TI: What was your path into the glazing sector and to your current position?
CC: My first full time job was working at Center Parcs UK. There I gained some basic safety qualifications and then self-funded to achieve my degree level qualification. The first full time health & safety position that I secured just happened to be in the fenestration industry, for Nationwide Frame Services.
While working there I was introduced to their window suppliers, Nationwide Windows. A position became available with them as Health, Safety and Environmental Manager, to which I successfully applied.
Since then I’ve been promoted a number of times to my current position of Compliance Director. Our busy department looks after health & safety, as well as environmental, technical, training, quality and facilities for the company.
TI: If you had one piece of advice about running a glazing installation business, what would it be?
CC: Always obtain competent advice, no matter what field you work in. Nobody knows everything and if you don’t seek advice when you need it, you’ll almost certainly experience issues along the way.
TI: Tell us about a current project you’re working on…
CC: Nationwide Windows have been working on an ongoing project with Nottingham City Homes since February 2009 and this actually commenced as I started with the business. Due to the size of the project, we opened a depot closer to the area. Sustainability in all aspects is important to us as a business, so opening a local depot is key to that and we continue to do this where we can, along with recruiting and employing locally. The scale of this project has led us to move to larger premises and appoint additional resources.
This project and depot is Considerate Constructors registered, along with ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System), OHSAS 18001 (H&S Management System). This brings with it a requirement to be third party audited. The process of being third party audited then provides our clients, as well as us as a business, the reassurance that we meet the required standard.
TI: You must have worked on some difficult projects over the years. Does one in particular stand out?
CC: The one that comes to mind was a few years ago when Certass first rolled out its automated system for issuing Building Regulation Compliance Certificates (BRCC). This meant that rather than the certificate being printed and posted, it was emailed to the client once it was verified. This provides numerous benefits including efficiencies in time, cost, and environmental via the reduction in CO2.
However, the project did come with its difficulties to switch over to this new system due to a variety of I.T. issues, including getting the emails through their firewalls. This is now all set up and working effectively providing a more al- round compliant and customer focused system.
TI: What about difficult customers? Any situations that stand out that you can tell us about?
CC: I would never say that we have difficult customers. In the majority of instances where we have faced challenges, it’s about identifying customer expectations and ensuring these are met.
TI: What’s the most frustrating / satisfying thing about your job?
CC: This is really a double-edge sword – but I have to say people. It can be frustrating when people don’t listen or do what’s needed. However, at the other end of the scale, seeing people progress is incredibly rewarding. At Nationwide we are strongly committed to helping our staff reach their potential and it’s great to see our employees develop their skill set. One area that is unique and shows our commitment to training and development is being the only GQA Employer Centre to deliver fenestration specific qualifications.
TI: What’s the most important tool as a glazing installer, either in the office or on site?
CC: Knowledge. You must be aware of the limits of your own knowledge, so if you don’t know something, you’re willing to pick up the phone and ask someone who does. If an Installer is out on site and he has a query, he needs to be confident enough to speak to the supervisor, surveyor or others to resolve it. If it’s a question regarding building regulations, then they can pass it on to us within the Compliance team and we always have the support of the Certass Technical Team. It’s a strength to ask others for support to then increase the knowledge you didn’t have.
TI: What’s the best social media platform for your business?
CC: I’m probably not the best person to ask this question. However, we subscribe and operate on all the major platforms – i.e. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
TI: What’s the biggest issue currently affecting installers?
CC: Resources. It’s very difficult to find qualified, skilled, competent and capable workers. That’s why we’ve got a full training programme in place, supported via our GQA Centre status to deliver industry qualifications.
TI: How has the start of the year been and are there reasons to be positive for 2019?
CC: It’s been a very busy start to the year for us, particularly regarding the New Build side of the business and we are looking to continue to grow.