Keep up-to-date with the latest news and developments below.

First companies on way to becoming ‘Charter Champions’

20 May, 2021

The Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter has launched its ‘Charter Champion’ Company status to help companies drive the systemic culture change required to put building safety first.

Through robust self-assessment, benchmarking and independent verification, the BSF Charter will help companies identify potential issues and, in turn, develop continuous improvement plans to advance their overall approach and performance on leadership and culture in relation to building safety. Through their participation in this process companies will be able to identify ways in which they can help to reduce their overall risk profile. They will also be able to share examples of good practice and showcase these to the wider sector through the Charter’s Learning and Excellence Hub.

The first 12 companies, who are demonstrating real sectoral leadership, have signed up to complete the robust benchmarking and independent assessment process. The organisations include BAM, Galliford Try, Kier, Mace, mhs homes, Persimmon Homes, Places for People, Salix Homes, United Living, Vistry Group, Wates and Willmott Dixon.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent inquiry into building regulations and fire safety clearly identified failure of leadership and culture as key underlying causes of the Grenfell Tower disaster. The ‘Building a Safer Future Charter’ was developed in response by a group of early adopters including contractors, housing associations and local authorities with a vision of having an industry committed to putting people’s safety first.

The BSF Charter has been highlighted by Dame Judith Hackitt and the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG) as a key mechanism for leading the culture change required for industry in their report for the Secretary of State and the Minister for Building Safety published in August 2020.

The BSF Charter benchmarking and verification process is now open for participation from across the construction industry. All UK organisations involved in the built environment can proactively participate and demonstrate their commitment to building safety by becoming Registered Signatories to the Charter and, if appropriate, progress to undertaking the ‘Charter Champion’ benchmarking process. This is particularly the case for Duty Holders.

Find out more about Charter Champions here.

Lord Greenhalgh, Minister for Building Safety said:

“We are taking firm action to ensure that we never repeat the mistakes of the past, with this charter representing a major step forwards in delivering much-needed culture change in the built environment industry.

“I warmly welcome its introduction and commend the twelve organisations already signed up to become ‘Charter Champions’.

“I would strongly encourage more to get involved, especially those who will be playing a key role in the future building safety regulatory regime.”

Peter Baker, Chief Inspector of Buildings at the Health and Safety Executive, said:

“Self-assessment, benchmarking and independent verification are important elements of a robust system to enable businesses to properly lead, manage and control major building safety risks.

“Businesses across the industry need to start preparing now for the new building safety regime.  The ‘Charter Champions’ scheme is a valuable contribution to driving the necessary change in culture and performance across the sector to ensure that residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.”

Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, Author, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety said:

“I am delighted to see the formal launch of the Champions of the Building a Safer Future Charter. My congratulations go to Amanda Long and her team for the way in which they have built upon approaches which have been tried, tested and proved effective in other sectors to create the Charter initiative. 

“I have consistently called for the built environment sector to recognise the need for culture change which can only happen when leaders in the sector stand up and are prepared to demonstrate what good looks like and to be held to account for delivery. I look forward to watching the Charter Champions group grow as others see the benefits of becoming part of this important programme which offers a real market differentiation opportunity.”

Andy Mitchell CBE, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council said:

“The Construction Leadership Council welcomes the launch of the Building a Safer Future Charter and its Charter Champions initiative. This is an important step towards an industry that is committed to putting building safety first.

“The promotion of cultural change and leadership in the sector is vital and those that wish to demonstrate real sectoral leadership in relation to building safety should be engaged with the Building a Safer Future Charter.”

Stephen Elliott, Chair, Building a Safer Future Charter said:

“The BSF Charter provides a robust, independent verification process which will drive continuous improvement in leadership and culture in relation to building safety across the industry.

“We have taken learning and insights from tried and tested approaches and responses to major accident hazard safety in other sectors such as aviation and chemicals – both nationally and internationally – and contextualised these for the UK built environment sector.” 

Amanda Long, Chief Executive, Building a Safer Future Charter said:

“In the built environment sector, the Grenfell Tower Disaster has put building safety at the top of everyone’s agenda. From a moral, social and economic perspective it’s now imperative that we embed enduring values, attitudes and ethical behaviours at the heart of all we do.

The launch of the Building a Safer Future Charter’s ‘Charter Champion’ status is an important step in driving forwards the systemic culture change in relation to major hazard safety that is required across the built-environment sector and through the entire value chain. As we progress on this critical journey we should be seeking to raise standards and build public trust.

I am delighted to welcome the first 12 companies on their journey to becoming a Charter Champion.”

