The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is to introduce a new test of architects’ “capability” in health & safety as a mandatory part of its membership from 2019. The RIBA says that its members have “been put under increasing pressure to demonstrate their health & safety competency to clients and the industry”. The test will give members “the evidence they need to demonstrate their competence”.
The test will also replace the need for architects to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards, as the RIBA has been concerned that design professionals and site managers currently sit the same test.
The test will cover “managing health & safety and building users’ life safety”, including responsibilities under the CDM Regulations and other legislation, such as fire safety.
Architect Paul Bussey IIRSM, who sits on RIBA’s Grenfell response panel, said that the test will require all chartered architects to fully understand the principal designer role under the CDM Regulations 2015. “It’s not necessarily (about) being a health & safety expert but coordinating the team and information, as they do with all other design issues. This may include further fire safety design and construction awareness on high rise residential buildings, but also all other buildings, to be the orchestrators of good fire safety design on all architectural projects”, he said.
All RIBA members will have to pass the test to join or be able to renew their membership from the end of 2019 onwards. However, the exact processes, content and any exemptions for the test have not yet been defined. Members who fail will be given another chance to pass, but repeated failure would lead to suspension of their membership until “competence” is proved.
Architects are expected to gain health & safety knowledge during their education at universities, but there have recently been moves to improve and extend health & safety on the architectural curriculum.
Under the RIBA’s Code of Conduct, members can only accept work if they have the necessary knowledge, skills and resources.
Source: IIRSM Health & Safety at Work Magazine – October 2018