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ICE and IStructE announce partnership to ensure the safety of tall buildings

26 October 2023

The institutions will work together in running a new higher-risk buildings competency register.

ICE and IStructE announce partnership to ensure the safety of tall buildings
Engineers working on higher-risk building projects will need to be assessed against a new standard to feature on the competency register. Image credit: Shutterstock

The ICE and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) have agreed to run a joint registration process for a new competency register for members working as designers on tall buildings.

The tall buildings are defined by the Building Safety Act as Higher Risk Buildings (HRBs).

The register aims to assure people that engineers involved in the construction and maintenance of HRBs are working to new, legally required high standards.

An HRB in England is a building that’s at least 18m tall or has at least seven storeys, and contains at least two residential units or is a care home or hospital.

Who is the new register for?

The new register is aimed at engineers who are professionally qualified or meet the criteria to become professionally qualified, working in the structural design and delivery of HRBs.

As with the professional qualification, there will be three levels of registration: Chartered, Incorporated and Technician.

The new registration was developed in response to the Building Safety Act 2022, which came into force for duty holders in England in October 2023.

The act also appointed the UK government's Health and Safety Executive as the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR).

The BSR will be the building control authority for HRBs.

What is the new standard?

The ICE has been working with the Engineering Council UK to develop the new register.

It will assess engineers against a new standard known as the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment contextualised for Higher-Risk Buildings (UK-SPEC HRB).

UK-SPEC HRB is supplemented by discipline-specific annexes for:

  • Structural engineering
  • Fire engineering
  • Building services engineering

The standard is based on the BSI standard Core Criteria for building safety in competence frameworks – BSI flex 8670.

The HSE has developed guidance for the new HRB regime, including the requirements for competence declarations. 

BSI has also provided other specification guidance documents for the new Building Safety Act roles. 

Next steps

The ICE and IStructE are working on the final arrangements for licensing and registration processes.

Eligible members will be invited to apply early in 2024.

ICE advice notes for duty holder roles associated with non-HRBs will be available in due course.

For further information, please contact Brendan van Rooyen, head of professional services at the ICE.

  • Brendan van Rooyen , Head of Professional Services at Institution of Civil Engineers