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[ Interview: Steve Bratt ]


more about refurbishment than new installation work. It’s our members that can make the difference in existing buildings. If we are to meet the targets, 2,000 properties, on average, need to be retro-fitted every day between now and 2050. It really will be terrifying, of course, if we don’t have skilled


people able to do the work. This is where our members come in; I hope they take up the opportunity, before new entrants move into the sector. Because a lot of it will be the kind of work that our members can do. With some people there is a perception that it is a sort of


‘brown rice and sandals’ type thing, or very high tech and all about renewables – it isn’t. The point we’re trying to make to members is that they already have sufficient knowledge; that simply by developing a bit further, understanding some of the latest available technology, they can make a big difference. And members should be positioning themselves as solution providers for this marketplace and developing their ability to sell the benefits to customers.


But surely there’s a problem with this, considering the government’s plans to slash spending? Now this takes us to another point, which is a bit of a dichotomy. On one level, government is saying we’ve got to hit all of these targets’, while at another level they’re saying ‘we’re stopping spending’. Therefore, this will create a need to really think about best


value – and it means that our procurement processes, in particular, need to be looked at. Unless we find new ways of procuring work, ways that bring the specialist engineering side of construction into the process earlier and that can give


certainty of payment, we’re never going to reduce the overall costs of these projects, and we’ll never achieve the levels of innovation that are required. These are really key issues. We’ve got to hit these targets but money’s being drawn


back – so it needs a whole new, fresh way of thinking. The whole process of procurement, design and construction needs a rethink, because currently it’s all based around adversarial arrangements. The ECA needs to play its part in this, and we are doing so; we are working through SEC Group, for instance. But it will be a massive effort – one that aims to reduce waste in the whole process to get best value.


Is there a consensus within the industry over this issue? There is a real strong driver and I believe a strong sense of starting to get somewhere. The other thing we realise is that there are a lot of shared


objectives in the carbon reduction area. The government has a legislative requirement to hit the 2050 targets, so it’s in everyone’s interests to focus on doing so. Clients, consumers, contractors, the supply chain, the manufacturers, all really need to come together and start to work effectively. A lot of our recent initiatives, the reinvigoration of the electrical industry forum, for instance, are part of what the ECA is doing to try to facilitate this process. Bringing the industry together to work together effectively for everybody – there is mutual benefit in all of this, for sure. The ECA is in a privileged position, in many senses, that


we have this hub position. It’s important that we try to use it to bring people together to help everyone deal with this issue and take advantage from a contractor’s point of view.


One of the things we need to do is to help clients and consumers to really appreciate the quality that ECA members represent


 





PAUL HURT, P&R HURT 


Running an electrical business is a tough challenge in today’s market. So, in a downturn, when it feels like the world’s against you, we’re fi rmly on your side.


We know that business will pick up. And when it does, like P & R Hurt, you’ll need to have trained people in place to grab the opportunities as they arise.


The most cost-effective solution is to get a JTL Apprentice on board and reap the benefi ts as their skills and experience grow. And now it makes even more sense.


For a limited period JTL is offering a grant of £1000 to the fi rst 1000 businesses who employ a JTL


electrical apprentice.


Can you afford not to train with JTL?  £10001


   2


   Training Offi cer


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1 This grant is available for the fi rst 1,000 applicants aged 16-18 employed in England after 17/05/10 2 Certain restrictions apply


If, like Paul Hurt, you’d like to build a stronger business call 0800 0852308 or visit www.jtltraining.com today.


£1000 Grant 1 when you take on an apprentice


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