The first Building Safety Regulator Conference was held at Central Westminster Hall on 22 March 2023 and saw delegates hear from the major players involved in putting the Building Safety Regulator into operation.

Opening the conference was Sarah Newton, Chair of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), followed by Lee Rowley MP — Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Local Government and Building Safety), Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Throughout the day, there were a number of elective break-out sessions where a range of experts, including Dame Judith Hackitt, discussed the progress made so far and what is coming down the line.

Jon Vanstone, Chair of the Interim Industry Competence Committee (IICC) was part of a panel discussion alongside industry leaders from the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), the Building Safety Programme and the Competence Steering Group (CSG). The discussion focussed on how the leading industry groups are using a collaborative approach to drive the standards of competency across construction.

Jon says: “It was refreshing to be part of an industry discussion where there is a real appetite for organisations to work collaboratively towards the same outcome – to make buildings safer to live, work and sleep.

“From an industry perspective, decisions need to be made on how we can continuously improve on the competence of companies and individuals, quality of products and technical capabilities in order to deliver compliant, competent work that meets the standards set out by the Building Safety Act.

“Though there is a particular focus on high-risk buildings (HRBs) in the first instance, it was reinforced on Wednesday that the HSE will be overseeing even the smallest domestic installations – everyone will be in scope and everyone will have a responsibility to prove competence. Ignorance of the regulator is not an excuse and will not be accepted.

“It was said 2023 will be a definitive year for building safety in England and those who think the Building Safety Act is ‘disruptive’ need to improve standards. Increased regulatory and legal responsibility is on the way, and the regime will also see the appointment of Principle Accountable Persons who will be held accountable for the safety of HRBs.”

“There was a tonne of information shared during the day and many of the plans in place for the year ahead will have a direct effect on the glazing industry, so our sector needs to stay in the know and plan ahead for the new competence landscape.”

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