Improving fire and life safety

The Architects Registration Board has released a statement of intent to improve fire and life-safety competence standards for architects. This has followed the draft Building Safety Bill that was published on 20th July 2020 which aims to remedy the systematic issues identified by Dame Judith Hackitt by improving the whole regulatory system for building safety following the Grenfell fire tragedy.

The strategic statement includes 4 key actions:

  1. The ARB is preparing new guidelines setting out the expectations of architect competencies specifically regarding fire and life-safety design.
  2. For educational institutions there will be guidance which further clarifies the Criteria for the Prescription of Qualifications at Parts 1, 2, and 3 in relation to fire and life safety. This will become part of the process and institutions will need to be able to demonstrate how the content is being addressed.
  3. A review of the competencies that the ARB requires of architects is under way. This will cover the behaviors, skills, knowledge and experience required in relation to fire and life-safety both before and once joining the Architects Register.
  4. A new regulatory model will be established to ensure competences are maintained throughout architect’s careers with consequences if this is not adhered to. The power to do this is included in the draft Building Safety Bill.

The outcomes of this is to increase public confidence in architect’s competence and provide greater clarity for the profession. Most importantly it should improve the safety of our buildings and contribute to saving many lives in the future. We should never tire of making improvements and striving for 100% safety.