Recruitment Open for Building a Safer Future Assessors

26 Mar, 2021

INTRODUCTION

The Building a Safer Future Charter (BSF Charter) has been created to promote an urgent and positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment. It is about putting people’s safety first in how we plan for, design, build, maintain, and look after the safety of the buildings we live, work or play in and protect those that use them.

THE ROLE

This role offers flexibility and would suit those looking for a part-time position or for a role that fits around existing commitments.

We are seeking exceptional individuals who have extensive experience in a senior level position within high hazard sectors and/or within construction and have proven high level audit/assessment expertise.

Assessors are required to have the credibility and gravitas to manage discussions with C-suite level clients, as well as gain trust and insight from a range of participants in the entire construction value chain. A detailed knowledge of operating in a high hazard safety context is essential.

Assessors are self-employed and remunerated per organisational assessment and are able to carry out as many or few assessments as they would like, initially subject to the number of organisations signing up. Assessors will need to be able to travel freely around the UK (once restrictions are lifted) and will be reimbursed for travel. Assessors will need to provide their own mobiles and IT equipment, ideally with 4G for remote access. A high level of IT skills would be preferable. Assessors must have their own professional indemnity insurance to a level of £1 million.

Assessors receive a prorated day rate from £550 per day, as well as 50p per mile travelling costs. It is expected that assessment of smaller companies may take 2 days, but for larger companies it may take 5-6 days or longer. The fee paid also covers the administration involved with arranging the visit, writing up the subsequent report and dealing with any subsequent queries from the company or the Charter’s administration office.

Prospective Assessors should appreciate that the process of selecting and appointing new Assessors can be protracted, often taking several weeks to complete, as this involves both assessment and observation in the role. Ideally, the BSF are looking for a geographical spread of Assessors across the UK. If you are successful after the selection process but there is no vacancy in your geographical area, we will ask to keep your details on file for when there is a suitable vacancy, with due regard to data protection and GDPR.

Please submit your CV to assessment@buildingasaferfuture.org.uk by 5pm on Tuesday 6th April 2021. Please also include a covering letter that shows how you meet the competencies listed in the job description, as BSF use an equal opportunities selection process to shortlist candidates for interview against these. Whilst we will endeavour to respond to everyone who applies, if you do not hear from us within one calendar month, please assume you have not been shortlisted.

We are hoping to interview shortlisted candidates from Monday 12th April 2021 via zoom, with a view to starting inductions from the 17th April ready for the soft launch the 26th April.

Please download the full job description and competency requirements HERE

Homes England commits to Building a Safer Future

09 Dec, 2020

Homes England, the Government’s housing delivery agency, has become a Registered Signatory of the Building a Safer Future Charter.

Registered Signatories commit to putting people’s safety first during the design, construction, refurbishment and occupation of residential buildings.

This builds on the recent news from Homes England that those looking to use the new Help to Buy scheme must have signed the Building a Safer Future Charter.

The agency is calling on the sector to follow its lead and is exploring options that will require developers and other organisations looking to work with Homes England to also become Registered Signatories of the Charter.

Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Homes England said:

“Designing and constructing buildings that are safe to live in is a fundamental responsibility of everyone working in the built environment. Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review and the investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire have shone a light on the sector overlooking the safety of its residents and customers, and this absolutely has to change.”

“Homes England is committed to making the housing market work for everyone and will leverage its role in the sector, as well as its land, funding and expertise to change behaviour, and build a consensus around transparency, collaboration and prioritising the safety of residents.”

Duncan Sutherland, Homes England Deputy Chair:

“As Chair of Homes England’s Safety, Health and Environment Committee I welcome today’s announcement as a positive step forward and signal of intent. I know the agency is committed to showing leadership in this space and is looking at how it can go further. The Board will continue to challenge and support the Homes England Executive to exhibit, promote and lever the behaviours we want our partners and the wider sector to display.”

Amanda Long, Chief Executive of the Building Safety Charter said:

“It is superb for the momentum of the Building a Safer Future Charter to have Homes England’s commitment to the principles of the Charter and using its influential position to encourage sign-up of the Charter.

“We are seeing an increasing number of organisations at all levels and sectors within the construction industry becoming Registered Signatories of the Charter. This is particularly encouraging as we look to next year and the evolution of how the Charter will utilise benchmarking and verification to underpin its aims of engaging with the entire industry to drive the urgent need for positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment.”

Click here to become a Registered Signatory of the Charter and here to see the latest list of Registered Signatories.

