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Learn about the relaunched RIBA Health and Safety Test

How will it test your competence in health and life safety issues? Learn about the videos and guidance that can help you prepare.

18 November 2021

To ensure chartered architects reach a higher standard of knowledge in health and safety, and in the life safety of building users, the RIBA is introducing an online health and safety test.

This will provide all Chartered Members with evidence of their competence.

Why has the RIBA introduced a mandatory health and safety test?

The Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Edinburgh Schools Inquiry and the review of the building safety regulatory regime all revealed the need to raise general levels of professional competence in relation to building safety.

The RIBA health and safety test will help ensure you are safe on site; and are able to demonstrate that you are competent to design buildings that are safe to construct, inhabit, use and maintain.

How can I take the test? When will it become mandatory?

The test is taken online, and can be taken now. It is not currently mandatory but it is likely to become mandatory for the 2024 subscription year.

What topics does the test cover?

The RIBA has developed a knowledge schedule for the mandatory competence in health and life safety. The first half covers personal safety for designers and related consultants on construction sites and other professional environments; the second covers the wider design processes, providing detailed guidance on CDM regulations and design for fire safety.

  1. Preparing to visit site
  2. Undertaking site visits
  3. Site hazards
  4. Design risk management
  5. Statute, Guidance and Codes of Conduct
  6. CDM Regulations
  7. Principles of Fire Safety Design

The knowledge schedule summarises the overall content, including areas such as site hazards, design risk management and principles of fire safety design.

How can I prepare for the test?

Dieter Bentley-Gockmann, Director at EPR Architects, was instrumental in developing the RIBA Health and Safety Guide. This is a highly illustrated, user friendly publication which architects can use to prepare for the test. Bentley-Gockmann explains the guide and its relation to the test in the feature How can you prepare for the health and life safety competency test?

There is nothing in the test that is not covered by the Health and Safety Guide. It provides practitioners with guidance on site safety, both before and during construction, significant hazards and design risk management to dispense their professional services and legal duties competently and safely.

Are there any related CPD materials for the test?

In addition to the Health and Safety Guide, there is a series of five videos available from RIBA Academy. These are free to RIBA Chartered Members. They provide an overview of the structure and content of the guide as well as helping you to prepare for the test.

What happens if I fail?

The pass mark is 80% in both the personal safety and design sections and you will receive your score immediately. If you do not hit the pass mark then you can take the test again up to five times before the system will require you to email the RIBA.

The RIBA Health and Safety Guide is a highly illustrated publication that can assist members in passing the test: all of the test’s questions are based on material in the book.

Does the test relate to any current or forthcoming ARB requirements?

The ARB does not yet have new requirements in place. It does have guidance on competence and the RIBA test exceeds this current guidance.

The RIBA is optimistic that meeting the RIBA health and life safety competency will also satisfy any future ARB requirements in this area.

If I have already taken the pilot version of the test, do I need to re-take it?

Those who have already passed the test need not retake it.

The results of RIBA Chartered Members who have taken the pilot version have been analysed and the test’s questions have now been updated for relevance and clarity.

If the UK’s regulatory regime changes in 2022, will the test also change?

Over 2022, the updates to the regulatory regime will become clearer and it is likely that the test will be updated to reflect them. Those who have already passed may then need to take a very short top-up test to cover any such new material, when the test becomes mandatory.

Thanks to Dieter Bentley-Gockmann, Director, EPR Architects; and Alex Tait, Head of Technical Practice, RIBA.

Text by Matt Milton. This is a Professional Feature edited by the RIBA Practice team. Send us your feedback and ideas

RIBA Core Curriculum topic: Health, safety and wellbeing.

As part of the flexible RIBA CPD programme, professional features count as microlearning. See further information on the updated RIBA CPD core curriculum and on fulfilling your CPD requirements as an RIBA Chartered Member.

First published Thursday 18 November 2021

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