What next for compliance?

By Certass chair, Jon Vanstone.

The glazing competence element of the industry has come together to start the process of how we align our industry to the requirements of government for the years ahead within domestic installations.

The Mandatory Technical Competencies (MTC) will be changing with a timeline of introduction in 2021.

Many installers will be concerned about a change in requirements coming in 2021 when our industry has faced so much upheaval and will continue to do so in a Brexit and Covid impacted world.

Glazing is not alone in this requirement for change and all sectors will be impacted in some form. The need for the review comes from so much change occurring in the last five years and with reviews post-Grenfell pointing to an overall requirement for systemic change throughout the construction industry.

The failure of vocational qualifications in our industry, both in uptake and in positively impacting performance on site, has led the industry to be a non-qualification-based sector. This has caused significant concerns with the introduction of the Green Homes Grant scheme that has adopted PAS2030 at its heart.

Unfortunately, at the time when PAS2030 was last reviewed, those that attended the review from our industry were from and aligned to GQA, and therefore positioned the need for qualifications as a base requirement in glazing, which is now in the PAS2030 glazing annex of the standard.

A review of the MTCs will need to consider the alignment with the energy schemes from government, particularly due to funding drivers promoted by Beis (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy). However, the impact of mandating qualifications on our industry, as well as certain other sectors such as roofing, would cause significant detrimental impact to our marketplace. Therefore, some middle ground of understanding needs to be established.

In addition, connection to other areas such as high-risk residential buildings (HRRBs) will need to be clearly established so that the result of the review can be relevant to all areas of glazing work. It needs to be clear to individual contractors and businesses what are the competency requirements for different areas of work, so that the requirements fit the work undertaken by a company.

This is much preferred to trying to make one standard that fits all, which is clearly a fault within PAS2030, making it untenable for many SME and Micro businesses.

No business wishes to jump through unnecessary hoops, and any standard a business adheres to needs to deliver value for doing so. The output of the MTC review will undergo scrutiny from key bodies, including government, looking to ensure it should result in competent installers and work outputs from those who comply.

We do know that continual professional development (CPD) will be a requirement on all who work within the regulated space, as the need to ensure that regulation changes are understood within a reasonable timeframe has been heightened by disasters such as Grenfell.

A major concern I have today is the fact that after such a year as 2020, many within our industry are facing burnout as the continual stress has mounted. We need to be careful that although requirements are such that a review must occur, we do not create a pathway forward that mounts pressure on those already under stress.

How we deliver new requirements to industry, and the transition process, needs to be seriously considered in light of the trading conditions. We also need to accept that standards such as PAS2030, with its documentation and operational requirements for a business, hugely favour large nationals.

The danger with this is that funded programmes from Beis are currently creating major barriers to local traders in favour of large nationals. Certass has been very outspoken against this but is not fully supported by its major competitor which is significantly influenced by national installers that see a clear opportunity for gain.

The road ahead with the MTC review will be interesting and any business that works with a competent person scheme needs to be aware of the result. We need to raise the overall standards within our industry but ensure that requirements are fair and reasonable. Glazing needs to be repositioned in a more positive light with government and the rest of construction.

As chair of Certass, I was pleased to hear of the launch of the new process for installers to keep current on requirements. It is great to be connected to a business that puts the concerns of its members at the heart of its decision making, rather than finding new ways to levy more charges.