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New Street Works Act & Permit Compliance Qualification

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014 | Author: Paul Buey | Permalink

Local Highway Authority’s budgets for road maintenance have continued to reduce in recent years and budgets are set to fall a further 10% in real terms from 2015-2016 to 2020-2021.

The 2014 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey showed that most highway authorities in the country are managing a highway network in decline, with 18 per cent of the road network managed by councils considered to be in poor condition. It is therefore increasingly important that Local Highway Authorities take the opportunity to maximize existing revenue sources and reduce unnecessary expenditure on reactive Highway maintenance repairs whenever possible.

Against this backdrop of reduced funding and a deteriorating Highway Network, this new qualification offers a process to support the achievement of both objectives and potentially improve the quality of utility works; while ensuring the utility contractors are funding relevant defects or non compliance and paying for the relevant inspections. The new City & Guilds 6033 Unit 321 NRSWA and Permit Compliance Inspections qualification has been developed by Skills Training Centre Ltd (STC) in response to demand from Highway Authorities and Contractors who have undertaken the industry’s leading qualification for Highway Safety Inspectors, City & Guilds 6033 Unit 311 which supports Highway authorities with appropriate management systems to successfully defend against highway liability claims.

The existing Safety Inspection qualification which is detailed in the CoPfHMM, is now being supplemented by the new qualification which has taken 12 months to develop and is aimed at Highway Authorities; Utilities and Private Sector Contractors involved in Street Works activities.

One area the qualification focuses on, is ensuring that Highway Safety Inspectors are made more aware of the lower intervention levels for Street Works defects and encouraging them to share information with their NRSWA Inspection colleagues and vice versa. As the guarantee period runs for two years, or three years in the case of deep openings, many minor construction defects or failings if spotted early enough, could be rectified by the contractor and not by the Highway Authority when the defect eventually becomes a safety issue, after the guarantee period has expired. Based on STC’s experience, the opportunity for Highway Authorities to make these efficiency savings is not currently being fully exploited due in part to a lack of training, which is resulting in utility contractors not being held responsible for works which fail NRSWA intervention levels and/or which cause unnecessary disruption to the travelling public due to poor Signing, Lighting and Guarding and/or poor quality works which result in early failure to the structure.

BACKGROUND TO THE QUALIFICATION
Highway Authorities are required to ensure that undertakers conducting street works in their area are complying with the legal obligations placed upon them. There is a national Code of Practice covering procedures for inspections, investigatory works, and performance monitoring arrangements. There are also situations in which the undertaker will be obliged to pay the Highway Authority a fee after they have conducted an inspection into street works, so it is critical that both parties understand what these situations are. The City & Guilds 6033 Unit 321 Qualification ensures that candidates can identify the actions that may be taken to address issues of non-compliance relating to reinstatements, safety measures, unreasonably prolonged occupation of the highway and permit conditions. It also ensures that candidates understand the procedures for measuring and managing the performance of undertakers and the financial arrangements for recovering the costs of inspections.

The new qualification is also relevant to utilities and private contractors undertaking Street Works who should inspect their own street works regularly at all stages, including at the end of the reinstatement guarantee period. The qualification provides an understanding of local HAUC and local permit conditions and consequences if standards are not being met and what the required actions are to minimise any potential charges from the Highway Authority.

The qualification provides a system to assess the knowledge and ability of relevant staff to monitor compliance. The new qualification assesses an inspector’s ability to undertake NRSWA and Permit Compliance Inspections based on the Code of Practice for Inspections 2002; Draft HAUC Code of Practice for Inspections (For new developments since the 2002 CoP); and the Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways. The training and assessment also covers a number of other national Codes of Practice; TMA 2004; national guidance notes; can also include local policies and procedures; and can also have the local HAUC and local Permit scheme requirements built in as part of a bespoke qualification package.

The rigorous assessment process involves a Written Theory Paper (Open Book); a one to one observation of a practical NRSWA Inspection & recording of the inspection and any defects; and individual show me/tell me oral questioning while on site.

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING QUALIFIED STAFF - HIGHWAY AUTHORITIES

  • Ensuring fees and non-compliance charges are consistently applied and enforced
  • Reducing your spending on reactive and safety inspection related Highway Maintenance
  • Improving the quality of your network infrastructure
  • Ensuring contractors are compliant with NRSWA and Permit requirements
  • Minimising the environmental impact of Street Works on your network
  • Ensuring appropriate inspections are carried out correctly and accurately recorded
  • Qualified staff have greater credibility when enforcing compliance
  • Ensuring staff have detailed knowledge of the relevant Codes of Practice; TMA 2004; Local HAUC guidance and Local Permit Schemes
  • Ensuring a standardised and consistent approach to compliance
  • Increasing levels of staff confidence to carry out compliance work more effectively
  • Provide recognition with a City & Guilds qualification specifically designed for staff responsible for compliance within a Highway Authority

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING QUALIFIED STAFF - UTILITIES & PRIVATE CONTRACTORS

  • Ensuring you are compliant with NRSWA and permitting requirements – what compliance qualification do your NRSWA supervisors and managers currently hold?
  • Saving money by minimising fees and non-compliance  charges
  • Reducing costs of remedial works covered by the guarantee period
  • Minimising the environmental impact of your Street Works
  • Improving your company profile and image
  • Ensuring staff have detailed knowledge of the relevant Codes of Practice; TMA 2004; National & Local HAUC guidance and Local Permit Schemes
  • Increasing levels of staff confidence to deal with compliance related issues more effectively
  • Providing recognition with a City & Guilds qualification specifically designed for staff responsible for compliance within a street works undertaker.

FUNDING THE NEW QUALIFICATION
Section 96 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 allows Highway Authorities to use income from fees and charges towards general staff costs and overheads (e.g. staff training).  Potentially this may mean that additional revenue may then be generated to fund the scheme and potentially to fund additional inspectors.

For Utilities & Private Contractors, the investment in training will assist in saving money by minimising fees and non-compliance charges and reducing the longer term cost of remedial works covered by the guarantee period.

WHO IS THE QUALIFICATION RELEVANT TO?
The new qualification is intended for NRSWA Inspectors; Traffic Managers; Supervisors; Highway Managers; and NRSWA Administration staff within Highway Authorities and in Utility & Private Contractors it is suitable for Supervisors; Managers; and NRSWA Administration staff.

The City & Guilds Training and Assessment programme is available UK wide or via open courses in North London. The qualification has been developed specifically to meet the needs of clients who wish to achieve best practice based on national and local standards, whilst also providing opportunities for staff to achieve a nationally recognised City & Guilds vocational qualification. The certification is valid for 5 years.

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