Brunton’s Blog – Developing Competence – a matter of communication?


Brunton’s Blog – Developing Competence – a matter of communication?

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Developing Competence – a matter of communication?


There are currently many ways that SPRA are engaging internally within the single ply roofing sector and externally in the wider body of roofing within the construction industry at large. This is vital during the changing times that the construction industry is going through and the need for transforming culture identified in the Hackitt review and the subsequent work of the Industry Response Group (IRG).


In this blog and at all recent SPRA events there has hardly been an occasion when the issue concerning competence and the industry transformation called for has not been raised and discussed openly with members. Hopefully this helps raise awareness throughout and reflects the current focus of the industry at the highest levels. It is important however that there is linkage regarding the most important issues of the day, in this case perhaps a generation or more, between what is being discussed and decided at national governmental level and a communicated explanation with optional feedback dialog routes at all industry levels. This is easy to write about but difficult to implement in practice, yet so necessary if a change in culture is to take place. A ‘buy in’ is required by all and that can only be achieved through good communication at all levels and the opportunity to have a say – feedback!


Visiting many working building sites, large and small as part of my job I don’t detect as yet too many signs of cultural change in the industry as a whole. Maybe the message coming down from the highest levels is too confusing, not yet formulated properly or just not coming or getting through. At the moment there is perhaps a lack of detail in the message anyway only saying that we need to ensure that we are ready for change to ensure quality, safe verifiable work – designed, supplied and delivered by competent individuals and teams operating in a competent framework.


The cultural change called for has to wrap around these areas and eventually embed within. Cultural change has often been referred to as one of the slowest to take place. The mindset of the individual has to move to a different position and we all do this at our own speed. A well communicated, logical message can assist in the acceptance and ease of this process.


The crucial work of the IRG is attempting to address these issues and making progress. SPRA is represented on two of the key twelve groups (WG2-Installers and WG12-Products). The detail of the output or ‘message’ referred to above is currently being worked out so that is clear, well defined and reaches the parts that other industry messages have failed to over the years. There still remains the challenge of message delivery ensuring that all ‘get it’ in a literal and understanding way and the mindset changing process can take place where necessary. This will be the eventual implementation phase of any output of the twelve working groups. Before then Dame Judith Hackitt will begin the review of this output and comment back to the working groups thereafter.


The Hackitt review is perhaps the most important piece of work drawing attention to key issues that need to be addressed. It will be of the utmost importance that the industry takes on board the information made available with a view to changing industry culture. SPRA will continue to develop our communication channels to ensure members get all information from the review and subsequent IRG working group response process. Mapping our training and development work to demonstrate competence and robustness of our systems can only benefit single ply roof installations and ensure we follow and implement Hackitt review and IRG response recommendations.


As always, delighted to receive any feedback on this or any issues!




Dr Ronan Brunton B.Sc MBA GMICE, Technical Manager