We are not seeking to duplicate what is already out there, just to strengthen the quality of service and competency available to the consumer and also to improve the route to finding these contractors or specialists. A number of the trade association member requirements come close to the Quality Mark criteria but there isn’t any one that meets all of the criteria in total.
One of the major problems faced by the consumer is that there are around 140 trade associations, all with different logos, and all with different levels of quality recognition, with the consumer somewhat confused by which one to choose. Our Quality Mark seeks to provide a common, consistent level of standard and branding and to act almost as an umbrella to all the different associations in existence. The scheme has been running for nine months now in pilot areas and we have been using this time to refine and improve it.
There is quite clearly a lot to be learnt here and put into place. We are talking about a considerable number of organisations involved, and asset register valuations services have to balance industry needs with consumer needs. The application process is now very straight forward – there are only six tick-box type questions.
Then assessment takes place primarily onsite, which enables the sole trader/one-man-band to easily demonstrate his competency in the workplace. We are not looking to fail small businesses, but to support them and encourage raised standards. We are now past the point of looking at the detail of the scheme. We have had no criticism or negative feedback on any of the criteria. It works, and industry is happy with the standards we have set. We are now looking to build on all of this to get contractors and clients who have expressed an interest on board and up and running.