HSE hunts for chief inspector to lead post-Grenfell building regulator

Watchdog offers up to £140k for safety role created in response to Grenfell Tower disaster
Grenfell Tower. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

By Jim Dunton

08 Oct 2020

The Health and Safety Executive is seeking a top offical to lead the new Building Safety Regulator, which is set to be introduced with a staff  in “excess of 700”.

It is offering up to £140,000 a year for the chief inspector of buildings, which will head up a new directorate at HSE. At the top end of the scale, the figure would be £5,000 more than HSE chief executive Sarah Albon’s 2019-20 salary.

The creation of a new Building Safety Regulator to sit within HSE derives from one of Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations in her review of building regulations and fire safety, conducted in the wake of 2017’s Grenfell Tower tragedy, which claimed 72 lives. Hackitt is herself a former chair of the HSE.

According to Albon, the new chief inspector of buildings will be the “face and voice of the new regulator” and the head of profession for the building-control sector. They will also work closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local councils and local fire authorities.

The successful candidate will need to be “passionate about working with the construction industry, residents and other regulators to improve practice and culture”, Albon said. She cautioned that the job would be “seriously challenging as well as extremely rewarding”.

Albon said the government’s intention for the regulator was that it would be responsible for implementing a new regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings in England – typically residential structures that are taller than 18m, or six storeys, in height.

The new regulator will also provide “wider and stronger oversight of safety and performance across all buildings, and increasing the competence of those working on building safety”, according to the government. It is one element in the government’s draft building safety bill.

And the regulator will be responsible for all “major regulatory decisions” made at key points in the design, construction, occupation and refurbishment of relevant buildings, and ensuring new rights for residents to receive safety information about their buildings are fulfilled.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate a proven track record of changing safety behaviour and culture in the construction industry or a comparable sector, the application pack for the role says.

Other desirable attributes include outstanding leadership and communication skills and experience in the establishment of large and complex operational or service-delivery units – or the leadership of such organisations.

The deadline for applications is 23:55 on 6 November.

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