One thing that has been clear with both the COVID crisis and the Green Homes Grant Scheme is that collaboration is vital for our industry. That is not just with other companies and organisations within glazing, but also with Government and its supported programmes.
Programmes designed to only raise the profile of one or two organisations have a tendency to isolate us as an industry, whereas campaigns that combine the interests of multiple sectors and integrate with the wider construction sector put us in a much better position. That’s why Certass has been backing TrustMark’s Work Safe. Safe Work campaign.
Launched to help boost the recovery of construction and home improvement, Work Safe. Safe Work is supported by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and designed to encourage homeowners and tradespeople to work together to ensure that everyone is kept safe whilst any home improvement works are being carried out.
Just as competency schemes are plugged into the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), TrustMark is plugged into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This creates a perfect combination of competence and compliance, combined with consumer protection, which is what will drive better standards in home improvements.
TrustMark is the only Government Endorsed Quality Scheme covering home improvements. Government has shown considerable support for it this year, beginning with the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which launched in January, to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Under the scheme, ECO measures must be installed by TrustMark-registered companies.
Now we have the Green Homes Grant Scheme, and TrustMark is at the heart of that too. Even though the announcement has had unintended negative consequences for our industry, glazing being included as a secondary measure for single to double glazing replacements, it is positive in the long term. But without a connection to TrustMark, it’s likely that glazing will, once again, miss out on any opportunities, so it’s vital for us to be associated with it.
In addition, we have the incoming Building Safety regulator and construction and home improvement are being told that we must change to raise standards and competency. Rather than keeping ourselves insulated from the wider construction sector and creating our own ‘Plus’ or ‘Gold’ level schemes that have limited practical benefits for members, we should be embracing organisations like TrustMark, so that we can collaborate and learn from other sectors.
It’s a strategy that can drive real change for industry, which I have seen first hand in the roofing sector. I am involved in many construction and government working groups, but I see TrustMark as more ahead of the game than any other body of its kind. As a former TrustMark Director I also have a real understanding of what it is trying to achieve, and with the level of support they are receiving from Government right now, the chances of success are massively increased.
They are committed to raising and maintaining standards, to give consumers increased confidence, choice and protection if something goes wrong. They work on three cornerstones of quality – Technical Competence, Good Customer Service and Good Trading Practices. Three qualities that we know Certass installers already have. It is also dedicated to working with industry, rather than dictating to it, for example with the PAS 2030 accreditation, and that’s something we need to happen going forward as regulation changes come.
The big benefit at an installer level is that TrustMark is easily accessible. Membership is low-cost, and for existing Certass Competent Persons Scheme members, it’s so easy to get involved. We’re covering sign-up fees for members for a limited time, to help them get ahead, meaning TrustMark membership is available for as little as £5+VAT per month.
Association with these organisations have always been important, but with the work that TrustMark is doing now, it’s crucial for glazing to have a link with them. As a TrustMark scheme operator, Certass is that connection.