Friday 9 October 2020

Not just fire safety - GAI applauds comprehensive focus on construction products competence in the new Setting the Bar report

The Setting the Bar report published on 5th October has been welcomed by the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI).

Following the Hackitt Review, an industry response group was set up to take responsibility for implementing the recommendations of that review. Its work has since been continued by the Competence Steering Group for Building a Safer Future (CSG), and by 13 sub-groups looking at specialist areas of construction practice and consisting of representatives from installers, fire, housing, construction and professional organisations from within the industry.

That group’s initial report, Raising the Bar, published in August 2019, has now been followed by the publication of, Setting the Bar. This provides a much more detailed look at the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours required to demonstrate competence in the construction industry.

The Construction Products Competence Working Group, also known as Working Group 12 (WG12), has been establishing the levels of knowledge and experience needed by anyone that interacts with a product during the lifecycle of a building.

Douglas Masterson, technical manager at the GAI, became deputy chair of the Construction Products Competence Working Group in April 2020 and is also a member of the CSG. 

He said:
“Today’s report is a huge achievement. The Construction Products group has collaborated with other working groups to help them understand the competencies required when other professionals in the construction supply chain interact with the construction products sector. From procurement and specification, through to installers and building management, we’ve been looking at the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours that are needed among those groups too, to ensure all these people will be implementing best practice construction processes.
“For the GAI to be helping to lead this initiative that will shape the future of the wider construction products industry is important recognition of how vital our sector is in the overall picture. We know our products are not the biggest or most expensive in the construction supply chain. Our own research showed that the average spend on ironmongery is between one and two percent of the value of a newbuild. But the impact of what we do is huge.
“For GAI members, there is already a lot they can start to work on internally to address the recommendations of the Setting the Bar report. Do they have all the required skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours within their own teams? Can they demonstrate this competence to customers? Continued professional development is at the heart of the whole report, not just for those working directly with construction products, and one recommendation is to mandate CPD for all roles within the construction industry. In this regard, those of our members who are already RegAIs, or are working towards RegAI status, are leading the way for construction products professionals.”

An initial summary of WG12’s approach is included in the Setting the Bar report, but the full construction products competency matrix will be published in a separate report later this year alongside an implementation plan and proposals for the supporting structure.

Read the Setting the Bar report here.

Douglas Masterson and Hanna Clarke, secretary of WG12, industry response group committee member and policy manager at the Construction Products Association, have also filmed a Q&A video about the Construction Products Competence Working Group’s input into the Setting the Bar report. Watch the video on the GAI website:

For more information on the GAI education programme, including its extensive suite of CPD materials on door hardware issues, visit:

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