This letter was published in the Glazine.
Why do CPS inspections NOT improve installation quality?
CORGI Fenestration has always believed that current industry inspection regimes do not work and that you cannot inspect in quality – by which we mean that inspections alone do not improve the standard of work that is being carried out. Unless the inspections findings are fed back (via a failure note) into a company to allow corrective actions to be taken the faults that have been identified will just continue. In fact, it will probably become worse, as those causing the problems are not being held to account.
However, most Competent Persons Schemes (CPSs) never challenge what corrective actions an installer has taken – and there is no requirement for that kind of follow up. Additionally, currently no CPSs publish failure rates let alone reasons for failures. Without that information our industry cannot collectively address the problems, correct them and move forward.
In our experience the current method adopted for CPSs operating in the fenestration sector (FENSA, CERTASS, Assure, et al), namely a 1% selection for inspection rate, has failed to improve the quality of work carried out. Whilst there was an initial impact, the rate of non-conformity has now levelled off at an unacceptably high level.
It is also hard to explain to government departments that are used to using percentage inspection rates in other sectors to identify problems, that by increasing the number of inspections we will just find more failures – because the cause of those failures is not being addressed.
At the moment the vast majority of inspections are conducted on completed installations without anyone other than the inspector, and possibly the homeowner, present. A fault is found, and the company is requested to put right the works. Once completed, the site may be re-inspected and the company is then signed off as competent, although in some cases they may have an additional inspection added to their total requirement.
There is no investigation of the cause for the failure or any consideration of multiple sites that may be affected.
This is why the CORGI Fenestration approach is different. We have adopted the practices of the building services sector (e.g. heating, plumbing, electrical). An installer is assessed for its competence and the way it operates. Included within that is an evaluation of how the company identifies its workforce as competent and how it then controls the quality of the work undertaken.
If you then underpin this standard by employing a qualified workforce, you can start to understand why failure rates within the building services sector are considerably lower than those in fenestration. CORGI Fenestration registered installers will either have (or have a commitment to achieve) a qualified workforce. This, coupled with our new approach, will drive installation standards higher for the benefit of both consumers and our industry.
Who could argue with that!
Chris Mayne, CORGI Fenestration CEO & Jacqui Crawford, CORGI Fenestration COO