DEMAND FOR QUALITY IS RISING!
Going into my third year as FTMRC Chairman, I have to say I don’t think I have ever been so enthusiastic and excited about the growing recognition in our industry of the long term value of quality when it comes to design and workmanship.
The evidence is there in every aspect of the industry:
• The increasing number of specifications stating the metal roof must be installed by a member of the FTMRC
• The increasing number of roofing contractors wanting to be a member of the FTMRC
• The new training initiatives such as the Basic Competency Programme, designed to help every metal roofer get the right training and take the first steps towards gaining a formal qualification (see Nigel’s comments below).
We won’t solve the problems caused by cowboy installers overnight, but recognising there is a significant and potentially costly difference between good and bad detailing and good and bad workmanship is definitely a start.
During the recession there were a number of clients, specifiers and main contractors caught out by taking what they thought was the cheapest option and using the roofing contractor that offered the lowest price to save money. These particular pigeons are now very much coming home to roost and last year our technical department was inundated with requests to carry out inspections and provide reports on failed metal roofs that have been installed by non members.
More often than not the problems have been caused by a lack of knowledge and experience in initially setting out and detailing the work required and not taking full account of location, exposure, precipitation, substrate design, ventilation and all the other critical issues that affect the long term performance of the metal before the first bay is installed.
Through our mandatory vetting programme, mandatory supervisor training, technical seminars and Guide to Good Practice, FTMRC members are not allowed to forget such essentials. Any non-conforming detail identified during a site inspection (vet) must be corrected (at the member’s own cost) or our Council has the power to withdraw membership from the offending contractor.
These rules have been put in place by the members themselves to reflect their own commitment to providing a first class quality standard for their clients. This quality standard ideal remains the main requirement for membership, so it doesn’t matter how big a company is, or how much money they have, if they do not have adequate knowledge or skill in traditional metal roofing they cannot become a member of the FTMRC.
It’s a hard fact of life that those who use our members (and those that don’t!) are becoming increasingly aware of.
Chairman – FTMRC
NIGEL TAKES UP THE CHALLENGE AT FTMRC
Last year the Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors faced a major challenge when its Secretary, Ray Robertson, announced his intention to retire after more than 10 years as its inaugural administrator.
So it has been with some relief that after a thorough search, Ray’s replacement has been found in Nigel Johnston, a familiar face to many members as he joins the FTMRC from his role as General Manager at the Lead Sheet Association.
Nigel spent over 20 years at the LSA where he was key to the development of training and qualifications in leadwork and traditional metal roofing, as well as the continual updating of the Lead Sheet Manual in response to changing trends in roof design, materials and performance. This wealth of technical and training knowledge will no doubt prove an invaluable asset to FTRMC members.
In taking up his new role on October 10 last year, Nigel is very much looking forward to the various challenges facing the specialist metal roof installer, not least of which will be the mounting technical, health and safety and training issues to be addressed.
Nigel admits that stepping into Ray’s shoes will be no easy task. “One of my biggest challenges is to continue the excellent work that Ray has provided since the Federation was formed” he said.
He explained that part of the business plan is to promote the value of the badge to the specification market. “Exposure of the brand and promoting the benefits of using an FTMRC contractor are vital elements of the plan,” Nigel said.
“Inspecting members’ work is one of the most important aspects of what we do, as it is the regular vetting of their work which promotes quality.”
Nigel added that his aspirations for the immediate future are to evaluate the national training provision for hard metals and to build a team of assessors to support the Basic Competency Programme (BCP) for hard metals, partnering with, and identifying, suitable training providers who will be able to deliver the bespoke training portfolios which lead to Level 2 and 3 qualifications.
Following the successful launch of the hard metals (BCP) Stage 1, which is now under way with VM Zinc delivering the basic training courses, as part of a pilot programme, the FTMRC is now ready to introduce BCP Stage 2.
A team of assessors will focus on profiling each candidate that has successfully completed Stage 1. Their existing level of experience and knowledge will then be assessed before preparing their individual training plans, which will take them through
to the QCF Level 2 qualification in Metal Roofing/Hard Metals.”
At the same time Nigel will be working hard to bring a more modern look and feel to the organisation, while forging stronger and closer links with the wider construction industry and at the same time strongly promoting the voluntary work carried out by FTMRC members to improve quality standards.
Nigel will also be continuing his role on the British Standards Committees and can now also represent contractor views on the various issues regarding both product and installation specifications and practice. His role will be particularly important in getting the third edition of the Guide to Good Practice recognised as the required Code of Practice for hard metal specifications.