First building inspector competency certification scheme gains UKAS accreditation

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has granted the UK’s first accreditation of a building inspector competency scheme to the Building Safety Competency Foundation (BSCF), for its Building Control Inspector (BCI) competence certification scheme.

UKAS assessed the BCI competency certification scheme against the internationally recognised ISO/IEC 17024 standard (Conformity assessment: General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons). Successfully completing the BCI certification scheme is one of the three prescribed registration routes under the Building Safety Regulator’s (BSR) new Building Inspector Competency Framework (BICoF).  The Building Safety Act 2022 makes BICoF registration mandatory for all classes of building inspector, working in both the public and private sectors, in all types of buildings across England and Wales.

While the BICoF does not provide an exhaustive list of competency criteria, assessments under the certification scheme include a review of the relevant qualifications, knowledge, and experience, and academic/technical qualifications, as appropriate to each inspector’s role.  Continuing Professional Development is another important aspect, as building inspectors must be reassessed every four years to maintain their BICoF registration.

Lorna Stimpson, CEO of BSCF (pictured) said:  “The BCI certification scheme rigorously evaluates the competence of building control professionals across all inspecting roles and specialisms. In addition to helping building inspectors meet mandatory BSR registration requirements, the BCI certification scheme aims to raise standards of technical competence throughout the industry.

“UKAS accreditation provides a valuable additional layer of independent scrutiny to the process, further enhancing the BCI competency certification scheme’s reputation, and its potential to restore faith in the industry’s ability to deliver safer buildings.” The requirement for reassessment every four years adds an extra layer of assurance, she believes: “We think it’s really important we continue to test competence on a regular basis, which is also required by UKAS accreditation. Building control professionals need to be able to demonstrate that they are continuously developing their skills in line with clients’ needs, and that any learning is being applied to projects.”

UKAS is the UK’s sole national accreditation body, appointed by (but operating independently of) government through a memorandum of understanding between UKAS and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).  Its role is to assess the technical competence and impartiality of organisations that provide certification, inspection, testing, and calibration services against the requirements of nationally and internationally recognised standards. 

BSCF was established following publication of the final report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (the Hackitt Review). Created as a public interest organisation, a key part of  its ‘mission’ is to ‘elevate the competency and standards of everyone responsible for the regulation, design, construction, and maintenance, of the built environment’. Initially developed in conjunction with the Institute of Fire Engineers to cover the competence of those working in higher risk buildings, the remit of the BCI competence certification scheme has since been extended to include all building control surveyors working under any aspect of the building regulations. 




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