Building Standards

Developing the Building Standards Workforce Strategy

February 4, 2020 by 2 Comments | Category Building Standards, Workforce Strategy

A Partnership Approach by Gordon Gilchrist

You might know that Building Standards Division (BSD) is currently developing a workforce strategy for the building standards verification service. We intend for the strategy to deliver positive outcomes and changes locally and nationally that will help local authorities continue to build successful teams and ensure the service is sustainable for the future.

In developing the strategy, we have developed a set of commitments supported by actions that we will work towards to deliver with partners. The commitments and related actions are based the following themes:

• developing a professional framework;
• promoting the building standards profession;
• growing education and training opportunities;
• improving succession planning activities; and
• ensuring data reporting is relevant.

Last month was a key stage in the development process when we were able to consult directly with local authorities on the vision, aims and intended outcomes from the strategy. On 23 January, we held a workshop to discuss and agree the proposed national and local level commitments and consider the practical steps required to make the strategy a success. BSD was supported by Ed Griffin from the Institute for Employment Studies, our external research consultant, who led two interactive sessions.

It was fantastic to see involvement from all 32 local authorities on the day which really showed how important the future building standards workforce is to all of us. The valuable contributions from Heads of Service, building standards professionals and colleagues from HR are helping us to tailor the strategy actions around the real-world challenges faced by verifiers.

We really appreciate the willingness from everyone to work with us at this point as the strategy is taking shape. The advice, opinions and reaction to the strategy from the group were very positive and it was great to hear support for what the commitments and actions are looking to achieve. However, we have more work to do and discussions with Local Authority Building Standards Scotland will continue to ensure there is agreement for all aspects of the strategy.

One of the main points raised was about the impact of the strategy on existing staff in building standards teams. Our approach is to be inclusive of everyone in the building standards profession so that existing staff are able to broaden their skills and pursue their careers through enhanced education and training opportunities. The focus on attracting people into job roles is balanced with more effective succession and workforce planning to ensure teams are able to deliver a first-class service. The strategy actions will recognise, but not seek to amend, existing policies and practices around recruitment, grading, promotion and conditions of employment.

The strategy actions are all intended to support managers to build a sustainable building standards verification workforce. An integral part of this effort will be to define the building standards profession more clearly and work collectively to promote careers to a much wider group of people, including “career changers” with transferable skills who are looking for a new challenge. The strategy will do this and show that building standards is a profession that values diversity and is open and accessible to all.

We are currently collating and analysing all of the feedback from the workshop and we are confident this will help shape the strategy to benefit everyone involved. Keep checking the Blog for more information on progress as we get ready for a launch in the next few months


  • henryk zukowski says:

    Due to unforeseen circumstances I have left the local authority that I was working in however I had pleasure working as a senior Building standards surveyor where the duties I carried out were not a job but a commitment to provide the best service to the customer and with the many years experience only helped the challenges to myself and staff that occur every day.
    My concern with the Developing the Building standards workforce strategy is that it only open to employees of a Local Authorities and not to those out with this profession. I have continued to keep up to date with current legislation and cannot understand why this group should not invite Surveyors who maybe be able to provide some in depth help in improving the service and encouraging new members to this job.
    As a former member of LABS this again in particular to issues that refer to specific regulations or information is only open to members but there is no
    option to allow former members to read this information apart from what is open to the public. I may not be employed with a local authority but it does not mean to say that you do not have an interest in this important service. This information is valued to all.
    I also agree that more should be done to have a policy in place where surveyors
    should have a structured CPD or diary rather that relying on other professional bodies for CPD which may not resemble work carried out by surveyors. From my experience in house learning is not mandatory and whether they help is another issue. I had pleasure in attending planning cpd which were very informative and also opened there discussions to departments out with planning that would also be of interest to building standards.
    please open your groups. I also believe that if local authorities are struggling to keep up with KPI/s that a structure is in place by government to have a task force in place to help as in other services provided by the government if it helps employment and service.

    • michellewilliamson says:

      Thank you for your comment and observations. The aim of the workforce strategy is to support those already working in the verification service, and to encourage/promote building standards as a positive career choice for new entrants. This includes identifying entry points into the profession for career starters and experienced professionals/career changers. Expanding continuing professional development is an aspect of the work to improve education and training provision to meet the evolving needs of the profession. The strategy will be delivered in partnership with building standards verifiers, Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) and professional institutions amongst others.

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