A commitment to raise standards and develop skills was at the centre of the Scaffolding Association’s strategy when it opened for membership in 2013. Large swathes of the sector had become disenfranchised from the wider construction, housing and facilities management sectors.
Well, how things have changed. At the start of this decade, access and scaffolding regulations and training were dominated by an elite group with little interest in the SME sector.
Today, the Scaffolding Association represents more than 380 specialist contractors employing over 10,000 scaffolders. And our members are responding to client demands to clearly demonstrate that their businesses operate to stringent policies and procedures.
Association members are showing that they have a thirst to improve. We now have more than 50 fully accredited Audited Members, and, by the end of the year, we anticipate there will be over 100 Audited Members working to these standards, which is one of the most stringent independent audits in the access and scaffolding sector.
Rising standards are also being recognised. More and more clients are accepting Scaffolding Association Audited Members onto their supply chains. This is opening up new work opportunities for scaffolders and giving clients access to high technical standards and greater competition; and we all know that greater competition drives innovation.
Access and scaffolding packages are now firmly on the critical path of contracts on building sites and at manufacturing plants across the country. Major players like Landsec, Willmott Dixon and the National Trust are using Scaffolding Association members. Our members’ skills are also a key component of house building – a sector that is currently the only growth area in the construction industry.
An integral part of our strategy is to drive up standards, and our new partnership with SMAS (Safety Management Advisory Services) will enable us to particularly support the increase of Associate Members and demonstrate our dedication to moving the industry forward at all levels.
Our sector has been criticised for failings and you only have to look at some of the news in this issue to see that some contractors don’t meet even the minimum standards of safety and performance. Clients expect professionalism when they employ any trade and capability must not be assessed on price alone.
At the Scaffolding Association, we have created an environment that allows scaffolding and access specialists of all shapes and sizes to progress and deliver a safe, quality and competitive service.