Spring: A time for renewal

With lambs and daffodils ubiquitous in this new season, Garry reckons it’s the perfect time to tackle the subject of renewal.

AT this time of year, we look forward to the coming of spring and the fresh start that comes with that season. Fields of bulbs, spring lambs, leaves on the trees and brighter weather are all part of this time of year. The Met Office official spring start date is 20 March with the clocks going forward an hour on 29 March.

For the CFA, it’s also a time of renewal and fresh starts with the annual CFA membership renewals notifications for the 2020/2021 year going out.

I thought I’d use this article to provide my perspective as CFA president and a CFA manufacturer member (day job is technical manager, Forbo Flooring) as to the benefits of membership.

One of the most important but often missed aspects of being a CFA member is how that looks from the end-user/architects/client viewpoint, basically an external perspective of how membership differentiates members from non-members.

Customers want a degree of certainty that when they employ the services of a company, they’ll get as professional a job done as possible with the least amount of – or ideally no – issues.

From this client perspective, I asked Richard Catt, ceo of the CFA, to give me the top four reasons they might consider when employing a CFA member:

  • Members are independently vetted
  • Technical support
  • Meeting business criteria
  • Training support and opportunities

While it isn’t a benefit to the client, the CFA logo is of course an important element to signpost any potential client to use a CFA member.

Now, there are very good brochures and dedicated pages explaining member benefits for each of our four membership categories (contractors/associate members, manufacturers, distributors and consultants) available on the CFA website:

For a flooring contractor, the top four reasons above have had more resonance in the past few years with skilled labour shortages and economic uncertainty, the latter particularly acute within the main contractor sector.

It’s an accepted reality that the contract flooring trade isn’t highly regulated. So, for a client, the fact a CFA member has been through a vetting process, has support and a degree of regulation through their trade body, is seen as really important.

The CFA checks contractors have the right insurances (PL & EL), ensures they can produce a method statement, risk assessment and, important in todays’ contracts, have environmental and quality policies. Even policies such as modern slavery are available as templates for CFA members.

Of course, as a member, the CFA ensures they also have access to the latest technical information and support while being able to promote best practice through access to subsidised training.

Additionally, if something goes wrong, the CFA does of course have a recognised dispute resolution service open to flooring contractors. While clients may not obviously consider this, the fact the flooring contractor members have access to all the helplines is also a reason to use them.

It all adds to them being shown as a competent company with access to the right information to run their businesses efficiently and professionally, delivering quality installations.

And lastly, the use of the CFA logo is an exclusive benefit to CFA members and a good way to differentiate themselves from non-CFA competition.

As a manufacturer, there’s greater certainty in working with or recommending a CFA member flooring contractor to customers. All the above should be persuasive reasons for a flooring contractor to seek CFA membership particularly as the cost of membership is vastly outweighed by the linked benefits of being a member.

Manufacturer members have a special place and role in the CFA, ably demonstrated through the work of the CFA manufacturers committee which I have the honour of chairing. This committee is the force behind the content contained in the CFA Guide to Contract Flooring as well as being major contributors to the BSI committees such as BS8203 (resilient flooring) and BS5325 (textile flooring). Through the CFA, manufacturers are able to meet together (yes, that is competitors in one place!) to formally discuss and agree generic guidance and advice to the benefit of the flooring trade as a whole. This output is often seen as CFA Guidance Notes such as the one on plywood which then became part of the revised BS8203:2107 resilient flooring standard. Manufacturers can influence positive changes or adaptions to working practices that both help and support flooring contractors when working on site.

I have been associated with the CFA for several decades now and I can confidently recommend the association for all types of membership. If you are an existing member renewing, I would like to thank you for your continued support. If you are considering, then ask, enquire, but most importantly, make the right decision by joining. As I have said, the benefits provided are more than the membership fee. So, whether as a renewal of membership or as a fresh start new applicant, I look forward to seeing your names in the online directory and hard copy CFA Members Handbook which lists all members.
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