Remarkable year despite difficulties

GGF Commercial MD Anda Gregory reports that despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has still been a remarkable year for each of the division’s brands.

In a summary of the performance during 2020 of the companies that comprise the GGF Commercial Group, including Fensa, BFRC, Installsure and Risa, and an indication of what the industry may expect from these brands during the forthcoming year, the group’s managing director Anda Gregory said that each of the brands under her management have performed well, despite the uncertainties posed by the pandemic.

“I am so proud of how we’ve dealt with the challenges thrown at us this year,” Anda said. “The businesses have shown themselves to be robust and in high demand throughout the year which gives us huge confidence going into 2021, and beyond that we will continue to grow incrementally.”

Fensa enjoyed a strong start to 2020, Anda said, a period that was followed by a moratorium on installations imposed by the lockdown sanctions. Installation numbers recovered incredibly quickly with recent months ahead of the same period last year, which is testament to the tireless efforts within our industry to bounce back after the first lockdown.

Two particular highlights were the launch of the Fensa Lead Generation scheme that was launched in August, and which has so far seen more than 1,000 approved installers receive a lead from the Fensa website. Further, Fensa saw a huge increase in the numbers of installers applying to join the organisation, more than 1,000 in the first half of the year alone.

Commenting on Fensa’s performance during 2020, Chris Beedel, director of membership, said: “What we’ve achieved this year is remarkable. We’re seeing increases in the volumes of work from last year since returning to work from the first lockdown and a huge number of companies applying to join Fensa, the most in a single year since we launched in 2002. To see our Fensa Approved Installers winning so much work and booking ahead for months to come, is incredibly encouraging and especially that the industry will continue to thrive in the face of Covid-19.”

He added that a number of new initiatives would be launched in 2021, all of which continued the focus on providing tangible value for Fensa Approved Installers.

Installsure, the GGF’s industry-specific insurance division, has also enjoyed a record year of applications, Anda said. The Competent Roofer Scheme has also added depth to the Installsure portfolio that includes IBG and commercial insurance schemes, developed with installation businesses in mind.

Head of operations at Installsure Irene Akpojaro said: “I can’t remember a year busier than the one we’ve just encountered. Application numbers are through the roof and we have some strong new partnerships in place that will help the business grow next year. The team has been incredible throughout and we’re in a very strong position going into 2021.”

With strong renewals early in 2020, and relatively unaffected by the pandemic, Anda said that BFRC is becoming Ukas accredited, a major step in the development of the body as it formally recognises that the organisation is competent to perform its certification operations.

The process of accreditation is arduous, Anda said, and she praised the BFRC team on doing an excellent job going through the process.

Additionally, BFRC also launched its Noise Reduction Ratings Scheme which is designed to do for noise control performance of windows and doors what it has successfully achieved for energy performance. The scheme has already seen its first sign ups, with licences to be issued early in 2021.

BFRC operations director Lis Clarke said: “We’ve been fortunate in that we have been relatively unaffected by the pandemic. Our customers have seen the value that comes with our BFRC ratings and, alongside the new noise reduction scheme and other new initiatives soon to follow, we have every reason to be optimistic that 2021 will be a bumper year.”

Delivering independent inspection and auditing across the UK, Risa also enjoyed a good year despite being prohibited from making site inspections during the first lockdown.

Risa’s Expert Witness service was launched earlier in 2020 and became an immediate success, Anda said, with demand from homeowners, installers and solicitors looking for independent expert advice to help avoid litigation, or to back up claims.

Risa director of operations Dave Mechem praised his team for the way they adapted to pandemic conditions to ensure their service reached out to its clients

“We’ve kept the business running at pre-pandemic levels while ensuring our staff, installers and homeowners remain safe,” Dave said. “It’s been a challenge but it has also given us an opportunity to look at our procedures, and some of the changes we have made this year will serve us well when things return to normal.”

Summarising, Anda gave hints of some of the extensive projects and activities planned for each of the GGF Commercial Division’s brands and confirmed that she expected the performance of each to be even more positive.

“As we have learned to operate safely and effectively under pandemic conditions, our services have become more effective and demand has certainly grown,” she said. “As life returns to some sort of normality, we expect wider take up of the services we offer. I am very optimistic for 2021.”