1 February 2019
By the time that this edition of building engineer arrives in your post 2019 will already have picked up where 2018 left off and Parliament should have voted on the Government's Brexit deal. This may or may not provide a clearer sense of direction for UK business (writing this on 11 January I dare not make any prediction) but whatever form Brexit may take we are likely to see a bumpy market place for building engineers throughout the year as consumer and client confidence waxes and wains.
Like many of you I have experienced the impact of contractions in the construction market on a business and the problems that this can bring including insolvency of suppliers, sub-contractors and contractors, late, delayed or failed payment from clients and intensified competition. It will be some time before we know what the precise impacts – if any – of Brexit will be but in these uncertain times it is more important than ever that we maintain the professional standards that set building engineers apart.
To help CABE members do this we have been working on a revised Code of Conduct which will include expanded guidance on the standards of ethical behaviour and competence expected of CABE members. This isn’t just about holding members to account when complaints are made about their conduct (although the code of conduct has an important role to play in deciding disciplinary matters) but equally about helping to remind us all about the behaviours that add value for our clients.
The revised code will be largely familiar but is structured around four key principles: acting professionally at all times; managing risk responsibly; ensuring your competency as a Building Engineer; and acting in a way which promotes sustainability.
I highly recommend that you take fifteen minutes to read the revised code when it is published and take some time to reflect on those areas relevant to your work bearing in mind that it is intended to keep you safe at the same time as protecting the public interest and those of your clients.
Building Safety and Part B of the Building Regulations
The end of 2018 also saw a flurry of announcement form the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local government in relation to the Building Safety programme. This includes further consideration of Governments intentions with respect to implementation of the recommendations in the Hackkitt review, with a view to consulting in more detail in the Spring of this year.
The implementation plan commits the Government to taking forward all of the Hackitt review recommendations in delivering a more effective and accountable regulatory framework supported by clearer standards and guidance, with residents at the heart of the building safety system.
There were further developments in relation to Part B of the Building Regulations – most notably a call for evidence on future changes to Technical guidance in Approved Document B, and a response to consultation on use of assessments in lieu of tests (now banned for buildings over 18m given changes to Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations which came into force on 20 December) which set out Governments intention to restrict their use in other types of construction. Revised editions of ADB Volume 1 and Volume 2 have also been published which came into force on 21 January 2019, with full details to be found in the MHCLG circular letter.
CABE remains heavily involved on our member's behalf in ongoing work on competency for Building Professionals and is engaged with MHCLG and wider industry stakeholder groups in contributing to the wider implementation of Hackitt, with 2019 shaping up to see further widespread and welcome change to improve building safety across the construction sector.
A project currently underway at CABE is a strategic review of the brand. This project is not just about a logo redesign, but more about aligning the CABE brand with the genuine needs of our membership.
We have commissioned an external partner, rbl to conduct this research and they will be conducting interviews with members and external partners over the next few weeks to hear honest feedback about CABE.
This is an exciting project and we hope that if you are contacted by rbl you will take the time to give your views and opinions on CABE.