Welcome to the spring issue of GLASSi.
Firstly, I express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Stephen Byers, who sadly passed away a few weeks ago. I knew Stephen very well and shared many GGF meetings and social occasions with both Stephen and his wife Karen. In this issue of GLASSi, we pay full tribute to Stephen, who was a very popular and respected GGF Member for over three decades. He will be sorely missed.
As we enter the new season, we sincerely hope that the UK is on the road to recovery from the huge disruption and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last 12 months, the future has at times looked very bleak for business and society as a whole. The future though is now looking a lot brighter with the Government’s roadmap to recovery, the easing of restrictions combined with the success of the Government vaccination programme. This is as result of the rates of infection, cases and fatalities decreasing.
As the situation has evolved the GGF has worked closely with Governments, local authority partnerships and health and safety experts to ensure you receive the latest information and guidance. We will continue to work with all the relevant bodies to ensure you and your staff are protected with the most up to date and best possible guidance.
Though there is much optimism, there is still no room for complacency and we should all continue to follow the guidance, protect the NHS and save lives.
Since the last edition of GLASSi, the transition period for the UK to leave the EU ended on 31st December 2020.
With the UK no longer being part of the EU, there have been and still are difficulties for companies who import and export. Members have reported problems with administration at customs, delays in transportation, price increases in haulage generally and containers specifically. In addition, the industry has also seen a change to the regulations around CE Marking and the UK has now introduced a new UKCA Marking system which all companies will have to adhere to if their products fall within scope of the Construction Products Regulation. The GGF Technical Team are working with MHCLG (Government Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) and our fellow Trade Associations in making representations on behalf of members to try and make this process as straightforward as possible for companies who place products (within scope) on the market.
In this issue of GLASSi, David Borland, GGF Senior Technical Officer has produced an update on the current status regarding CE Marking and UKCA Marking.
The Government recently announced that the Green Homes Grant Scheme launched last September has been cancelled. Since the launch of the scheme (which did not consult with huge parts of the construction and glass & glazing sector in advance of its launch), the GGF raised concerns to Government over the restrictive PAS 2030 accreditation gateway to becoming an approved installer to carry out measures and also the glazing element of the scheme which only allowed for single glazing to be replaced as a secondary measure. The GGF also made representations to Government that Competent Person Schemes should be used as an alternative or complimentary to PAS2030.
Though this scheme hasn’t worked for our industry, the GGF is continuing talks with Government over future schemes that will hopefully have more emphasis on glazing.
GGF Products and Services
In the first quarter of 2021, the GGF team have been extremely productive to increase and improve your benefits.
On the health and safety side, we have launched the new Health and Safety Webinar Programme which is freely available for all Members to attend. The next webinar is on “Managing Mental Health during COVID-19” and is on April 6th. You can book your place at this webinar here.
The GGF Digital Marketing Toolkit was launched recently and includes free access to 12 video webinars accompanied by PDF presentation files for free download. The digital marketing toolkit has a content value of over £1k, so I encourage all Members to take full advantage to grow their online audience, customers and business using digital technology.
Also on the marketing and PR front, the GGF is continuing its consumer campaign Stay Safe with MyGlazing.com following the success of the campaign in 2020 when over 200k consumers looking for advice through the pandemic visited the MyGlazing.com website for advice. The campaign was also publicised in over 100 consumer publications reaching millions of homeowners.
The GGF Technical team in that last 12 months has published 42 new technical publications and is continuing up review and update a further 26 as part of the ongoing technical documentation review process. In addition, the Team organised two exclusive Technical Forums in February and it was great to see over 100 GGF Members attend via video link, “The Ban on Laminated Glass in Facades and Balconies Forum” and then just a few days later attend the “Forum on the Government’s Future Homes Consultation” which will impact the Building Regulations approved documents L (energy efficiency) and F (ventilation).
In the first few months of the year we have already seen an increase in Members meetings and particularly in the Regional meetings, Window Film Group and Heritage Window Group. With Member engagement increasing via video meetings, we are looking at returning to face to face meetings once the lockdown restrictions allow such gatherings. We will of course keep you updated on when this will happen and rest assured we will also be continuing with the video conferencing as well as face to face meetings, to enable all Members to engage regardless of distance and time.
An up to date list of GGF Members Meetings for 2021 can be see here. Please feel free to contact the assigned GGF Secretary if you want to find out more about our meetings and/or if you wish to attend any of the Members Regional or Technical meetings.
Finally, I was delighted to see all parts of the GGF membership represented at the Chairperson’s Forum (held on 18th March). With 33 Chairs/Representatives at the Forum it was an exceptional attendance and many of the points raised by Members have been fully taken on board and will be address by the GGF Board and Staff. A full report of this meeting will be issued to all who attended to cascade to all Members.
We look forward to working on your behalf to help your business through these trying times.