I know statements about ‘talking to Government’ can be met with scepticism from the industry. It’s not just about listening to what Government has to say, but also feeding back what we, as an industry are thinking. Over the last few days, I feel good progress has been made and there are results that are worth reporting.
This week I was invited to the ‘Working in People’s Homes (tradespersons)’ Group by Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, where I have been able to voice concerns from the glazing industry directly to him.
This included the fact that a lot of advice given is only relevant to large businesses, and not the SMEs that make up 95 percent of our industry. We also discussed how we can make guidance easier to understand by using simplified terms, graphic content and pointed out the fact that any liability is a two-way street between installers and consumers.
Through other discussions with Government ministers, we have now gained real clarity on the difference between ‘construction’ and ‘tradespeople working in people’s homes’ which is outlined on gov.uk. Note the wording in this statement – ‘essential repairs and maintenance’ – this is in line with the advice that Certass has given to members, to protect themselves and their customers.
We have tabled further specific questions to Government so we can advise installers who are still working as to what is acceptable during lockdown and most importantly, we are working with Government on guidelines we can make available to installers as we start to return to work.
When we come out of lockdown, life is likely to be disrupted for a long period of time and as a Nation, we are going to need to adapt to this ‘new normal’. In preparation for members to return to installing windows and doors, a pack of practical advice has been created to support members to protect themselves and their customers. This will be checked by Government before release, so installers can rely on the best practice guidance we give.
We don’t expect our members to interpret what Government is saying, that’s our job and a key part of the Certass Trade Association pledge to represent the local tradesperson’s view at Government level. The real value is being proven at the moment, as this feedback offered from industry is driving action and Government guidance.
Chair, Certass Trade Association