GGF tackles “industry-changing“ issues at its Annual Forum 2009

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) will take advantage of the large numbers expected at the G09 Regional event taking place at Wembley Stadium 30 September -1 October 2009, to make delegates at th…

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) will take advantage of the large numbers expected at the G09 Regional event taking place at Wembley Stadium 30 September -1 October 2009, to make delegates at the GGF Annual Forum aware of two key issues soon to face the glass and glazing industries. Two events due to take effect in 2010 – The Revised Building Regulations and the Consumer White Paper recently published – are the subjects being covered by expert speakers at the GGF Conference on 1 October, which is free to attend for all visitors to the Wembley G09 Regional. Changes to the Building Regulations – which will be presented by GGF Technical Director Giles Willson – will for example include a proposal that the exemption for conservatories be removed from Approved Document L, but that work on conservatories be included in the list of building work that is not notifiable to Building Control (Schedule 2B); whilst replacement windows and doors will be affected by increased minimum performance standards: window, roof window or rooflight – WER, band C; and doors with more than 50% of the internal face glazed are likely to require a U-value of 1.8 W/m2K. However, it is the proposals offered in the White Paper published recently called “A Better Deal for Consumers – Delivering Real Help Now and for the Future“ that hold perhaps the biggest changes for home improvement companies for at least a decade. Designed amongst other things to drive out rogue traders there are clauses suggested that may trip up the unwary glazing installer who has not learned the new rules, when they become statutory next year. The two-year pilot covering compensation for breach of consumer law will start in autumn 2010 or spring 2011 and will be extensively evaluated before the national rollout. The government plans to appoint a “Consumer Advocate“ to educate consumers and assist those who have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous businesses and there will also be stronger penalties for “rogue traders“ and banning orders to prevent repeat offences. The OFT will develop a new online complaints system which it hopes will go live in 2010 and it will provide a high profile single complaints register for citizens encountering breaches of consumer law. The presentation at the GGF Conference, delivered by Paul Ramsden, deputy chief executive of Trading Standards, is intended to offer a guide to the new regulations and prevent bona fide traders from falling foul of the new laws. Ian Chisholm, deputy chief executive of the GGF believes that the new rules will ultimately be very positive for the glazing industry but may well catch out otherwise well-meaning companies that do not familiarise themselves with them: Rogue traders continue to be a curse on our industry although thankfully they are far less prevalent than they used to be. What we fear is that if retail installers do not make themselves familiar with the new rules – which we believe will be strictly enforced – some may fall foul of them and be penalised. Our Forum 2009 sessions on the subject of the Building Regulations and Consumer rules are designed to offer guidance on the key issues.