Following mounting concerns within the construction industry that the provision of building control services in England could effectively shut down from 6 April 2024 due to a shortage of Registered Building Inspectors (RBI) (as previously reported here), the Director of Building Safety for HSE, Philip White, has moved to address these concerns in an open letter to industry on Wednesday 14 March 2024.

Competence assessment extension period

Following discussions behind the scenes within the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and Government, Mr White announced a competence assessment extension period of 13 weeks from 6 April to 6 July 2024 for experienced building control professionals who have not completed a competence assessment and who meet certain criteria. The extension criteria are as follows: 

  • They are an existing building control professional; 
  • They are registered as a Class 1 RBI by 6 April 2024; 
  • They are enrolled and in the process of having their competency assessed through, one of the BSR approved competency assessment schemes by 6 April 2024” being:
  •  A scheme provider has not told them that they have not passed their competency assessment for a second time”. 

Where a building control professional meets the above criteria, they will benefit from the 13-week extension period to complete their competency assessment and upgrade their registration to Class 2 or 3 (and 4 where applicable). Throughout the extension period, the qualifying professional can proceed with building control work “for the class of RBI for which they are undertaking a competency assessment”. 

Where the qualifying professional does not upgrade their registration class by 6 July 2024, they cannot continue to undertake regulated building control activities. 

Plea by the Building Safety Regulator

Within this announcement, Mr White comments “This must not be seen as an opportunity to delay - there will be no extension to these arrangements… I encourage everyone who has not yet done so to register with BSR and enroll with one of the competency assessment schemes as soon as possible.” 

Burges Salmon Comment

While this announcement is welcome, and clearly seeks to balance industry concerns with the desire of the BSR to proceed with the implementation of the new building safety regime, whether this announcement will actually address industry concerns remains to be seen. 

It should be noted that this announcement does not extend the deadline of 6 April 2024 for building control professionals to register with the BSR, rather it only provides a grace period for RBIs to complete the relevant competency assessments. It is not clear whether sufficient numbers of building control professionals will complete the registration process to avert the potential crisis in building control after 6 April 2024.

It should also be noted that, following the Welsh Government's decision to extend the deadline for registration for building control professionals with the BSR from 6 April to 30 September 2024 (see here), this announcement has resulted in a divergence in the building control regimes in England and Wales which risks causing confusion within the industry. 

This article was written by Tom Weld and Kayla Urbanski.