As the end of the year comes sharply into focus, I’d like to share with you the hard work, efforts and successes we at Certass have achieved on behalf of our members this year. You may remember that in our January 2016 Certass column we told you that we had set ourselves the objective of consolidating and improving upon some of the changes we introduced in 2015 in line with our new Government license requirements.
I am pleased to report that these changes have now been bedded in to our day to day operations and the improvements include ensuring that our members and their site operatives can continue to meet the new Government requirements for minimum technical competence (MTC) without causing disruption or an economical strain on their business along with being able to provide financial protection to their customers.
To this end we launched the Certass MTC Continuum Card which allows Certass certified companies to spread the MTC assessment costs onto their monthly direct debit. This has proved to be a great success for our members as they no longer have the burden of outlaying these costs up front. We launched our MTC ‘Pay As You Go’ Scheme in conjunction with one of our approved Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) providers, QANW. With its monthly payment option, this can now be linked with a low-user IBG solution providing a complete low-cost solution without becoming uncompetitive on individual installations as there are no high LABC fees or registration costs.
Certass created a Doodle-Ad for its Competent Person Scheme members that can be used within their own advertising and marketing literature. Certass members can also publish their bespoke Doodle-Ad video onto their company website, facebook profile and/or their youtube channel. Many contractors have reported the success of using this Doodle-Ad in their campaigns as homeowners find this video to be very informative and assuring whilst our members that have bought the Doodle Ad tell us that it helps to give them an edge over the competition as well as giving extra confidence to their customers. For further details and to view the video visit www.doodle-ads.co.uk/certass.
Certass has also been active on its member’s behalf in other areas.
In February – our Certass Quality Management System (QMS) was completely re-written in readiness to meet the new ISO9001:2015 requirements. We also developed and launched a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database which we built to improve our inspection process and the management of the relationships between a member’s inspection, installations and their site operatives. The new CRM database also enables us to better track communications between the contractor and/or site operatives and our certification and auditing teams.
In April – Certass was approved as an accredited Living Wage Foundation Employer. The Living Wage Foundation is a voluntary scheme for providing employers with an ethical badge for responsible pay that has the public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
April also saw the return of the extraordinary FIT Show, the only one of its kind in the UK for the glazing industry and of course Certass was there ready to meet and speak with representatives from both its current membership and any new contractors wishing to join any of Certass’s successful schemes.
This year’s FIT show stand for Certass and QANW was again organised by our marketing department who did a fantastic job engaging everyone at the exhibition to join Certass in celebrating its 10 years trading, and Certass was certainly in the party mood promoting our special birthday FIT show offerings. The stand was bright and inviting with a great team of knowledgeable staff which allowed all the answers to be provided to the questions fielded by contractors there and then. To help lighten the load a tea and coffee station was provided for contractors who could take a seat, chat to the team and enjoy a much-needed rest before moving onto the next part of the show.
In June – our ISO:9001 external audit was completed successfully against both the old ISO9001:2008 and the new ISO9001:2015.
In August – The new Certass Members Area went live and has been very rewarding with only a few minor teething problems in the first couple of weeks. The feedback that we are getting indicates that overall our contractors are extremely pleased with their new member’s area and are telling us how easy it is to use and that our new online payment system is proving to be very convenient and safe to use.
In October – Certass successfully completed its 2-day external audit carried out by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). You will already know by now that it is a Government license requirement for all Competent Person Scheme Operators to be a UKAS accredited Certification Body. Such a body must operate its business in an impartial manner and therefore, can demonstrate that its company processes and procedures are fair, competent, consistent and robust, meeting the standards required against BS:17065.
Also in October, Certass launched its Discounted Fuel Card for members. Certass is always pleased when it can deliver a true benefit to its contractors that will help them with their day to day business and this discounted fuel card (which can be used for purchasing of all major fuel brands) does exactly that as it cuts diesel and petrol costs for our members.
Each year Build magazine issues its Construction & Engineering Awards. The awards are designed to reward and recognise the hard work, often undertaken over many months and years, by the myriad of professionals in the industry. From managers to subcontractors, supply chain professionals to finance experts, Build magazine turns the spotlight on everyone involved at every stage in the construction process. To make sure that each one of its winners can rest assured that they have truly deserved their recognition, its dedicated awards team compiles a file on each nominee once voting closes, which is then passed on to its judging panel, comprising of several industry experts. Certass is delighted to announce that the winners of the categories Best for Certification Services 2016 and Best Building Installer Certification Specialist – United Kingdom 2016 was – you guessed it – Certass Ltd.
We would like now to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Splendid New Year from everyone at Certass and we look forward to working with you in 2017. If you are going to attend the FIT Show at the NEC in Birmingham on 23rd, 24th and 25th May next year why not look us up?
Mike Billington – Chairman