Build 2016 Construction & Engineering Awards

Build 2016 Construction & Engineering Awards 8 ertass are about to launch a brand new certification scheme, which will increase their scope of trades and which is aimed firmly at general construction projects, such as domestic exten- sions and loft conversions, as well as single trade installation works. Jason was eager to talk to us more about this exciting new project. “There are many quasi quality assurance schemes that rate builders’ com- petence, and which rely solely on consumer feedback. Our scheme relies on the assessment of installation work by professionals, and requires on-site assessment of the company, site operatives and installation works prior to approval, as well as a random sample of in-progress, on site assessment work. “We have designed this latest scheme to have many benefits for both the industry and consumers, although it is primarily about providing the consumer with confidence that their installer works to recognised industry standards. This allows the installer to differentiate themselves from their competition, and move away from the ‘lowest price tender wins’ culture. Certass are currently working on template marketing materials to support this. One of the key add-on benefits that we are currently working on is to bring a finance facility to the scheme, where the installer does not need to obtain a consumer credit license as it is handled by our partner. This will provide the scheme member with access to competitive finance options for home improvement works. “As a UKAS approved certification body, there are challenges set upon us that a traditional company does not face. We have an oversight committee which is in effect the social conscience of our organisation. A traditional company would look to develop a new product and maximise its profit; our committee looks at the benefits to the industry as a whole and to consumers as individuals, and we have to make sure that this is accounted for at every stage of our development. In addition, we have to price our certification products carefully, as any income is reinvested for the benefit on the indus- try, not returned to shareholders, but the scheme must be self-supporting within a reasonable timeframe. “Once we have undertaken these viability tests, we then have to ensure the scheme operates within the requirements of EN17065, which is the international standard for the operation of a certification scheme. We have to develop scheme rules to determine entry requirements, on-going surveil- lance requirements of the organisation, site operatives and standards for installation work. Our new Cq-Assured quality assurance scheme also has a consumer code, regarding pressure selling and complaints handling, which the installer must agree to work with. “We are now in the final stage of arranging installations to be assessed by UKAS’s technical assessors, to ensure our scheme is robust and effective. This, of course, has its own challenges, as we have to find installers willing to be assessed against a scheme that is not yet operational, and have the added pressure of an external body assessing us as we assess them. However, we are confident that we should have the scheme fully operational by the end of 2016.” Jason told us more about his approach to the creation of innovative schemes for Certass. “The start of the design process for a new product is asking ourselves the simple question; would I buy it? I started my career as a builder, and having this insight into the needs of builders and interactions with consumers, has given me the ability to see new opportunities for certification products. The second part of this process is to lobby people I have known in the industry for many years, and ask their opinion of the product, before then asking the same question of consumers. “Once developed, it is vital to have all our team supporting the new product so they can fully support our customers. The hardest part of this process is getting the message of the scheme to the RMI (renovation, maintenance, improvement) industry, as they are always a diverse group. Once the installer is a member, we believe we provide great support with template marketing material, technical support and most importantly, our friendly, helpful team of people. “We are a client led business that develops common sense solutions in the dry, tick box world of certification. We have an innovative culture, but it is all underpinned by the people within our company being genuine and really wanting to deliver a great service. Technology is key to our operation. Behind the scenes, we have complex systems to manage our many thousands of members and hundreds of thousands of installations with the required on-site surveillance audits. The key for us is ensuring that we keep the part that our customers interact with as simple as possible. We believe that we have built an industry leading IT platform which is easy and intuitive for our customers to use.” Best Building Installer Certification Specialist - UK Certass act as a Certification Body, providing a quality assurance mark to its member companies, allowing the companies to use this mark to demonstrate their competence. They operate in the renovation, maintenance and improvement (RMI) construction sectors for both installers and product manufacturers. Certass currently has several thousand installer and manufacturer companies certified, covering most contractor trades through their schemes. We spoke to Jason Clemmit to find out more. C