GAI helps to shape competency standards from designers and specifiers

Latest News Tue, Dec 7, 2021 8:08 AM

The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) has joined two steering groups focussed on improving competency of wider construction professionals specifying building products.

As members of the Competence Steering Group’s Working Group 7 (WG7) and the PAS 8671 standard steering group, the GAI will be representing the building products sector to help shape the competency frameworks for those working with fire safety products including principal designers, architects and engineers.

The recently published BSI Flex 8670 standard provides an overarching framework for competence of individuals and as part of this specific Publicly Available Specifications (PASs) have been created for the duty holder roles identified under the Building Safety Bill: the principal designer (PAS 8671), principal contractor (PAS 8672), and the building safety manager (PAS 8673).

As these three roles will have overarching responsibility for activities relating to building and life safety during a building’s design, construction and operation, including refurbishment and maintenance, they will require enhanced competencies above any discipline-related competencies.

One of the proposed measures in the new PAS 8671 standard is for the principal designer to establish a Change Control Plan and record design changes within it.

Douglas Masterson, technical manager at the GAI, says this is a crucial step forward for the building products industry.

“The potential introduction of a Change Control Plan and ensuring that even the smallest specification change is documented is something that will be welcomed by not just architectural ironmongers, but the whole building products industry,” he said.

“Being part of wider industry groups like PAS 8671 and WG7 allows the Guild to raise awareness not only of the time and financial investment of the companies that write in-depth product specifications, but also the technical knowledge and experience of those producing specifications and schedules, only for them to frequently be changed and substituted with alternative products, that aren’t necessarily like-for-like, often due to last minute pricing decisions.”

The GAI has been part of Working Group 12 since its inception in October 2018. Earlier this year, Douglas Masterson became co-chair of the group alongside Hanna Clarke of the Construction Products Association (CPA). As a result of its contribution, it has been asked to join WG7 which is working on the competency for building designers. WG7 consists of bodies that regulate and present building designers and architects including the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and RIBA, and other architectural, engineering, fire safety, surveying and architectural technology professions.

“The Guild has worked hard to improve the wider construction industry’s understanding of the critical role of architectural ironmongery for over 60 years,” adds Douglas. “Alongside our education programme, we’ve developed a series of free Specifier’s Guides and corresponding RIBA-approved CPDs to cover a variety of specification scenarios including fire safety, the internet of things, specialist applications, accessibility, and security. Both products and standards are constantly evolving so it is crucial that anyone working with architectural ironmongery is keeping their knowledge up to date with the latest best practice guidance.”

The Specifier’s Guides can be downloaded from the GAI website: www.gai.org.uk/GAISpecGuides

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