The Hackitt review found that poor procurement in construction compromised building safety © Getty Images
The Hackitt review found that poor procurement in construction compromised building safety © Getty Images

Free tool launched to boost construction procurement

14 December 2020

CIPS has launched a Construction Procurement Competence Tool to allow those responsible for construction and remedial works of higher-risk buildings to identify gaps in skills and competencies. 

The tool will allow users in the construction sector to benchmark themselves against the required competencies and skills to meet more rigorous purchasing standards following the Grenfell Tower fire.

It was developed following recommendations outlined by the Competency Steering Group’s (CSG) Setting the Bar report, which aimed to tackle “competency failings” in the construction sector.

The report identified the need for a procurement lead with a comprehensive competence level at every stage of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Plan of Work.

CIPS, which chaired the procurement working group of the CSG, developed the tool, which lets users in the construction sector select their job role, such as building safety manager, principle contractor, or procurement leader, and job competencies, which have been set against stages outlined by RIBA.

The stages, marked from 0 to seven, cover definition, capabilities and knowledge and have been matched to levels in the CIPS global framework. The user will receive a summary of skills and competencies and where there are gaps for improvement. 

Organisations can map what procurement competency levels are required at each stage of a build, and identify key roles and levels of understanding to support enhanced safety aims. 

The use of combustible cladding was blamed for the rapid spread of the blaze at the Grenfell Tower which killed 72 people in 2017. 

The Hackitt review, published the following year, recognised that poor procurement practices in construction lead to decisions that compromise building and life safety.

Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS and chair of the procurement working group, said: “The free tool is a result of a collaborative project to help support the construction sector to combat its common challenges and reach a balanced approach as the pressures of price, margin and safety remain. We hope it will give the sector more confidence and knowledge about procurement and build a better future for residents of higher risk buildings.

“The Grenfell tragedy will stick in our minds for many years to come and CIPS is proud to have been part of the work to improve standards to increase competence and ultimately ensure the safety of citizens in their homes.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed that insulation used in the building’s renovation was not known for use on high-rise buildings and was supplied at a 50% discount.

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