SPRA national conference promotes discussion in single ply sector

SPRA The Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) has hosted its first annual national conference, with a number of speakers discussing key issues affecting the single ply sector.

Held at the Hellidon Lakes Hotel in Daventry on June 24, the conference welcomed over 100 delegates from across the sector to take part in discussions on a range of topics. In his opening address, James Talman, chief executive of SPRA, said the event was designed to stimulate debate between key stakeholders in the industry and the association’s members.

The afternoon’s sessions began with Jim Hooker, technical director for SPRA, leading an open discussion on ‘Getting the best out of single ply’. He was joined by Gary Wilburn of HPW Architects, Clive Johnson from Land Securities, and Mark Graham from Balfour Beatty, all of whom agreed that the roofing industry needed to engage with projects at an earlier stage in order to ensure they were completed to the highest possible standards.

Speaking to the delegates, Mark Graham, senior project manager at Balfour Beatty, said: “There isn’t enough early engagement, I don’t think, from the industry, probably in both directions from us to you guys and back again. We make decisions with design teams to go in one direction with roofs and we don’t maybe have a lot of the answers in place when we make these fundamental decisions.”

Architect Gary Wilburn said: “[Architects] need your input, your help. The contractor, investor, developer, the bloke who’s going to run [the] place afterwards; we all benefit from your collective knowledge.”

The next session saw Jane Thornback, sustainability policy advisor for the Construction Products Association (CPA), and Jane Gardner of Axion Consulting, discuss the issues around sustainability in the single ply market, and the importance of making sure systems last.

The day continued after lunch with talks on innovation and access to European funding; the Competent Roofer scheme; Graham Wren of CSCS outlined the progress of the qualification programme; and Arup’s Casey Rutland gave great presentation dispelling some of the myths regarding BIM, which included a BIM demonstration from Chris Vickers of NBS.

The event concluded with a closing address from SPRA chairman, Mike Crook, before guests enjoyed a dinner accompanied by a very entertaining and informative speech by Adrian Dobson of RIBA about the changing role of architects. There was also an awards ceremony celebrating excellence in the single ply industry. The winners in each category were:

New construction – Soprema
Refurbishment – Mac Roofing & SikaTrocal
Innovation – Bauder & WG Walker
Safe working – Everlast Group
Detailing – FK Group & Carlisle Construction Materials Europe

A special award was also presented to Ray Horwood for his continued work as chief executive of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC).

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