Driving meaningful industry change

A high-profile roundtable event hosted by Glass Express Midlands, and including government representation, resulted in the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) and the Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) agreeing to work closer together to provide a unified voice to policy makers.

Held at an exclusive central London location, and attended by representatives from different parts of the supply chain, the round table event set out to discover what better regulation looks like how representatives can create positive benefits for glazing and the wider construction industries.

“The in-depth discussions were very well-informed, and the delegates all shared their frustrations of poorly managed projects,” said Arun Photay, Glass Express Midlands’ managing director. “Many of these frustrations could be attributed to a lack of visibility of project details, and of a sometimes confused regulatory framework.

“To have two of our industry leaders agree to closer co-operation and speak to government with a unified voice is an excellent result.”

Eddie Hughes MP, who was previously the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing at DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities), told delegates that difficult-to-work elements of Building Regulations often came down to communication between government and industry.

“Government Ministers and Civil Servants endeavour to work with all interested parties to ensure that Building Regulations are workable,” he said. “In the case of the glass and glazing industry, I think a single unified body representing the interests of all parties is a sensible idea.

“I look forward to working closely with glass and glazing industry to develop stronger and more meaningful partnerships.”

John Agnew, managing director of the GGF Group of Companies, recognised that providing a unified voice is what government wants to see.

“And with support from other like-minded trade associations we will be better able to represent the views of the sector,” he said.

“Today we have committed to creating that unified voice with CAB. This is new ground, and we are looking forward to developing our strategy together over the coming months.”

Nigel Headford, CEO of Council for Aluminium in Building, said it was important to overcome historic challenges to create a ‘bigger voice’.

“We have a lot of members, and some of our members cross over,” he said. “And to represent them properly, I think we need to join together and target the right level in the decision-making process.

“We’re membership bodies. So, for me, it’s about working for them and being able to lobby for them and to bring their concerns to a higher level. And together with other trade organisations in construction, we can do that.”

Other delegates to the round table included: Gurprit Bassi (WinTech); Liz Williams (Centre for the New Midlands Housing Communities); Hurnake Johal (Pinnacle Architecture); Mark Hickox (Thermoseal Group); Natalie Little (Truhouse and GGF); Sarah Cresswell (GGF); Fraser Caithness (Glass Express Midlands); Raj Chadha (Glass Express Midlands); Luke Wood (Glass Times); Matt Downs (Media Now); and Nathan Bushell and Emma Gange (Lasco Marketing).

Three key aims emerged from the event: to create a unified voice, inviting representatives from various trade bodies within the glass and glazing industry; to develop a voluntary code of conduct; and to promote the use of technology to prove compliance.

“There is an avenue here where we can produce a document that can be presented to government,” Arun said. “I think what really came out of this discussion is how we want to do something that’s holistic, where all the different parts of the industry come together like a jigsaw puzzle, and we present that one solid document on how we move forward to the government so that we do have a voice.”