Contract Flooring Journal (CFJ) the latest news for flooring contractors

HomeCFA CommentLaying the floor – that’s the easy bit!

Laying the floor – that’s the easy bit!

To suggest that laying a floor does not present challenges would not of course be true. However, I would be confident in saying that most professional contractors in our sector have the basics covered. Industry operatives working for the well-regarded companies in the sector have generally been well-trained, a proportion of them thanks to the amazing services offered by FITA, our very own training organisation.

So we are capable of laying a floor according to British Standards – and doing a great job – but unfortunately in the real world it is not that straightforward. The fact is that the real world is beset by the ever-shifting requirements of clients and the need to manage their expectations and other items such as volatile and unrealistic programmes, commissioning of things like UFH (underfloor heating) prior to commencement, management and sequencing of other trades on site, inadequate and poor sub-floors, floor contamination, poor working environments or unsuitable temperature conditions, as highlighted by CFA’s ongoing Winter Warning Campaign (to name just a few!).

All or any of these factors can create less than ideal conditions on site for floor laying and cause delay, leading to frustration for all parties and making the theoretical more or less irrelevant. At Westcotes, like other contractors, we face all these challenges daily and plenty more besides. I’ve been in this business for 25 years and my strong feeling personally is that the pressures that we have to operate under are getting more and more difficult.

This is where membership of the CFA comes in and is there to help any contractor in the industry who chooses to join up.

For a start CFA membership also gives us the opportunity to win new work and expand our customer base. These are not empty words – I have seen this in action first hand. We have recently been tendering for a large hospital project, where we had to use ‘old school’ methods to liaise with the prospective client, due to their emails being down. We actually picked up a phone to have a conversation! A skill that many people seem to have forgotten that exists in the modern world. A lengthy conversation and introduction on the phone was followed up with e-mails and a successful meeting, which has put us in with a chance to secure the project.

In that meeting it came to light that the initial approach to Westcotes Flooring was made via the CFA online directory. If your business doesn’t ask where your leads come from, it is worth doing. You might get some surprises. This was a great example of how the claims that the CFA makes in its literature and marketing materials are actually true – all made possible by our £687 membership fee (contractor membership fee correct at time of going to press).

As well as helping our members with the chance to win new business through services like the website directory, we help to make their real world experience a little more like the ‘ideal’ – and this is where the support from CFA kicks in. We can offer members information on virtually any conceivable topic related to floorlaying. In fact, CFA acts as a hub of talent and expertise, enabling and providing an impressive array of publications and support.

Training, sustainability and specialist information for contractors, distributors and manufacturers are all topics covered by the formal publications. The annual CFA Training Guide for example is the ultimate industry bible for anyone interested in training issues within our sector. There are also our general publications, such as the CFA Members’ Handbook and the CFA Guide to Contract Flooring, both of which have been recently updated.

The Guide to Contract Flooring has an additional benefit for members which allows them to obtain all of the sections in a data sheet format. These can be attached to quotes or used to help explain technical issues such as UFH and moisture control when talking to clients. These are available through the Members Area of the website and can be easily sent to customers via email.

‘Members who log in can access a further wide range of documents, many of which are designed to help members run their businesses better. These include a range of professionally drawn-up and regularly updated templates, which have been designed for members’ use. The most popular of these are the various disclaimers and technical information which give members another tool either to protect themselves or to help a client understand how important an issue is.

With regard to the above, at Westcotes we are in the process of using both of the above on a large residential project whereby we have sent all the information regarding the commissioning of the UFH system to help the client understand the process, but due to their time constraints and incorrect sequencing we have also had to send a disclaimer (for various reasons) and receive a formal instruction from the client to proceed, which will help us mitigate risk. Many people are suspicious of disclaimers (‘not worth the paper they are written on’) but CFA’s is very cleverly worded. I would only advocate as a last resort, but in those circumstances, I’d highly recommend the CFA’s.

The cost of amassing this content on an individual basis would be huge and the CFA provides it for members collectively in order to spread the cost – another big benefit of membership.

The Members’ Area includes a wealth of other information as well – for instance technical documents and guidance, a Newsletter archive, highlights of recent member webinars and information focused on to specific areas of industry concern, such as Brexit, and all of this is covered by every member’s annual membership fee.

As well as being your president, I’m also just another CFA member. I hope the above gives you an insight into how I use the CFA and get enormous value from it. I’d really welcome feedback of your experiences of how CFA membership has worked for you. Email: and mark correspondence as being for the president.
0115 9411126

Please click to view more articles about

Stay Connected




Popular articles