Have the tables turned?

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell discusses how having the right skills really pays off.

Following the credit crunch and recession 10 years ago, companies right across the construction industry laid off staff, choosing instead to hire contractors as when they were needed. This included window fitting teams.

Staff cuts are an obvious barometer for the health of any industry, and in the glass and glazing industry it has contributed to the skills crisis we are now facing – both in terms of having access to experienced fitters, and people to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

Of course, fenestration – like every other industry – has always had to deal with the effects of people who aren’t trained to do their jobs properly. Talk to any seasoned fitter and they will have countless anecdotes that’ll make your eyes water. Often, a DIY enthusiast can do better.

Thankfully, we are starting to shake off the bad reputation that double glazing earned in years gone by, and news that celebrity architect George Clarke has become a brand ambassador for DGCOS  should be welcomed.

I wonder if it also reflects the health of the home improvement market. Despite news that home improvement appears to be declining, anecdotal evidence I hear from pretty much everyone I talk to suggests the market is very healthy.

In fact, I understand that installation companies are starting to build up their installation teams, and getting as many of their fitters on their books as possible.
However, this is being meet with some resistance because experienced contract fitters can make a lot more money than salaried ones. If there was ever reason to promote learning a set of skills, this must be it.