Launch of the Installer Protection Committee
Jon Vanstone, chair at Certass Trade Association talks about the new Installer Protection Committee.
Too often, installers were given the rough end of the stick, whether it be from rogue consumers, manufacturer terms or legislation.
It seems that the balance is often against those who fit glazing products whether in homes, for housing association work, or commercial premises. Not enough has been done to ensure the position that installers work under is fair and reasonable for more than just the contracting party.
Covid has heightened these concerns as installers have faced supply chain issues, product warranty failures, and consumer cancellations beyond contract. This has increased the requirement for fitting businesses to have more paperwork and agreements to protect the finances of the business. Not the position many thought they would be in when starting to run their own installing business.
Not all installers are equal though, and those with deep pockets and national coverage are often able to garner enough support through the size of invoices they pay to associations and PR firms to pressure some outcomes, but still the big-ticket items often elude them. The rules are then sometimes tweaked to favour only the larger installers, as seen with the Green Homes Grant reliance on standards not used in our sector and introduced with no warning.
However, 95%+ of installers are left unsupported, expected to follow positions dictated by structures against which they have no input and, whenever it is sought, it seems to be only to tick a box. Government is often saying they engaged with industry, when the real translation is “we engaged with some large bodies such as the CLC who only represent the views of large businesses”.
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) engagement to date with our sector has been very self-serving, and the requirements for large scale construction sites should not be mapped onto the activities of local tradespeople. So, we need to create our own path and, when engaging with government and the wider industry, tell our own stories.
I was, therefore, pleased to be approached with the opportunity to do more. It is easy to form a committee but not so easy to ensure that it can be listened to. It doesn’t matter what one competent person scheme or trade association does in isolation if the others follow a different path. The recent meetings established to discuss the Future Homes Standards with government will not have the impact desired by our industry as we were too late and disjointed.
I can tell you that in the future we as an industry will be held to greater account, with more insight into our operations required to meet the rules and be eligible for the grant funding. We know those who comply with the rules seem to be disadvantaged against those who don’t and the process to address this may require the introduction of the Building Safety Regulator in October 2022 before genuine progress is made on this.
However, not everything is outside of our control and, through my experience of working with government and the contacts we hold, we know how we can make a difference. Certass members have had direct access to me for the last year through our CTA Facebook forum, and this will continue as the market changes radically in the next two years. We have had numerous interesting debates on Facebook that have led to actions being taken.
So, we are going to do a bit more for the wider market. Certass Trade Association has, therefore, funded the creation of the Installer Protection Committee, designed purely to lobby on issues that affect the installer community. Over the last month we have held many meetings with influencers and decision makers to ensure what we produce has an impact and talk about how we engage going forward.
Our first call of business is to work on the guarantees and related IBGs that often trap installers in difficult circumstances. The value in this product is often not clear to those who purchase it and there needs to be a better deal as regards the benefits it brings.
It is time for us to get some things done and to rally those who are willing to put some time in to making it better for the market at large.
If you want to get in touch and do something more then we want to hear from you.