SMAS – Qualifications that will pay for themselves
Qualifications that will pay for themselves
In 2018, the Federation of Master Builders carried out research that lead to them believing “The UK Economy is missing out on £10 billion each year because homeowners are so fearful of hiring a cowboy builder”. Cowboy roofers without the skills and qualifications to carry out the work, may produce shoddy work, often undercutting respected roofing companies due to their cheaper workforce and lower safety costs. This in turn leads to a greater mistrust of the roofing trade from clients, especially domestic clients. This affects the profits of companies who do the job properly and safely.
The big question is how you set yourself apart from these cowboys. By holding the correct qualifications for the work you are undertaking, and demonstrating this to customers, brings with it confidence in the skills of the organisation carrying out their roofing works.
What to look for
What are the right roofing qualifications? The simple answer is, it depends on the activities of the organisation.
The HSE states “Roof workers need the appropriate knowledge, skills, training and experience to work safely, or should be under the supervision of someone else who has it. They need to be able to recognise the risks, understand the appropriate systems of work and be competent in the skills to carry them out”
Key qualifications for the trade you are undertaking are vital and tradespeople carrying out the work should hold:
- Formal Training such as NVQ/City and Guilds (including being demonstrated on CSCS Cards)
- Product training if carrying out some Flat Roofing systems/ Green Roofing systems
- With H&S training such as Working at Height and Manual Handling
This provides knowledge on how to complete the work to the correct standard and a safe manner. Every roofing gang working should have qualified employees within it who can ensure the work is completed to a high standard.
Alongside this, regular refresher training should be provided for employees to ensure they are reminded of the hazards and correct procedures such as
- Level 1 Health and Safety training on subjects such as Working at Height and Manual Handling
- Toolbox talks
- Health and Safety awareness courses
On top of this, if carrying out work that requires additional systems such as MEWPS or scaffolding towers, then you will need the qualifications to use/erect these. Qualifications such as;
- IPAF for MEWPS
- PASMA for Mobile Towers
There are many roofers out there who are working off the statement that they have been carrying out roofing work for many years, unfortunately, this statement is hard to verify. If an incident was to happen and an employee got hurt, the HSE may request you to demonstrate the competence of the workers carrying out the work. This is very difficult if they do not hold formal qualifications.
However, there is good news. If you are an experienced worker, CITB can carry out one-to-one assessments, that assess your ability to carry out the trade. They can then issue you certification based on passing their assessment. More information can be found here – https://www.citb.co.uk/national-construction-college/assessment-services/occupational-trade-qualifications-assessment/
Holding the correct qualifications and a training plan for development is a key part of the SMAS Worksafe SSIP assessment, without which we would be unable to accredit an organisation in the roofing trade. Having these qualifications in place, gives you a big step towards achieving SSIP accreditation, which is endorsed by the HSE. This allows you to showcase the competence of your organisation to both the commercial and domestic environments.
 Unknown. (2018). Cowboy Builder Fears Cost UK Economy £10bn. Available: https://www.roofingtoday.co.uk/cowboy-builder-fears-cost-uk-economy-10bn/. Last accessed 13/11/19.