How can we expect installers to behave when schemes are blurring the lines?

By Jon Vanstone, Certass.

Recent marketing to the sector has seen a noticeable shift away from fair play to statements made by bodies that should know better.

This demonstrates the pressure caused by increased competition evident throughout 2018. But how can we expect installers to make the right decisions when it comes to choosing B2B services when the accuracy of statements is low?

Influence over the mass-consumer home improvement market is dominated by big names like Google, Amazon and John Lewis, as well as the high-capitalised marketing brands like Checkatrade. Glazing compliance bodies do not have anywhere near the resonance with the searching consumer as Gas Safe Register or NICEIC.

Our market specialist associations cannot compete for the consumers attention in the advertising arena and campaigns alluding to do such are wasting resources that should be recycled back to their membership.

In glazing, the brands to promote are that of the manufacturer, fabricator or the installer. Our product is incredibly visual and the choice for the consumer is based on aesthetics and trust derived from local recommendation. Price is often a third factor and a consumer can be influenced that a fair price for a quality job is more expensive than lots of current advertising from large brands suggests.

Associations and competency schemes are there to support their members’ businesses and not compete for the limelight.

People are growing weary of statistics and campaigns, derived from other sectors in time gone past, designed to confuse the reader. As chair of the Competent Person Forum I feel I should also state that a self-certification scheme in isolation cannot guarantee a job is done right, when in fact its job is to provide a self-certified Building Regulations Compliance certificate and registration with the appropriate authority.

We need a fresh wind to clear away the smoke confusing the market, as installers do not have the time to look into the validity of statements. Government has informed schemes that this sort of behaviour needs to stop, but it may well require intervention by the ASA to stop this proliferation in its tracks.

FIT Show is coming, which is a very exciting time for our industry. The skills debate will rage at a time when the qualification landscape is shifting to better suit the delivery of competent workers. This requires significant restructure of the existing old-style qualification and MTC configuration, learning from the work of bodies such as RoofCERT which has led the roofing market to jump ahead of what we do in glazing.

I look forward to the opportunity to engage and be held accountable for views and opinions at the show, I only hope that such requirement is placed on all who represent our great industry.