Raising the Bar

The SPRA National Conference and Awards 2016 brought together an audience of SPRA members and like-minded construction professionals from across the industry under the event’s tagline Raising the Bar. It gave those assembled the opportunity to celebrate the Association’s achievements over the previous twelve months and address key issues within the industry.

Reflecting on the previous 12 months the Association celebrated some key goals, including the pilot launch of its Basic Competency Programme and a new Specialist Apprenticeship Programme; a new design guide, homeowner guide, website development and training videos; plus having held two training days and increased its membership as well as conference attendance.

The outlook of the conference and goals for the coming year centred around how SPRA can work with stakeholders to set appropriate standards, promote quality and change the perception of the industry.

Speaking first, Alan McBeth, representing a short leisure break company, gave the panel a client-side view of common issues with single-ply installations, followed by Peter Inglis, from Cullinan Architects, and Martin Adie, from Willmott Dixon, whom gave architect and contractor views respectively.

A lively debate brought to light important areas of interest from all three perspectives including the importance of a cost / value balance for the client; the impact that good technical support from manufacturers can have when it comes to specifying products, and the need, from a contractor’s point of view, to establish correct assessment of work with the option of third party inspections strongly recommended.

This panel concluded that, going forward, issues that need to be addressed include better training to ensure correct installations; determining liability when it comes to ‘faulty’ or ‘damaged’ roofs from, for example, follow-on trades and establishing that warranted protection should not be an option; a product should come with the required protection when installed.

Other areas of discussion included the future potential and prospects of offsite manufacture in the construction industry (Charles Westbrook, of Westbrook & Bell), and the ways in which the industry can prepare for the future recycling requirements (Jane Gardner, Axion Consulting).

One topic that the panel kept coming back to throughout the conference was that of training, and, given the predicted growth for the sector over the next few years, how the industry is going to recruit the much needed workforce.

Richard Miller, from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), brought light to the current opportunities and funding that are out there but are not being utilised. There was some discussion as to whether these opportunities are promoted in the right way and easily accessible enough, or are just being ignored by companies.

Suzannah Nichol, of Build UK, Stephen Reynolds, of Primeseal, Shaun Lotay from Danosa and two current apprentices contributed to the discussion around the issue of training. Questions were raised with regards to the relevance of training and the real, short-term return to manufacturers; whether there needs to be a shift in focus from training for the client’s needs to training for the individual’s benefit, and why the industry lacks a clear, structured studying programme and route into a career in construction.

Ultimately the panel concluded that the opportunities are out there, the funding is out there, the career prospects and satisfaction of those currently undertaking apprenticeships is not a barrier to recruitment; But all agreed there isn’t a clear answer as to why the industry is still struggling to fill the recruitment gap.

Is this a fault with Government through not being heavily enough involved with promoting the sector in the right light? Or the training bodies for not putting the information out there? Or is the onus on contractors to recruit apprentices as opposed to the education and encouragement coming from the root level of schooling?

Perhaps it is a combination of all these factors, but it is certainly the case that the route to funding needs to be made more clear, and the benefits of a career in construction need to be better highlighted to those making a decision on their future career.

SPRA Awards

Attendees were then invited to attend a drinks reception and dinner, followed by the SPRA Awards, commending some of the best single ply roofing projects carried out over the previous 12 months.

The winning and commended projects by category were:

Best new build

Winner: Contour Roofing (Essex), working with Sika-Sarnafil, for 15-32 Ewart Grove

Commended: Danosa working with Imperial Contracts, for Tramways
Best refurbishment

Winner: Delomac Roofing, working with Sika-Sarnafil, for Dome Refurbishment, CenterParcs

Commended: JDB Industrial Roofing, working with Protan UK, for Festive Productions
Most innovative

Winner: IKO Polymeric, working with Module AR, for Parish Primary School

Commended: ICB (Waterproofing), working with Collier Roofing, for Willow Grange
Best detailing

Winner: Contour Roofing (Essex), working with Sika-Sarnafil, for 15-32 Ewart Grove

Commended: Renolit Cramlington, working with Cambridge Flat Roofing, for Woodlands Cemetery
Best for health and safety

Winner: Delomac Roofing, working with Sika-Sarnafil, for Dome Refurbishment, CenterParcs

Commended: IKO Polymeric, working with FK Group, for Ocado, Erith
The Association also used the event to announce its new Council and chair, as Mike Crook’s four-year term of office came to an end.

As of June 22, 2016, the new Council of the Single Ply Roofing Association is:

Anthony Carlyle, IKO Polymeric – chair

Anthony Ferri, Briggs Amasco – vice chair

Membrane member representatives:

Mike Crook, SIG D&T

Rod Benson, SIKA

Fraser Maitland, Protan

Associate member representatives:

Martyn Holloway, SFS Intec

Adrian Brazier, Kingspan Insulation

Contractor members:

Tony Millichap, Metclad

Ronan Brunton, SealEco Contracting

Steve Shreeve, Swift Roofing

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