Brunton’s Blog – Striving for Industry Competency


Brunton’s Blog – Striving for Industry Competency

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Striving for Industry Competency


The work of the Industry Response Group (IRG), formed to charter a way towards implementing the recommendations of the Hackitt Review, is now beginning to gather pace. The working groups (twelve in all) focus on different areas of construction in order to address, as fully as possible, the Hackitt recommendations in their entirety. These are measures designed to make our future buildings safer and reassure the people that will live there that indeed they are safe.


Hackitt challenges the UK construction industry to step up to the mark and points out quite clearly where change is required. One of the key challenges is a change in culture. Embedded routines that effectively spawn poor practice should be identified and rectified. Getting rid of the “but we’ve always done it that way” answer when challenged, is desirable. This ‘lazy’ answer is often given when someone cannot think of a good or better response.


The on-going work of the IRG attempts, in part, to change culture by insisting on competence across the industry making sure all take responsibility for their work. At all levels and stages competency has to be demonstrated. The right level of training and experience needs to be decided for all involved in construction to demonstrate competency. The culture change thereafter will hopefully embed positive routines where quality, accuracy and safety is the norm, not the exception.


SPRA, as you hopefully realise, are heavily involved in the work of the IRG and represented on two of the working groups; WG-2 Installers and WG-12 Products. The on-going work here is now starting to really address the competency issues and exchanging ideas on how to develop and demonstrate competency in a real sense. In short, it needs to be clear and verified that the person, product or system has to be up to the task that they are expected to perform. Hopefully this engagement of SPRA in the IRG process gives us clear insight regarding where the industry is heading and how do we (SPRA) shape up in any analysis.


The key aspects (pillars) of SPRA are more important now than ever in terms of trying to ensure quality systems and installations to the benefit of the client. As indicated above the work of the IRG is designed to assist in developing competence across the construction industry as a whole. Other construction sectors will in future develop their training and verification of correctly installed work as a result of the IRG. As mentioned in a previous ‘blog’ our demonstration of ensuring competence needs to be robust. We therefore have to ensure that we deliver in all that we profess. This should always be the case.


The audit process is one of our key ways to demonstrate competency. Reviewing this process to ensure that it will continue to be relevant and a leading example, in light of increased industry demand, is prudent. We can and should continue to evolve our audit processes. This can only stand us in good stead for the future. It is possible to continue to develop the use of technology for audit processing. An example of this has been the introduction within SPRA of online audit submission forms. Of course, there is much more we can do in this respect, however it needs to be relevant and meaningful. The audit process is a vital part of SPRA and as stated, it is one of the ways that competency across the organisation can be demonstrated. We will continue to discuss the issue of competency and how we can further evolve and demonstrate it.


As always, any comments are much appreciated.


Dr Ronan Brunton B.Sc MBA GMICE, Technical Manager