At the 26th annual FETA lunch, held on 14 April at the Brewery in London, chairman Graham Wright (pictured) updated more than 600 attendees on the association’s activities.
In particular, he expressed concern about the Government’s move to reduce renewables incentives.
He said: “When the new Government was elected last year and decided to stop any further changes to building regulations (Part L), we were somewhat dismayed, but not totally surprised.”
“What has concerned us more, though, is the Government’s move to reduce incentives in certain areas dealing with renewables. Technologies such as heat pumps will continue to need Government support through incentive schemes to enable the market to reach a state of maturity to become self-sustaining. We are currently at a high risk of stalling any growth that has been achieved in this sector and the alarm bells are ringing in many areas.”
He continued: “Our vision for future development of the Federation is taking shape, and one of our focal points is training. Initiatives such as the Trail Blazer apprenticeship schemes and in-work training initiatives such as the BCIA controls training programme, are good examples of how FETA members have seen a need and acted to solve a problem.”
He said that FETA has also been active in promoting the industry to young people. “We have also been active in promoting our industry to young people by supporting the Big Bang Science Fair. These activities are key to our industry’s success and will remain high on our agenda.”
Another issue it has become involved in is the need to address the use of retentions, which is part of the “toxic payment practices which blight the construction industry.” He said: “Both ADCAS and BCIA are closely engaged on this and FETA has played a full part in the ongoing Government consultation. Ministers have acknowledged the problem; recognising that frankly there is nothing new to be said – we urge them not to fudge this issue with some sort of voluntary code but to devise a clear legislative solution.”
Mr Wright said: “FETA members are already working with Government to influence this process, but further work is needed to make the installation of heat pumps a lot less arduous for the specialists who carry out the work, and for home owners keen to make use of renewable energy sources.”
“With the impending EU referendum, there have been varying views on how this may affect our industry given the fact that – whatever the result - the majority of regulation comes from the EU.”
He went on to say: “FETA is very active in a wide range of ISO, CEN and BSI committees, influencing and setting standards, and we fully expect this activity to continue without change. Whatever the future may hold, European regulations will remain a dominant factor which will have both technical and commercial consequences for manufacturers and you may rest assured that FETA will continue to interact with European organisations at all levels to further the interests of all of its members.”
Giles Brandreth was the event’s afternoon speaker.