expected of engineers and technicians working in the built environment, particularly on higher-risk buildings.

The standard, which is specifically matched to professionals involved in various elements of building work (such as design, construction, maintenance, and operations) also incorporates critical building safety criteria such as fire safety, structural safety, and public health.

Further reading: Building Safety Act – Key concepts: What defines a higher-risk building or relevant building?

“A vital step forward for competency”

IFE CEO, Steve Hamm, believes this is a vital step in the display of competency: “I’m so pleased to witness the IFE become the first Licensee to register individuals against the Fire Engineering Annex of our new UK-SPEC HRB Standard. Many will know that the IFE is steadfast in its endeavours to drive professional competency and this is another step on the ladder to a safer future across the built environment”.

The Institution says it will ensure its reviewing committee is well-versed in the new UK SPEC HRB Fire Engineering Annex. Following successful completion of this training, IFE intends to expand this registration option to its larger pool of registrants.

Its inaugural applicant pool are currently completing their applications and we look forward to registering them in the near future.

Paul Bailey, CEO at Engineering Council, said: “We’re delighted that IFE has become the first Licensee authorised to register individuals against the Fire Engineering Annex of our new UK-SPEC HRB Standard. This is an important step in the fire sector, and the engineering industry more widely.

“Assuring the public that those engineers and technicians working on higher-risk buildings have the requisite competences and commitment was a crucial outcome of Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘Building a Safer Future’ report and subsequent Building Safety Act 2022, and we’re delighted to be working with the IFE on this important activity”.

Further updates on registration details will be released in the new year via the IFE’s communication channels.


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