To all SPRA Members I wish you all a Happy and hopefully successful and prosperous New Year.
The Year 2020 was certainly one that was fraught with challenges and some of these of course were caused by social and economic events beyond our control. In contrast, 2021 brings with it more certainty with respect to the trade deal for BREXIT although the Covid-19 situation remains a concern for us all.
Throughout 2020, SPRA worked hard to assist its membership on the major issues affecting our industry. Despite the negative and tragic impact that Covid-19 clearly has had in recent months there has also been a real spirit of collaboration between construction industry organisations and their members enabling more frequent meetings and discussion because of the necessity to meet through virtual platforms. SPRA has engaged fully and has been busier than ever participating in relevant meetings and expressing your views and opinions on issues that really matter.
SPRA played a very active and full role in industry organisations on your behalf to support, educate and influence their decision making and activities. We have membership of Build UK, the Construction Products Association (CPA), the Advisory Committee for Roof Safety, the RIBA CPD Network, the CICV Forum and the UK Green Building Council. We sit on the NFRC Flat Roof Committee, the CPA Technical Committee and CPA Sustainability Group; and link to and support the Green Roof Organisation.
SPRA has continued the spirit of collaboration in a technical sense with other flat roofing associations in representation to government and other bodies to clarify issues concerning fire safety. We participated in a number of construction industry Working Groups set up in response to chapter 5 of the Hackitt Report by the Industry Response Group (IRG) and dealing with construction industry competence. SPRA representation within these Working Groups has continued throughout 2020 with the executive continuing to play a very active role in Working Group 2 – Installers; and Working Group 12 – Products, while continuing to support and provide input as requested to the Marketing Integrity Group. The work here is vital in helping to bring about the necessary cultural change called for in the Hackitt Report.
From a technical standpoint SPRA is represented on a number of important industry bodies associated with British and European Standards. This enables us to speak up on behalf of our members on issues that are relevant. The work of the Technical Committee, a cornerstone of single ply roofing industry development, over the last year has continued to deliver exceptional industry leading guidance. This has entailed the release and publication of new and updated work including new protocol documents for wind load calculations and pull-out testing and a complete revision of the SPRA Design Guide.
We continue to have a major focus on training. It’s part of our DNA. SPRA members fully support this ethos and assist by providing free training materials and advising on course content and curriculum. This enables a comprehensive training career path to be available for the single ply industry ensuring and reinforcing the delivery of the high installation standards mentioned previously. Maintaining these high standards in training is paramount and the collaborative approach by SPRA in conjunction with our membrane members allows us to deliver the Basic Competency Programme for Experienced Workers and continue to offer our specialist training course for apprentices. Working within the framework of the CITB is important and SPRA have thirteen upskilling courses registered on the CITB directory. Site assessment of trainees is supported by SPRA and ensuring that this assessment work is carried out by suitably competent, capable and experienced assessors. To this end assessor training programmes such as ‘Train the Trainer’ are important in helping to deliver this objective.
Training throughout and across our members organisations is important as indeed is external knowledge building for specifiers and others who are involved with single ply roofing products and systems through design and procurement of work. To this end the SPRA Single Ply Online Training and Assessment Course is part of the RIBA approved CPD programme as indeed is the seminar for architects entitled Single Ply Roofing: Achieving High Performance with Minimum Risk. These courses aimed at the wider single ply community help to guide, educate and influence towards continual improvement in the overall quality of single ply roofing projects in the future built environment.
The Year Ahead
There is no doubt that the year ahead is going to be a challenging one for business and for society in general and one like no other we have experienced before. You can be rest assured however that SPRA is ready to meet the challenges of 2021. We have in place a solid financial and operational platform for development. And with the new SPRA Council and the restructured SPRA Executive we are ready to push on and deliver in the areas key to organisational success.
Our objectives for 2021 are as always centred on delivering real value for our membership through development.
SPRA will attempt to reach a wider and deeper membership audience through the establishment of a new distributor member category. In doing so we will maintain the high standards required of all members, which is a clear objective.
SPRA will grasp the opportunity to increase our presence on digital platforms for meetings with members of other trade and industry bodies as well as for marketing purposes, creating greater awareness among specifiers main contractors and other industry stakeholders.
The cancellation of the SPRA Conference that was due to take place in June was a real disappointment for me personally, as was the postponement of last year’s SPRA Awards. The clear objective for 2021 is to move our conference and Awards online and focus on important industry issues involving influential speakers and informative discussion. More will be released shortly on our plans for this event which will I am sure will be welcomed and embraced by the membership.
We will increase our technical resource this year through the recruitment of a new Technical Manager to assist Ronan achieve our 2021 targets and objectives and thereby provide for even more support to our membership.
The SPRA Executive will focus on delivery of the Council objectives and ensure our members are represented in all relevant and strategic construction industry work streams and our technical quest relating to ensuring the highest levels of support and training will continue.
I would like to thank my fellow Council members for their time and support and to thank the SPRA Executive and support team who once again, have provided an outstanding service to members and the wider industry. A special thank you also to our new CEO Ronan Brunton for his Ideas, enthusiasm, energy and support for all of the above initiatives, which undoubtedly will set us in good fettle (Yorkshire word!!) for the present year and beyond! I would encourage all members to consider how they can get more involved with SPRA. Make full use of your benefits and as always, if you have ideas for improvements, then bring them to the attention of either a Council member or the SPRA executive.