Building a Safer Future Charter announces Independent Chair and Board

02 Nov, 2020

The Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter has announced the appointment of its first independent Chair and Board of Directors.

The Board has been created to provide robust governance and accountability of the BSF Charter and marks an important step in the BSF Charter’s development. The Board is responsible for providing effective leadership in collaboration with the BSF Charter’s Chief Executive, Amanda Long.

Stephen Elliott (Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association) has been appointed as the independent Chair of the skills-based Board of Directors of the not-for-profit organisation.

In addition to Stephen, the Board comprises eight Board Directors: John Brett (London Borough of Camden, Director of Resident Safety); Paula Heatley (Peabody, Assistant Director New Homes & Quality); John Monks (British Airways, Director of Safety and Security); Diana Montgomery (Construction Products Association, Chief Operating Officer); Teresa Ocansey (Board member and resident of Wandle Housing); Lucy Rowsell (Effiage, Kier, Ferrovial Bam JV (for HS2), Head of Information Management); Jeremy Stibbe (JSA Ltd, building safety planning and regeneration); and Graham Watts (Construction Industry Council, Chief Executive Officer).

The composition of experience and expertise drawn from the Board Directors provides the essential knowledge and understanding of resident safety, working with residents and communities, construction and the built environment, local authorities, housing associations, combined with external non-industry expertise in different fields of major hazard safety, including the aviation sector.

As independent Chair of the Board, Stephen’s leadership of the CIA brings in-depth knowledge and understanding of the CIA’s Responsible Care program (a voluntary set of health, safety and environmental commitments undertaken by chemical businesses to support all aspects of their operational activities at UK sites to ensure high levels of protection for employees, customers, the public and other stakeholders, and for the environment). This understanding is integral to the success of the BSF Charter as many of the learnings from Responsible Care – first established in the UK in 1989 – will help to provide the BSF Charter with a robust and proven model for engagement across the built environment.

As well as Stephen’s role in leading the Chemical Industries Association, Stephen brings a wealth of experience and understanding of major hazards and process safety management across other roles including being member of the COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Strategic Forum and a member of the Process Safety Management Competence Board.

Building a Safer Future Charter Chief Executive Amanda Long commented: “The BSF Charter is all about putting people’s safety first in how we plan for, design, build, maintain, and look after the safety of the buildings we live, work or play in and protect those that use them. Getting the right combination of expertise by bringing together independent Board Directors with direct experience in resident safety and community engagement programmes, as well as expertise major hazard safety and senior leadership from within construction will help to achieve the positive culture and behaviour changes which puts building safety first.”

Stephen Elliott, Building a Safer Future Chair, said: “I am extremely pleased and proud to be involved in helping to lead the Building a Safer Future Charter, alongside my fellow Board Directors and the Charter’s Chief Executive.

“The BSF Charter is at an incredibly important phase of development and adoption by organisations working across the built environment. Working hard to deliver a robust, challenging and accountable Charter will be crucial if we are to achieve the trust amongst all building users, those who work in the industry, communities and the wider public.”

To find out more about the independent Chair and Board of Directors, click here.

Click here to become a Registered Signatory of the Charter.

CCS appointed to develop & manage BSF Charter

The Considerate Constructors Scheme have been appointed in an open selection process earlier this year to develop and manage the Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter.

The BSF Charter has been established to drive a culture change across the built environment; to help to drive a culture that seeks to ensure that buildings are safe for those living and working in them and seeks to protect life by putting safety first, ahead of all other building priorities.

It was originally conceived and created by a group of ‘Early Adopters’ comprising local authorities, contractors, housing associations and property developers, with the support of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

To develop and manage the BSF Charter, the CCS is working closely with the Early Adopters, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, and other relevant organisations to it forwards.

Speaking about how the CCS will work to develop and manage the BSF Charter going forwards, Chief Executive Amanda Long said: “We are focussing on raising standards in the industry and building public trust in relation to building safety. We will do this by providing a robust approach to benchmarking and independent verification of projects, as well as providing a public portal for anyone to raise concerns they may have about the safety of a building.

“At the same time, we are currently developing the BSF Charter’s Learning and Excellence Hub to create a community where best practice on building safety is shared and relevant examples, case studies and other resources are signposted. This will help to provide the ongoing information and collaboration space needed to support behaviour change, continuous engagement, and relevance.

We have received over 100 early expressions of interest from organisations and individuals across the built environment who would like to become a Registered Signatory and we look forward to these organisations and many more becoming part of the BSF Charter community.”

To find out more about the BSF Charter and to become a signatory of the Charter, click here.

For the latest government advice and news on building safety Click Here