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Housing groups ramp up building safety skills

Leading social housing landlords prepare staff for new building safety legislation

Major housing groups and local authorities are pushing their asset management staff through specialist training ahead of the looming Building Safety Act becoming law.

Organisations including the country’s biggest landlord, Clarion, which manages 125,000 homes, have been signing up staff for the CIOB Level 6 Diploma in Building Safety Management. Housing LMS, an accredited CIOB Training Provider, launched a pilot programme with Clarion in February, with seven of the housing group’s building safety management team.

Clarion has already introduced new building safety initiatives over the past three years, including digital mapping of existing tower blocks, developing its building safety case capability and employing four building safety managers.

“It is paramount we provide our building safety managers with a solid grounding in building safety training, not only the technical aspects, but also in stakeholder management, resident engagement and safety case management,” said Brent O’Halloran, Clarion building safety advisor.

CIOB Level 6 Diploma in Building Safety Management

The diploma comprises six units:

1. Fire safety legislation for construction;
2. Fire safety management for construction;
3. Building safety management;
4. Health, safety and wellbeing for building safety;
5. Technology and structures for building safety;
6. Building Regulations for construction.

The first two units lead to a certificate in fire safety for construction; all six units complete the diploma.

Other organisations which have joined the LMS building safety courses include Gateshead Council, Great Places Housing Group, A2dominion, Accent Group and Paradigm Housing.

“The course is delivered via live weekly webinars, which are recorded so that candidates can watch them back,” explained Roger Gillespie, managing director of Housing LMS. “The course is assessed via regular ongoing tasks and lasts around 40 weeks.”

“The CIOB has aligned this work with our quality commission, chaired by past president Paul Nash, set up in response to the Edinburgh school’s collapse of 2016,” explained Ros Thorpe, CIOB head of education. “We started developing the diploma after the Hackitt review was published in 2018, and worked with Trafford Housing Trust to identify the skills required for the new dutyholder roles that will come in with the Building Safety Act.

“We can adapt the diploma once the act provides more clarity on responsibilities accountabilities.”

The Building Safety Bill is expected to be read by parliament later this year, but industry figures including Nash have warned the built environment sector currently lacks the skills to meet its requirements.

Housing LMS will welcome a further intake for the diploma in April, with staff from Grenfell Housing Services, Home Group, Ealing Council and SK Fire Safety Consulting.

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