MTCs, or Minimum Technical Competency has been a requirement in our industry for a few years now. It has been around in other sectors for a while, but was extended to cover the glazing industry in 2013. This is a requirement for all installers of windows and doors.
Yet, three years in, I still feel like there is a large proportion of the industry that either hasn’t heard of it at all, or has but have chosen to do nothing about it.
Fitters and the MTC card
We’re looking at expanding at our place. Things are very busy and we need to take on more people to help us manage the workloads. Especially in the installation area of our business. So we have been on the lookout for a new installation team. All but one person who we contacted or contacted us knew about MTCs and what they were about. And it’s this that I think hints towards a larger problem.
If you’re a company, a good one that is organised and keeps on top of regulation change, MTCs will part and parcel of your company. You probably won’t even think about it. But not every window and door installer is a company. There are still a large number of fitters doing it on their own or part of a small group, quietly going about their daily business, totally unaware of this semi-new regulation.
This poses a problem for installation companies who are looking to expand their installation divisions. To make life easy for them, they ideally want to bring fitters on boards who are already MTC qualified. They can get going straight away, no fuss. Unfortunately, it seems many are still not.
This means that the news fitters would have to be willing to go through the MTC process with their new employer, and be part of a team that has at least one MTC card holder on site just so they can work. It’s not ideal for either party.
Lack of education
Once again, I put this kind of problem down to a lack of exposure and education. Our industry is a diverse and spread widely. Press releases and a few hard to find webpages are not enough to highlight such a major change to the way our industry works.
We’re also a slow bunch when it comes to adopting new changes, we must remember that. We tend to bury our heads in the sand whenever something new comes around. I remember when MTCs were just being introduced to our industry and thinking that so very few are going to even bother to find out what this is and get compliant before the then 2014 deadline.
Indeed, I remember being told by someone who was privy to the information that it was estimated 80% of the industry’s installers were not MTC compliant by the deadline FENSA set for all installer to be compliant. The threat at that point was installers who were not yet compliant would have their accounts frozen, which would have meant they would not have been able to work. In reality, although this was a pleasantly surprisingly strong threat, it never came to pass. FENSA created a (chargeable) back door method for compliance, which allowed for all installer to continue to operate as normal.
And this is where it all gets frustrating for me. All the messages around this subject have been mixed. There’s been no consistency across all parties involved with MTCs. The Government rolled this out to our sector and yet again left us to it to deal with the aftermath of trying to drag ourselves to compliance. It never worked for the Green Deal, it was never going to work for MTCs.
We’re now left with an industry that is only part compliant, with what I suspect is many thousands of installers not yet MTC compliant, either due to lack of understanding or head burying.
How much do you know?
This is an issue that affects every installer of windows and doors in the country, so it would be prudent to see how much the industry really does know about MTCs.
Via the anonymous poll below, please choose a category which best describes your level of knowledge about MTCs. Please answer honestly and don’t worry about picking any option as this is totally anonymous.
The results will help formulate a picture about the state of MTC knowledge in the sector and it will provide helpful insights which I hope to put to good use in the form of an educational infographic a little later down the line.
I will be making this a pop up poll on DGB until I feel like I have got enough data to close it and give fairly accurate results.