The Future Looks Bright as Training, Lobbying and a Trickle Vent Solution Are Unveiled at GGF Members’ Day

Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium provided a winning backdrop to a highly positive Glass & Glazing Federation Members’ Day, that saw members gathered for the first time in three years. Whilst reflecting on key events of the past year, the programme focused on the developments that will take the GGF forward as the management revisions that took place early in 2022 take effect, and setting a new format for the event by delivering practical solutions for delegates to take away with them, along with vibrant networking throughout the day and into the evening.

Through addresses made by the current President Tony Smith, Managing Director John Agnew and Chief Development Officer Anda Gregory there was optimism that significant management and staff revisions that were made at the turn of the year, are delivering positive outcomes. The atmosphere amongst delegates was upbeat despite the difficulties faced by the market, with the GGF and its Group organisations all well placed to provide tangible services to members.

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A good example is the GGF/FENSA/BFRC PVC-U frame recycling service that began in summer of 2021, and which has recently been supplemented by a similar scheme for aluminium frames. Deglazed PVC-U frames are collected from members’ premises and even from site, free of charge, with volumes now hitting 50 tonnes monthly.

Frequent references were made throughout the day to the Skills Pathway Scheme, the scheme that will deliver the GGF’s comprehensive training programme to an industry that is desperately in need of leadership, as well as pragmatic solutions to the skills shortages that beset the sector. John Mannell, GGF Technical Officer, offered an impassioned overview of the scheme which is now providing significant opportunities and funding for member companies who are training their staff.

 Chris Beedel, now leading the GGF’s lobbying activities as Head of Advocacy & Stakeholder Relations, reported on the complexities of the UK government’s complicated departmentalisation, offering an overview of a task that brings with it extraordinary challenges for Chris and his team.

Dave Mechem, Director of Assessment and Inspection, delivered an update on FENSA, including a report of a record 52.9% failure rate for inspections carried out in August 2022, which followed the imposition of the new Building Regulations at the end of June. Compared with a normal failure rate for the time of year of 25%, the surge was caused largely by breaches of Parts L and F of the Building Regulations, a situation that is expected to improve significantly as the industry adjusts.

Dave also confirmed that the Pulse Testing service that has been trialled by the GGF, will now go live. The test allows the accurate assessment of whether replacement windows proposed for a home will require trickle vents or is exempt, based upon assessment and physical testing of the property. The service is now widely available to all, with significant discounts for GGF and FENSA member companies.

Despite this year’s Members Day being made possible by the relaxation of Covid restrictions, the virus continued to make its mark by preventing the GGF President elect, Natalie Little, from attending. Despite this setback, the football theme was continued with a networking reception at the National Football Museum, which is housed in the iconic Urbis building, a masterpiece in glass designed by architect Ian Simpson.

John Agnew reflected on the Members’ Day: “We passed a milestone this year with the GGF marking forty-five years as a trade federation since its creation in 1977 from the various disparate bodies that had previously represented various aspects of the glass and glazing industries,” said John. “It was important, therefore, that this year’s event presented the GGF as a powerful, unified and progressive organisation that is delivering positive and tangible benefits to its members, and of course for the industry that it represents.”