Quite a sizeable announcement was made at the end of last week. One which looks set to really shake up the competent persons facet for our industry in potentially some quite big ways.

Before I go on to my analysis of the new CORGI Fenestration, here is the official press release:

The most widely known consumer brand is coming to the Fenestration Industry – CORGI

Chris Mayne has taken up the position of CEO of new industry company CORGI Fenestration.  The remit of the business is to bring the most widely known consumer brand and everything it stands for to the fenestration industry. Chris explains

Throughout my many years in the industry I have been consistent in my belief that better training and qualification is a pre-requisite for developing an industry which is sustainable in the long-term and both recognised and trusted by consumers for delivering quality products and service.

My background with quality organisation in the industry is there for all to see, many years with leading industry name Bowater Windows and Doors, and since 2011 with FENSA.

My passion for the industry remains as great as ever.  I think even now there is so much more that can be done to raise standards and offer an even better range of support mechanisms to the industry to enable it to deliver a truly ‘trusted’ service to the consumer.

Jacqueline Crawford, who I had engaged as a consultant during my time at FENSA to work on the certification side of the business, and former Chair of the Competent Person Forum has a similar passion for the way training and qualification should be the bed-rock of industry.  I found we had a real meeting of minds about what could come next.

We were both extremely aware of the Bonfield Review, in Jacqueline’s case she was directly involved in it, and its ultimate delivery vehicle ‘Each Home Counts’ a new government driven document which concerns itself with the protection of consumers – both retail and social housing – to ensure that they are getting the products and services which meet the standards they should expect when it comes to installing energy efficiency measures.

Among many other aspects of delivering installed products, Each Home Counts identified that there is confusion in the market place about which schemes, brands, certification bodies and organisations among the dozens and dozens out their claiming to be the best and most reliable, can indeed be relied upon by consumers.

This is something Jacqueline and myself discussed at length, and we believe that there is the potential to introduce a whole new approach  to quality and service in the industry and to re-evaluate the meaning of ‘approved’ when it comes to the supply chain.  It is our view that there is often a disconnect between the system company, the fabricator, and the installer – and the people who are impacted as a consequence are the end users.

We want to do something which is different, a fresh approach, a more holistic approach in which site inspections and reporting after the product has been installed are not the essence of a company’s association with an ‘approving’ body.

We want to develop a 360-degree approach, an on-going account management approach, which looks at the training and certification of operative throughout the supply chain, and an ongoing process of learning and continuing development which will deliver meaningful benefits to the employer and the end user.

We want to recognise a company’s existing processes and management procedures and work with them to help deliver service levels which could ultimately lead to a reduction in the need for inspections after a product has been installed.

Our extensive research took us to an obvious place – the embodiment of the principles we wanted to work to was resoundingly CORGI and we took the decision to approach them to sell the attraction of the Fenestration industry.

Note – in 2016 CORGI Services released the results of their latest independently conducted consumer survey.  It showed that as a brand with attributes that consumers understood and respected, CORGI was by a considerable distance the most recognised, with 74% of consumers putting it first on their list.

Yes, there is no getting away from the fact that most people associate CORGI with Gas Safety, and that is understandable.  It is where CORGI came from and it is this heritage which helped it to develop what remains even today one of the most recognised and truly trusted brands in the eyes of consumer when it comes to safety, reliability, expertise and quality.

But CORGI has come a long way since it was founded in 1970 and its name is not only associated with the Gas sector. The CORGI brand delivers products and services that range across the heating, plumbing and renewables industry and it continues to deliver an ethos of trust, reliability and expertise through its insistence that all CORGI registered companies and individuals adhere to a strict code of conduct.

There is a perception that CORGI grew because it was mandatory for gas fitters to join it – in fact for the first 21 years of its existence this was not the case at all, and it was during this time that its brand reputation developed.  It is a testimony to the principles it introduced right back them that its brand remains so incredibly strong and well respected in today’s market.

We have formed CORGI Fenestration as a fully licensed business with exclusive use of the CORGI brand in the fenestration industry.

We are delighted that CORGI share our vision for a new approach to the fenestration industry and we are equally delighted as a part of bringing this opportunity to fruition to have formed a collaborative working relationship with GQA Qualifications the industry’s only qualification and awarding body to underpin our approach that qualification of operatives is the bedrock for long term success.

This is a hugely exciting time for our new venture, and we hope for the industry.  CORGI Fenestration is suited to all levels of the supply chain – systems houses, fabricators, and installers with the aim of supporting them to win more home improvement business for our industry based on a customer perception that as an industry we will deliver improvements reliably, safely, with the latest knowledge at our fingertips coupled to experience and expertise.


DGB Business

Some serious competition

There is no doubting that home owners recognise the CORGI logo. Even on my visits when I’m explaining the purpose of FENSA to home owners, they often compare that to CORGI. And that is where I believe things are going to get very interesting.

The way I see it, this is direct competition with FENSA. But with the tried and tested pedigree of experience in other industries. Add to that nearly 50 years of existence and almost instant recognition with all home owners, CORGI Fenestration could be a CPS that changes the lay of the land when it comes to industry compliance.

I do also like the approach they plan to take. They mention less reliance on on-site inspections and a more “managed” approach between CORGI Fenestration and the installer. I suspect that installers won’t mind having less inspections on site. It means that they will perhaps feel less like big brother is watching over their shoulders and that they can just focus on getting the job done well for the home owner without distraction.

What was also interesting to read is the part which said:

We want to develop a 360-degree approach, an on-going account management approach, which looks at the training and certification of operative throughout the supply chain, and an ongoing process of learning and continuing development which will deliver meaningful benefits to the employer and the end user.

Does this mean that CORGI Fenestration will reach into areas like fabrication and systems companies? If so, I think that this would be a great initiative to help push training and standards up across all parts of the sector. Something that doesn’t really exist through current schemes. Another new USP in comparison to the others.

There will be work to do though. As was pointed out in the press release, CORGI is most famously known for it’s work with the gas industry. It will take an expansive, detailed, active and constant marketing campaign to ensure that CORGI becomes known as a fenestration marque. The key will be getting some early industry adopters, and some big industry names, to help get the ball rolling. I would expect CORGI Fenestration to go after some of the biggest names in installation, as well fabrication and systems, to help get the momentum going. This is likely to rub some established industry norms up the wrong way.

If so, great! I’ve long believed that the industry needs a fresh approach, and not one that piles pressures on installers, but aims to actively help all levels of the industry, from the top to the end user. If CORGI Fenestration is it, then I wish it the best of British.

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