Protection is a two-way street

By Jon Vanstone, Certass.

The glazing sector takes pride in its products and services, aiming to fulfil a customer need at a fair price for the skilled work we undertake.

A balance of confidence between glazing installers and their customers should exist, yet mistrust on both sides is often made worse by those with a primary commercial motive.

We continually hear about failures within industry on social media, as the rapid installation models of larger installers causes huge dissatisfaction. This is compounded by a string of high-profile company failures leaving jobs uncompleted and monies taken often not fairly protected.

Glazing as a whole is no worse than most trades in the UK. Our local installers have a fantastic record, and a clear understanding that the sweet spot comprises quality products, good installation practices and courteousness.

Consumer protection bodies seem to focus on the need to protect the homeowner from poor installation practices, yet fail to acknowledge the rising rogue consumer profile, prevalent throughout the UK.

The accepted market structure has allowed rogue consumer practices to thrive when purchasing glazing work, and unless we can change the way we do business this activity will continue to plague our industry.

Too often ‘not fit for purpose’ has been thrown at a business that believes it has completed the work to a more than acceptable standard. So many sites fuel the rogue consumer with hacks to avoid payment, yet the road to parity leaves many businesses in a position where it is better to limit losses rather than gain fair payment.

Certass promotes its free template contract, for all that are not using a legal sale document. Without legal written protection, the position is weighted heavily against our tradespeople and it is our job to help protect the market we represent.

Common practice has led our industry to accept limited up-front payment to create a bespoke item where the consumer is driving for rapid work to be undertaken, impacted by legal cool off periods for which too much online advice muddies the water of decent practice.

Why should the general limit for deposits often stated by certification bodies be 25% when we know far more is spent prior to site arrival? The time has come for glazing sector bodies to come together and work with consumer advice sites to promote a new position that stops rogue consumers being able to hold £thousands for a minor scratch, forcing businesses into a position of potentially not being able to pay its wage bill.

Time for those vested in our market, pouring the money from members into self-promotion, to stop pretending that their logo ensures a job done right. We need to unite to protect our installers from those who want something for nothing.