Looking Ahead to 2021 – as published in GGP Mag

Looking Ahead to 2021 – as published in GGP Mag

I write this on the day that the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out via GPs across England, and also the day that the Health Secretary is announcing that a further 11 million people across the UK are moving into Tier 3 restrictions. So, I can be sure that we will finish 2020 with as much uncertainty as we have had all through this year. 

I have been impressed by the incredible resilience of our industry to pull through this year. From adapting how we work in homes and in factories, to tackling supply chain issues and keeping our teams safe, all whilst still managing to make the most of the buoyant bounce-back in the home improvement market. It has been a tough year for us all, but I hope that the vaccine rollout is the light at the end of the tunnel we have all been waiting for. 

The pressure on people within our industry makes the work done with the Lighthouse Club to raise awareness of mental health concerns, so important. Asking someone twice if they are ok, listening to what they say and being non-judgemental, can make all the difference.  

2021 is going to be another year of big change, even without considering the nation’s recovery from COVID-19. And in between supporting installers through the many challenges of 2020, the Certass team has been working hard to put plans and systems in place to support members through these future changes. 

There are huge regulatory changes on the horizon with compliance rule changes (MTC) and installers are going to have adapt to the variety of requirements depending on the building environment in which they work. We know from experience that qualified does not mean competent onsite and we need to put much more emphasis on the experience that installers already have, and how they can evidence this in a straightforward way that gives confidence in the high standards of workmanship that we know our industry can deliver. 

Through working with other Construction businesses, we have been working hard to ensure that the successes seen elsewhere are brought into our industry. We have a series of great products that can help the country move forward in reaching its energy performance targets, yet our performance when installing is varied and consumers struggle to tell good from bad prior to engagement. Few installers deliberately deliver shoddy work and therefore we need to ensure that those who do it well are highlighted and those who need to upskill are given the tools to improve. 

The first step for this is Certass’ Glazing Competency Portal which is already available free to Certass MTC Continuum members. It’s an online portal of bite-sized training refresher sessions, where installers can earn certificates to prove their knowledge now, to reduce costs on additional onsite audits next year. At Certass, we aren’t looking at this as a chance to exploit glazing installers and take their hard-earned money from them, but as another opportunity to prove our added value to members.  

Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for members, a partner they can rely on for up-to-date advice, analysis and information on what’s happening in the wider construction market. We are delivering that advice direct to installers through our Certass TA Members-only Facebook Forum, where members can ask us questions direct and get answers fast. From getting clarity on Government announcements, to querying how restrictions will affect their business and giving feedback to Government discussions, the forum has proven to be invaluable for us all this year. 

There are many other changes on the agenda for 2021, including: Future Homes Standards for domestic buildings, a review of the ventilation standards, which has been influenced by our discussions with our supply chain membership, and the issues with the Green Homes Grant extension and PAS 2030. There’s going to be a renewed focus on energy efficiency, climate change and we need to get back to other important issues that affect us, like mental health. 

We’ve also got FIT Show 2021 to look forward to, which will probably be the first time in more than a year that the industry is brought together. After 2020, I think we can expect an excellent show, and at the Certass Stand, we’ll have plenty of experts on hand to give installers all the advice they need to boost their business in 2021 and beyond.