With lockdown loosening, Jon Vanstone, chair of Certass, outlines the support currently available for installers and looks to the future as we navigate our way through the Covid-19 pandemic.
As lockdown restrictions ease and we see a lot of installers return to working in homes, it’s interesting to look back at how quickly decisions have been made and how things have changed in such a relatively short space of time. I have been working closely with government ministers, MPs and senior civil servants during the pandemic and I have never seen information being released at such a rate.
This pandemic is unlike anything most of us will have seen in our lifetimes, and statistically we are unlikely to see anything like it again. As ever, the absolute focus for Certass and Certass Trade Association has been to deliver good, practical information and advice to help our members. That has meant reacting quickly to announcements, finding the information that’s relevant to installers and presenting it in a way that makes it easier to adopt new best practice methods of working.
The Certass Trade Association Members Forum on Facebook has become a hub for members to ask questions and get information easily, directly from myself and other members of the Certass team. It has also been a place where our members can chat to each other and share what they have been doing to prepare for their business recovery.
As their trade association, we felt it was only right for us to contribute to this recovery by launching the Certass TA Covid-19 Secure Procedures Pack. It includes a full method statement for working in homes, risk assessment guidance and template forms, self-assessment forms for installers, surveyors and homeowners and a consumer guide for installers to pass on to homeowners to let them know all the precautions they are taking to keep them safe.
Feedback has been really positive, and we have updated the guidance as information has changed. It’s still changing regularly so the advice to members is to download the latest iteration from the members area.
As we start on the path to stimulating recovery, and increasing consumer confidence, I think there will be lots of opportunities for the installers who play by the rules to stand out from the competition. Keep a look out for the campaigns coming from government organisations to increase consumer confidence – we’ll be sharing them on our social channels.
Now that we begin to adapt to the ‘new normal’ way of working, we are reminded that the issues that were facing our sector before the arrival of Covid-19 are still waiting to be addressed.
I write this the day after the third anniversary of Grenfell. Phase 2 of the inquiry, suspended by Covid-19, is now scheduled to restart next month and no matter the results, there will be significant changes that will have to be made in the Construction and Repair Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) sectors.
This change is already in motion, and with the contribution that we have made to government discussions around Covid-19 working practices in the home, glazing is now in a better position to be involved in the decision-making process. Importantly, it also means that we can prepare Certass members for changes before they become law at a pace that does not impact their business.
Competency reviews and new Building Regulations will be at the top of the agenda after Covid-19 and there is a great opportunity for our sector to make positive changes and get them right, so we remain in control of our destiny. Certass members are in the perfect position to adapt their practices and make this change as they already have high proven workmanship standards to the level that government will be demanding after these reviews.