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To rebuild trust we must deliver buildings that are safe

Dame Judith Hackitt has stressed the need for competency, accountability, and responsibility to be at the heart of the new building safety system at an event at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, in order to rebuild the public’s trust in providing safe homes for people to live in.

As keynote speaker at the IET National Conference for Electrotechnical and Building Safety Competence on Monday (31 Jan), Dame Judith Hackitt also reiterated the importance of a culture change in the whole built environment sector ahead of regulatory change – to incentivise good building practices, with disciplinary sanctions for those who exploit the system. 

She explained how legislation will incentivise the take up of professional registration, which in turn will help to demonstrate competency, and stressed how the focus must be on delivering quality buildings that are safe, with genuine engagement with residents needed to rebuild trust.

She explained how there is currently a very fragmented way of looking at buildings, e.g., separate walls, separate electrics, separate foundations, when in fact we need these things to work and be addressed in totality.

Linking this to competency and quality assurance, Hackitt explained: “It is not good enough for people to simply say ‘my bit’s ok, it’s the other people who got it wrong, not me’. We need to start getting people to work together, to collaborate, and recognise that it is the overall outcome that matters.” 

She continued: “What matters is that everyone should be able to feel safe in their home, that is everyone’s right, irrespective of the type of dwelling that they live in. And that’s why we need to have this risk-based approach, and why competence and quality assurance must become part of the new culture across the whole of construction.”

The IET National Conference for Electrotechnical and Building Safety Competence, which is being delivered virtually across two dates, aims to bring experts together, working with or within the electrotechnical sector and in building services/safety related roles with a key focus on individual competence, accountability and continuing professional development. 

Sir Julian Young, IET President, said: “Professional registration is an important milestone for any engineer or technician, as it demonstrates professionalism, competence and personal commitment to the engineering and technology sectors. 

I encourage all our members and beyond to adhere to our Knowledge Network and Rules of Conduct, which provide guidance and informational sources to support people to make good decisions and act ethically. 

“I assure you that the IET is working with appropriate trade associations and Trades Unions to help bring about a step-change in the level of relevant training, upskilling and professionalism of those working in the industry: it will not be easy or quick, but we are determined to make a positive difference and, ultimately, to raise the status of engineers and technicians across the UK.”

Part 2 of the conference is taking place virtually on Monday 21 February 2022 at 10am.


Notes to editors:

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