“We are under no illusions about the complexity of what we’re proposing,” says Patrick Murray, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, APHC. “However, there is a real appetite for this change now, possibly because people are recognising that when it comes to industry fragmentation and its consequences, things are only going to get worse unless we do something about it.”
Patrick is talking about APHC’s desire to co-ordinate the formation of a single industry scheme that brings together the plethora of confusing, overlapping, onerous and expensive schemes, all of which are aiming for very similar outcomes. This situation is causing significant industry fragmentation and consequently confusing customers who do not know which scheme applies to which work or how they should choose their supplier.
From the tradesman’s point of view, the current situation is a barrier to multi-skilling due to the high costs related to participation. Consequently, these costs and complexities are causing legitimate companies to be driven into non-participation. Indeed, many installers are simply not prepared to participate until enforcement is improved and there is a significant uptake in scheme participation levels in order to create a level playing field.
Combining the many schemes under one co-ordinated single industry-led scheme would meet many highly desirable goals. It would help remove industry fragmentation, reduce the cost of compliance, simplify bureaucracy, and increase participation in the sustainability sector in particular. Standards of installations would be higher due to higher potential participation levels.
APHC has laid out a four-stage process to move to a single industry-led voluntary scheme. These plans have come out of the work of its Sustainability Group , which involves key building services representatives from across the sector. The first stage of that process is to establish fruitful discussions with other organisations in the building services sector dealing with residential properties, and to ensure the political will is there to make it happen. Early indications are that there is more appetite for this than ever before. Lord O’Neill, who chairs the Sustainability Group, comments:
"There is a real appetite for an industry led voluntary scheme aimed at the residential sector. Combining the plethora of schemes under one co-ordinated single industry approach would give businesses a much more cost effective method of participation in the various schemes. It would remove the confusion of scheme duplication and would give the industry a wider economical opportunity for business participation in the green agendas. "
The Sustainability Group has fully endorsed the single industry led scheme and believe that the proposals put forward present real opportunities for improvement across the industries.