The issue of MTCs has been a thorny one since it’s inception. A lot of jumping through hoops for installers to prove their competence at doing their work. In theory it’s a good idea. Anything to try and weed out the deadwood and help the good guys. Or at least that is the aim. But there has been quite a few grumbles about the actual process of MTCs. And this week those grumbles have got a bit louder.
Pay as you go compliance
Up until now, installers have been urged to get on the path of MTCs as the main way of compliance. In fact at one point FENSA was threatening freeze accounts of companies in June 2014 who had not passed their MTC inspections. Clearly this was going to be unenforceable as such a large percentage of the industry’s installers were way off from being compliant.
During these freeze threats, the companies who had already passed were probably feeling a tad smug. They had done their hard work early, passed before the deadlines and got back to the daily grind knowing they put in the effort. There was however a growing concern that as each threat and deadline passed from FENSA, those who weren’t yet compliant were getting away with it without punishment. A point I could understand.
FENSA had a problem though. There was still such a large percentage of installers not yet MTC compliant. If they followed through on the threats to freeze the accounts of installers that weren’t compliant they would be cutting out thousands of businesses which could do damage to the industry overall. So what was the solution? Pay as you go.
This is how FENSA explain the scheme on their website:
It is a new, all inclusive, alternative surveillance process developed and certified by FENSA. It’s a fast, simple and cost effective option for installation companies who infrequently install replacement glazing.
It is for those companies that wish to avoid the complexities of individual operatives holding an MTC Card and having to provide mandatory IBGs on every job.
FENSA Pay As You Go companies will still need to be ‘Certified’ to demonstrate competence and undertake a document and procedures audit at an onsite Certification inspection. The Certification inspection will be repeated every three years.
So as I understand it, those companies who are not MTC compliant can use this method instead. They pay a fee of £125 ex VAT for each inspection, similar to the way you would pay your council to do it.
Now here is the gripe people have with this. After appearing to want to act tough on those who refused to comply with MTCs, a new alternative has been provided to allow those who didn’t want to get on the MTC ship to keep installing windows and doors legally. A bit like giving in to the bully.
After all the effort for companies to go down the MTC route and the promise to crack down on those who didn’t comply, this seems like a serious climb down from FENSA. This was their chance to really prove to the doubters that they weren’t just fee collectors and had the teeth to properly clamp down and get rid of the companies who didn’t want to play by the rules. Right now, many will be wondering what the whole point of going through the MTC process was.
I can see why FENSA have had to back down. Did they really want to freeze the accounts of probably thousands of installers? It would have meant they wouldn’t have been able to sell and fit windows and doors, effectively suspending businesses. It would have caused immeasurable damage to the industry. But my argument to that would have been if those companies really didn’t want to become MTC compliant, do we really want them in the industry at all?
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