Whenever you employ a contractor to take on part of a building or development project, you want to be sure you are getting the services of a qualified professional who will deliver safe, high quality work.
Professional standards and accreditations exist to provide this peace of mind to the customer. In effect, they serve as a reference, indicating whether a tradesman works to or understands the recognised industry standards for appropriate techniques, workplace practices and use of materials.
However, it is not always clear what the accreditations actually mean. A contractor may list a series of letters and numbers on their website, but what does that tell you about their skills and suitability to take on your project?
Working with elevated structures and safety critical materials like glass, Glass and Stainless understands that our customers don’t want jargon – they want to know that we can do the job safely and well. So here is a quick guide to professional accreditations in the building trade, to help you make the right choices.
Health and Safety
The first thing to look for when seeking a contractor for any installation project is formal professional health and safety accreditation. Installing staircases, balconies and attic dormers all involve working from height, and there are very clear codes of practice to follow. Equally, poor quality workmanship on these structures can pose a significant risk of danger.
The Contractors’ Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) is a well regarded scheme aimed at streamlining the process of checking health and safety compliance for contractors and buyers alike. The CHAS has created a standard assessment of contractors’ health and safety policies, organisational set up and statutory compliance. It is recognised by more than 500 public and private sector buyers, and so provides a trusted yardstick for evaluating health and safety credentials.
Similarly, the ACCLAIM accreditation scheme is run as part of Constructionline, a membership service for building contractors and subcontractors. Constructionline provides members a portal to view and bid for contracts. Accreditation is part of the guarantee offered to buyers regarding the quality of all members.
ISO and BS
Between them, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and British Standards (BS) hand out hundreds and hundreds of accreditations relevant to every type of industry. As each accreditation is listed as a number, it is virtually impossible to fathom out what they mean without insider knowledge.
For example, would you know that BS EN 11600 is the standard for jointing procedures and the correct use of sealants? Or that, as installers of elevated structures, we need to be compliant with BS EN 1991-1-1:2002, which sets out standards on loads and stress?
A key standard we are proud to be compliant with is ISO 9001, the most widely recognised quality management system in the world. Quality management does not just involve paying attention to our own processes (such as sticking to the BS codes), but also to our suppliers too.
We ensure that all of the materials and fixtures we use have been inspected according to the stringent quality control procedures of ISO 9001, guaranteeing our customers the best possible product quality.