GAI talk: Simon Forrester, GAI chief executive on competence

With the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, expecting to address leaseholder protection and shortfalls in cladding replacement, coupled with changes to the Defective Premises Act extending to buildings constructed in the past 30 years, does this indicate a willingness to hold those who mis-specify to account in the future? It would seem so, and the direction of travel of the Building Safety Bill supports this.

 It has therefore never been more important to ensure the people you appoint to design and specify ironmongery are trained and competent to carry out the work. This creates reassurance, in the event of a change of product or design, that it will be overseen by a professional. 

The Registered Architectural Ironmonger (RegAI) is the shorthand for competence in the specification of architectural hardware. Should something go wrong with a building you are responsible for, do you have the certainty that the work of the whole value chain has been carried out by professionals? Sadly, a straw poll of architects and contractors carried out last month shows this has not always been the case in recent times. And following a tragedy, regulators have long memories. So, what skeletons lurk in your filing cabinets? 

 We’re heading towards a position where accountability and demonstration of competence will intertwine to catch out anyone taking short cuts or adapting specification to reduce cost without due consideration of the effect. “It’s fine,a handle is a handle, right?” No. 

This is why it is vital that you always consult a RegAI for every project.

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