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The Chancellor’s 2013 Budget has earned mixed reviews on a general scale. Here, Andrew Reid Commercial Sales Director at Profile 22 suggests the key points at a glance do highlight how housing remains a key political priority for the coalition, and one fabricators and installers can benefit from.

It was good to see housing investment featuring strongly in George Osborne’s 2013 Budget, as part of a vision to create an ‘aspiration nation’ by committing billions of pounds to infrastructure projects and housebuilding.

Whilst the 2013 Budget seemed to dismiss the chance of the UK falling into a triple dip recession, it clearly highlighted that the challenging economic climate is to become the economy. Austerity is going to be the norm in the public sector for years to come.

So where does this leave commercially minded fabricators and installers? Actually, things are probably clear for suppliers and particularly the window industry than recent events and Government policy might suggest.

We know that there will also be a need for social housing (one only has to look at the housing waiting lists to be sure which stand at 1.9 million), but perhaps more encouragingly for the industry, many local authorities are increasingly independent of government funding.

Across the UK, social housing providers still have their own requirements for social housing, maintenance and replacement programmes, and these for the most part are taking precedence over Government schemes.

And so, for those looking for the opportunities, the key to success will be thinking about new ways of sourcing, working and delivering services.

This needs to include addressing the long term financial liabilities Government faces, bringing about a significant boost to public sector productivity and the greater involvement of private and third sector organisations in the delivery of public services.

Approved Commercial Manufacturers Scheme

The Commercial Manufacturer Scheme from Profile 22 was set up in 2009 to help achieve these objectives, by giving resource-stretched specifiers instant access to an accredited network of specialist Approved Window Contractors and installers.

It has since been developed to support specifiers in making the best choices quickly and efficiently, whether that’s in identifying the best products or the contract partners to deliver them.

Developed to support the commercial sector in eliminating the element of risk in contract awards outside the OJEU* process, all approved manufacturers qualifying for the scheme have to meet a strict performance criteria.

All specialists in their fields, these qualifying manufacturers can offer an extensive range of services from door and window supply and installation through to curtain walling. The scheme also gives specifiers direct access to national and regional suppliers, allowing them to deliver projects locally where required.

To speed up the tender process, contractual and tender information can be uploaded by Profile 22 via its online portal, where Approved Commercial Manufacturers can login and download documents and price projects accordingly.

The Portal recently (March 2013) received an upgrade to enable scheme members to access not only tender documents, but also market intelligence on social housing, education and house building sectors and also contractual templates to assist them in operating successfully in the commercial sector.

Specifiers can request for a list of Approved Commercial Manufacturers via www.profile22.co.uk or telephone 01952 290910. When an enquiry is received, network directories are sent which display the companies’ accreditations, enabling specifiers to select companies for their tender lists against their project requirements, with the backing of Profile 22, as the leading profile manufacturer.

Networking

The Approved Commercial Manufacturer Scheme from Profile 22 eliminates the guesswork. It gives specifiers access to a network of experienced and accredited manufacturers, with the product and project expertise to deliver contracts to specification.

To qualify for the scheme all approved manufacturers must have Construction line or Exor status, while they must also hold or be in the process of qualifying for, quality accreditations BS EN ISO9001, BS EN 7412, 7950, and ISO 14001.

In addition to a long list of accreditations, they must also have health and safety systems in place and commit to sustainable manufacture, including a commitment to recycle not only post-industrial but also end of life post-consumer waste, as part of a site waste management service.

Profile 22 approved commercial manufacturers and installers must also attend a commercial awareness training programme to improve their understanding of contract management, law, effective estimating, understanding the duties of the designer, CDM regulations and legislation. They will also hold a certificate confirming their status as an Approved Commercial Manufacturer.

Sustainability

Of course, no scheme today aimed at the commercial sector would be complete without due attention to sustainability. To this end, Profile 22 is the established leader in the supply of advanced, low maintenance and energy efficient window systems such as RECO22 the only PVC-U window system to have a BRE A+ rating for domestic properties.

To summarise, we’re offering a support service that can cut out a lot of the groundwork needed for successful project delivery because we’ve already done it, or can use our dedicated in-house expertise to help deliver it.

This way, the industry can work together to look to the Government’s aims as set out in the challenging Budget of 2013, to provide necessary social housing requirements for local authorities across the UK. Essentially we believe the opportunity is clear, but realising that opportunity requires the right planning, the right support and the right product portfolio but also effective engagement with the sector to succeed.

For more information on the Approved Commercial Manufacturer Scheme from Profile 22 visit www.profile22.co.uk or call 01952 290910.

* OJEU stands for the Official Journal of the European Community (OJEC is now recognised as OJEU – the Official Journal of the European Union). This is the publication in which all tenders from the public sector which are valued above a certain financial threshold according to EU legislation, must be published.