What is a Competent Person Scheme
Competent person schemes were introduced by the Government to allow individuals and enterprises to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations as an alternative to submitting a building notice or using an approved inspector.
The principles of self-certification are based on giving people who are competent in their field the ability to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations without the need to submit a building notice and thus incurring local authority inspections or fees. It is hoped that moving towards self-certification will significantly enhance compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, reduce costs for firms joining recognised schemes, and promote training and competence within the industry. It should also help tackle the problem of ‘cowboy builders’, and assist local authorities with enforcement of the Building Regulations.
A number of organisations have been approved by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to operate a Competent Persons Scheme. Scheme members are able to self-certify their plumbing and ventilation work saving the time and expense of submitting a building notice and taking away the hassle of dealing with Local Building Control – which is a legal obligation if an operative carries out this type of work.
As part of the application process, businesses will be assessed to ensure that the following criteria can be satisfied and that the work can be carried out safely:
• The business must have an appropriate number of operatives in relation to the amount of work undertaken
• A declaration that the business possesses public liability insurance of at least £2 million
• A declaration the business is able to offer its customers an insurance backed warranty which will cover the work for a period of at least 6 years
Additionally, businesses will need to be able to demonstrate that they are able to satisfy the following items:
• Provide evidence of training and or experience for all operatives carrying out installation work
• Access to relevant technical reference documents
• Access to appropriate relevant calibrated / certificated test equipment
• A principle duty holder responsible for each Competent Persons Scheme
• An auditable system which covers appropriate certification and reporting of the work undertaken by the business
• An auditable system identifying responsibilities within the business for the safety, quality and standards of the work
• Operate an effective complaints system
• A written Health & Safety Policy statement where required by law (for businesses with 5 or more operatives) and to carry out risk assessment as appropriate
The business will be assessed for technical competence which will include an on site work inspection.
Training, Experience and Qualifications
The qualification requirement for membership of the various Competent Persons Schemes appears to vary slightly between scheme operators. In some cases an operative may be accepted to join a scheme without holding formal qualifications but will be required to demonstrate technical competence when the on site work inspection is carried out.
Currently BPEC offer a range of qualifications that will “support” an operatives application to join a Competent Persons Scheme and help the operative to demonstrate the required technical competence when the on site visit takes place, these include:
• ACS (Gas)
• OFTEC (Oil)
• BPEC Un-vented hot water storage
• BPEC Water Regulations
• BPEC Disinfection of Water Systems (Legionella)
• BPEC Solar Domestic Water Heating
* A qualification of this type (or an S/NVQ Level 3 with Unit for un-vented hot water systems) is a mandatory requirement for operatives who wish to join the un-vented hot water storage category of the CORGI Plumbing Scheme
Existing Competent Persons Schemes
Please also remember that the many of the current BPEC Certification Ltd. qualifications also meet the qualification requirements of the relevant Competent Persons Scheme operators.
Competent Persons Scheme operators who recognise BPEC qualifications include:
• APHC – tel. 0121 711 5030
• BRE – tel. 0845 618 1514
• CORGI – tel. 01256 372200
• ELECSA – tel. 0870 7490080
• HETAS – tel. 0845 6345626
• NAPIT – tel. 0870 4441392
• OFTEC – tel. 0845 6585080