Past, present and future

“It’s been a great year, and so much more to come,” declared Anda Gregory, managing director of the Glass and Glazing Federation’s Commercial Group, when speaking at a recent press event. Here, she describes some of the organisation’s latest achievements alongside future plans.

Cooperation and unity between the GGF’s commercial businesses – including Fensa, BFRC, Installsure (formerly GGFi), Borough IT and Risa – has been unprecedented, helping us to make more of each company, in terms of promoting each other’s businesses and lending expertise to deliver the best service possible.

Starting with the rebranding of the former GGFi to Installsure, which helped to remove confusion between GGFi customers and GGF membership, 2019 has been a record year for applications to join the specialist insurance and financial services provider, facilitated by better marketing, improved communications within the group, the digital distribution of documentation and the simple provision of an online application form.

Crucial changes that were made to how the team at Risa operates, such as renaming inspectors as assessors, has fundamentally changed how we do things so that the assessors now develop personal relationships with the Fensa Approved Installers in their area. This improves customer service, and delivers a higher number of on-site assessments with the fitters and a greater level of efficiency with fewer miles covered.

Borough IT continues to offer bespoke IT development services to the glass and glazing industry as well as the wider construction sector, recently working with LABC (Local Authority Building Control) to support the government on receiving necessary data from competent persons schemes such as Fensa. The main focus of Borough IT has been the provision of delivering on a large number of big IT change projects for the other businesses within the group

The British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) has also undergone significant change, including a new rebranding and website designed to promote BFRC as the best way for companies to prove the energy efficiency performance of their products. Our bold new rebrand reinforces the vital role BFRC plays in proving this invisible performance, and includes a new logo, our new ‘proven performance’ slogan – a manifesto that underpins everything we say and do – as well as new ratings labels for use in the industry. BFRC is also expecting Ukas accreditation and a number of new product developments will be launched next year.

BFRC will also be organising a further Fabricators’ Forum early in 2020, with an emphasis on the anticipated revisions to Approved Document L of the Building regulations, and how it will affect the UK fenestration industry.

Fensa continues to be the highest profile brand of the GGF Commercial Group, a position that has been extended during 2019. Despite the difficult trading conditions, uncertainty and economic worries, Fensa job notifications have remained buoyant with around 570,000 installations in 2019, mirroring the number reported for 2018.

It had been recognised during a review in 2018 that customer service had to be improved and big improvements have taken place, with the team strengthened with recruitment and training.

Safety glazing failure rates haven’t shown any signs of improvement, so we’ve had to take a tougher stance on this to start moving the dial. So we’ve started a campaign to reduce the incidences of failures due to safety glazing, which is fundamental to keeping homeowners safe in their homes.

Partnerships with training providers have also been established to offer upskilling for installers across the industry, with more to come in future months. Fensa has sponsored the Building our Skills initiative to help tackle the skills shortage and Fensa will also be extended into Northern Ireland.

Combined with sponsorship, the recent TV adverts reached 63% of the adult UK population, with each person seeing the messaging an average of 8.1 times, equating to more than 247 million viewings.

The TV campaign – together with social media, an improved website, and increased activity through PR and press advertisements – has significantly improved the visibility of Fensa.

Fensa had rested on its laurels for too long. Although brand recognition by homeowners was okay, it wasn’t as high as we needed it to be for the good of our Fensa Approved Installers, and there was confusion around what Fensa actually did or meant. This is why we made a hero out of our Fensa certificate, encouraging homeowners to always ask if they’ll get a Fensa certificate when the job’s done when getting quotes from installers.

Our expectations for the campaign had three components: to help our existing Fensa Approved Installers to win more work; to gradually bring more good installers who weren’t with Fensa already into the family; and to help shrink the grey market and make it harder for rogue traders to win work.

Given that Trading Standards is underfunded, we needed to find more creative ways to get homeowners to only use legitimate installers through spreading positive messages about our industry.”

Activity for all divisions will be stepped up during 2020. Despite the significant achievements of 2019 we have no intention of reducing the intensity of change throughout the GGF Commercial Group, and we will continue with a range of initiatives for each division, all of which will be designed to increase the effectiveness and commercial competitiveness of each brand.

Our plans are well advanced to ensure that GGF Commercial Group will enjoy a highly positive and successful 2020.