It's not the time to cut back on training
Significant changes are going to impact on our industry, many of these the result of a significant move towards the use of low carbon and renewable energy technologies over the coming decades as our dependence on fossil fuels is phased out. Companies that cut back on training in the current economic climate are making a big mistake!Now is the time for both design and installation companies to be looking to diversify, taking advantage of this new and adaptive market. We are at a defining moment as it's still early enough to establish a place in this market, which will really start to take off in the next few years.
Nonetheless, there are already signs that it is picking up as the new feed-in tariffs are established and the (still likely) prospect of the Renewable Heat Incentive from April 2011.
It is important that established businesses position themselves effectively in the fast moving market. It's clear that new entrants, including green entrepreneurs, are moving in and setting up as renewable energy installers; more are signing up to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
However, there are worrying developments with some elements employing high pressure sales tactics akin to the double glazing industry experience during the 1970/80s when extravagant claims about payback and performance were made, impacting negatively on the reputation of double glazing for years thereafter. That is why this trend must not go unchecked; if it does, it will undoubtedly have a severely harmful impact on the renewables industry in the future.
Although it is far from perfect, schemes like the MCS are important; changes to the Building Regulations make it a legal requirement that contractors responsible for installing controlled services (which covers virtually all mechanical services) should certify compliance with the local authority building control department.
The easiest route to achieve this is for mechanical services contractors to self certify their work through BESCA, the Building Engineering Services Competence Accreditation Ltd. Scheme run by the HVCA (www.besca.org.uk), which enables the whole process to be archived in as little as three minutes on-line.
Training to become an accredited certifier to comply with this government licensed scheme is provided through the HVCA http://www.hvca.org.uk/competent/competent.html
This training also adds value by increasing the understanding of the new parts of the Building Regulations applicable to mechanical services contractors. However, it also outlines useful and practical ways to effectively market this service to clients and gain a share by diversifying in the burgeoning m&e low carbon sustainability market.
Some contracting companies have already been proactive in this area and have used the training opportunity to train all their field engineers. This training has not only allowed them to obtain the appropriate certification, but has also provided opportunity to make their staff fully aware of the significant opportunities in the renewable and energy saving markets, even during these difficult economic times.
It really is time to take another look at your building regulations and sustainability training in order to keep ahead of the game in an increasingly tough and hard fought over market.