Description of building inspectors, their role and how to register.
Building inspectors are an essential part of the construction industry. They ensure safety by confirming that works have been completed correctly and in accordance with building regulations.
The role of a building inspector
Building inspectors work for local authorities or registered building control approvers (RBCAs). They are responsible for carrying out regulated building control activities such as:
- Assessing plans
- Giving advice to building control bodies carrying out regulated functions
From April 2024 building inspectors must be registered with the regulatory authority in order to undertake regulated building control activities in Wales.
Competency of Registered Building Inspectors
The requirement for building inspectors to be registered will not change the day to day duties that they conduct, but it will establish a baseline level of competence across the industry and ensure safety increases across the country.
There are four classes of competency available:
Class 1 RBIs will not require a competency assessment. Class 1 RBIs can only work under supervision. This class is suitable for those new to the profession, or undergoing training.
Class 2 denotes a specific level of competency as assessed by an approved scheme. RBIs accredited at this level may work unsupervised on building categories they are registered to work on, which may include:
- Category A, a residential dwelling house for a single household, less than 7.5m in height
- Category B, residential flats and dwelling houses, less than 11m in height
- Category C, residential flats and dwelling houses, 11m or more but less than 18m in height
- Category D, all building types and uses, less than 7.5m in height
- Category E, all building types, 7.5m or more but less than 11m in height
- Category F, all building types, 11m or more but less than 18m in height
Class 3 competency denotes advanced capability. RBIs who have evidenced capability at this level may work unsupervised on building categories they are registered to work on which may include:
- Category A to F buildings
- Category G, all building types, including standard and non-standard but excluding high-risk, with no height limit
- Category H, all building types, including high-risk
This class of competency is intended for those in management or supervisory positions. It is an addition to Class 2 or Class 3 competency. Somebody operating with this classification must not carry out unsupervised activities rated above their primary class – for example, a Class 4 technical manager who has been assessed as competent to deal with Class 2 activities must not carry out any Class 3 activities unless supervised.
You may administratively manage a building control team without being registered as a building inspector, but you cannot manage building control professionals on technical matters unless you are registered.
To register as a Class 2, 3 or 4 building inspector, you will need to complete an independent competency assessment. There are three approved schemes:
- Building Safety Competence Foundation (BSCF)
- Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)
- Total Training Development Ltd
These schemes will assess your competency via a portfolio of your work as well as an exam or interview. The assessment evaluates your skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours against the building inspector competence framework. Successful completion of an assessment will enable you to claim a certificate proving your competency which will be used as part of your registration application. You must be reassessed at least every 4 years.
Registering as a building inspector
You can apply to register as a building inspector online.
Registrations will usually be valid for 4 years.
After you’ve registered
Once registered, you must maintain and develop your competence as a building inspector. This means you must:
- abide by the code of conduct
- continue to develop your skills and knowledge, this can be evidenced by maintaining an up-to-date portfolio of work
- complete an independent competency assessment at least every 4 years
- be supervised if you carry out work outside of your current registration class or competence
If you want to expand the range of work you are registered to do, you can do so by:
- developing your competence within your class, to work across more building categories
- passing an independent competency assessment to change your registration class
To gain experience working on tasks outside of your current class or competence, you can carry out the work, but you must be supervised. You must be supervised by a building inspector registered to the appropriate class and competence of the work you are carrying out.
Supervision is managed by your employer. If you are self-employed, you should liaise with the building control body you are working for and arrange supervision from a suitable registered building inspector.
The work you do under supervision is assessed by your supervisor and they are accountable for your work. Employers must have a system in place to make sure all supervised work is up to standard.
Supervised work must be recorded in the project’s files, and you should keep evidence of your work in your portfolio.
Your details will appear on the public register of building inspectors maintained by the BSR. The register allows people to verify who is a registered building inspector and the work they are registered to do.
The register shows:
- your name
- if you are employed by a building control body, your employer’s name and address
- if you are self-employed, the business address you submitted in your application
- your registration class
- which categories of buildings you are registered to work on
- the start and end date of your registration
- details of any conditions attached to your registration, such as limits on the type of work you can do
Removal from the register
Your details can be removed from the register if:
- you ask to be taken off because you no longer want to work as a building inspector
- you do not renew your registration before it expires
- you are found to be in breach of your responsibilities and your registration is suspended or cancelled
If your details are removed from the register, the BSR will continue to keep your details in line with our data retention policy.
If you want to take a career break from working as a registered building inspector, you can ask for your details not to be publicly available on the register.
To ask to be removed from the register, call the BSR on 0300 790 6787.
Making changes to your registration
You must notify the BSR within 28 days of any changes relevant to your registration, such as:
- your name
- your home address or contact address
- your contact details
- your employer and employer details
- if you want to change your registration class or categories of work
- any relevant criminal convictions
- if you are sanctioned by a professional body
- if you are declared bankrupt, or subject to other action as detailed in the code of conduct for registered building inspectors
- if you no longer wish to be on the register
You can read more about the rules of registration in annex 3 of the code of conduct for registered building inspectors (hse.gov.uk).
To update your registration, call the BSR on 0300 790 6787
Professional misconduct and complaints
If you are found to be guilty of professional misconduct you could face sanctions. A breach of the code of conduct may be used as evidence of professional misconduct.
You are committing an offence and could be prosecuted if you:
- carry out work that you are not registered to do without supervision
- work as a building inspector after April 2024 without being registered