According to the last Insight Data market report, there are over 20,000 local builders that are supplying and installing windows and doors. Nothing new there. But what is new are the new laws requiring anyone and any company installing windows and doors to be part of a Competent Persons Scheme and have MTC qualification. Now how many local builders do you think are fully up to speed on those new regulations?
Window industry frustration
For the past couple of years the reputable side of the window and door industry has been hastily getting themselves prepared to make sure they meet these new industry regulations. Installers have had to get their fitters to pass NVQ level 2/3 qualifications or have MTC tests to make sure that they abide by the new laws. After going through the process at our business, I can say that it was not that straightforward, but rules are rules, and we follow them, even though many in our industry don’t.
But what about those 20k+ local builders who supply and fit windows and doors too? When you think of local builders, I can guess that a lot of us have pretty much the same stereotypical image. The local brickie telling a homeowner that they can put that window in that wall. But how many of these local builders are part of a CPS scheme? I suspect not many, other than perhaps the larger chain builders. My suspicion is that plenty of small scale, local builders are in fact not part of a CPS scheme, and therefore should not be fitting windows and doors to anything. The new rules state that to be part of a Competent Person Scheme they have to be either NVQ or MTC qualified. Again, I doubt many are.
And this is why the window industry gets frustrated. We get hit with legislation that makes us all jump through many hoops, just like with CE marking, just for others to ignore the rules knowing that in all likelihood they will get away with it. We already know Trading Standards doesn’t have the money or resources to police all these new regulations in our industry, so what chance have they in catching a builder in the act? Probably zero.
I agree with Garry
Back in the middle of February, Garry from St Johns Windows came up with a very simple idea to try and bring some law and order to our industry. The idea was this, that in order for any installation company or OMB installer to receive their goods, they must first show they have a valid FENSA/Certass etc certificate or a building notice registration document. Once they have shown the paperwork, product can be delivered. Easy. So anyone part of a CPS would be fine under this scheme.
This same idea should apply to builders as well. If we have to follow the rules, then they should too. Get them all signed up to a CPS, get them regulated in the same way we are, level the playing field in the right way, so that everyone is vetted and checked, and lets have this sort of business running fairly. Good quality window companies could be losing potential extra business to local brick layers who can easily pick up the odd window here and there, and put it in the hole themselves, when according to new laws they really shouldn’t be.
I know there is a lot of frustration from areas of the window industry on this one, so as always, all comments are welcome in the section below.