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RIBA Releasing New Safety Test Post-Grenfell

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced that it is introducing a new health and safety test for all members in the wake of London’s fatal Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed more than 70 lives last June.

The Test

Architects’ Journal reports that, according to RIBA, industry officials have come under increased pressure to show that they have the appropriate skills and knowledge to ensure residential safety.

ChiralJon, CC-SA-BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Institute of British Architects has announced that it is introducing a new health and safety test for all members in the wake of London’s fatal Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed more than 70 lives last June.

The test, which is slated to launch in 2019, will cover roles, responsibilities, legislation, design, risk management, personal health and safety. Existing members of RIBA have a year to pass the test before renewing their membership for 2021.

Building regulations and fire safety expert Geoff Wilkinson told Architects’ Journal that the test is an admission that existing training has failed the industry.

“The concern is that this test may still just be lip service as it will fall short of the coverage and detail of courses such as the Association for Project Safety (APS) courses, for instance,” he said.

“Even those courses wouldn’t deal with the specific details of the cladding and fire safety issues arising from Grenfell. So, whilst the aim of improving architects’ knowledge and awareness of (Color Design Management) is laudable, competence really needs to be assessed on a project-by-project basis to match to the actual risks presented by that project.”

The test, at its core, is in direct response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s government review of the Grenfell fire, which was released in May.

The Report

In the review, Hackitt said that industry indifference and ignorance, not the structure’s flammable cladding, led to the fire.

Hackitt’s report said that “Restricting or prohibiting certain practices will not address the root causes,” which she said are ignorance about existing regulation and guidance; indifference about public safety; lack of clarity on the responsibility of roles; and inadequate rule enforcement.

The report went on to say that those issues created a “race to the bottom,” in which projects simply had the goal of being completed the quickest and the cheapest and the report recommended a new standards regulator as the center piece for a reformed system.

“This is most definitely not just a question of the specification of cladding systems but of an industry that has not reflected and learned for itself, nor looked to other sectors,” the report said.

The curriculum for RIBA’s new test will reportedly be developed over the next few months.

   

Tagged categories: Education; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Safety; Testing + Evaluation; Worker training

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