The need for transparency is clear
February 23, 2019
Peter Keeley, General Manager of Industrial Services Group in Bradford, is proud to head up a company that stands by its promises.
Like many people in the industry, Peter is becoming increasingly frustrated with companies that win contracts by quoting for one thing, and then ultimately deliver something different.
Occasionally, we have missed out on contracts that I know ISG was best placed to supply and fit. It makes me angry on behalf of the client if I can then see a difference between the specification and what has been installed; where the chosen supplier has cut corners.
Does that make me seem like a stereotypical, grumpy Yorkshireman?
I don’t mind, to be honest.
It seems there are more and more instances occurring where product is not what it should be against the specification; companies promise branded hardware and deliver cheaper alternatives, or maybe even use toughened glass for ground floor windows when they should use laminated – potentially causing problems for occupiers.
VEKA Group Sales Director Neil Evans highlighted an astonishing case last summer where a regional house-builder – whose windows had expanded in the heat – advised homeowners to “avoid the use of any door or window that is in direct sunlight unless absolutely necessary”. Like Neil, we were disappointed that the build appeared to have focussed on lowest price, rather than quality, and we continue to advocate paying slightly more for the right product, not engaging in a ‘race to the bottom’ on price.
A local new build scheme hit the headlines recently due to a spate of break-ins, resulting from poor cylinders that are easy to snap.
I’ve also been on a site where the French Doors of a brand new home were hard to operate. The sashes were visibly bowed and possibly not reinforced. We had to quote full ‘Secured by Design’ specification and lost that job, but it’s possible the installed product is not to the same specification.
The recent Government investigation on composite fire doors also seems to have suggested that some fire doors were not within the scope of the tests carried out allowing them to be supplied.
Homeowners and housing providers don’t always get the quality or security they deserve, because the focus for many builders and contractors is on keeping costs down and margins up.
ISG has completed several commercial jobs recently, which were replacements or repairs of fairly new installations because they weren’t the right product or were fitted incorrectly.
But how can a customer ever be sure they’re choosing the right supplier?
For homeowners, there are organisations like Independent Network to recommend trusted, thoroughly vetted installers and safeguard the investment with insurance-backed guarantees and so on.
For commercial and local authority clients, I would encourage the client to ask questions, to really examine if the details of the spec sheet are being adhered to and ensure that the contractor they ultimately choose can answer every requirement on the brief. The right supplier will take the time to answer fully and honestly, and ultimately, the right supplier may not be the cheapest.
As a proud Halo System 10 fabricator, ISG knows that not all windows and doors are the same. PVC-U systems from VEKA Group ensure that we can fabricate the highest quality frames and we use only quality hardware from authorised suppliers named within the fabrication manual. This means we can vouch for every aspect of our finished systems. We work on a ‘best value’ basis which means we provide the best possible service, and product, made to the required standard, priced as competitively as possible. But we will not cut corners.
Over the years, ISG’s refusal to compromise on quality has resulted in an enviable reputation and regular repeat business. I can only hope that if we continue to operate in this honest and transparent fashion, and others do too, eventually industry standards will begin to rise across the board and clients can be more confident in demanding (and checking for) the quality and security they deserve.
As well as providing quality and service to customers, ISG also provides training and employment opportunities for people that have previously experienced insurmountable barriers to work. As a social enterprise (owned by Bradford Council), the ISG factory is an official supportive working environment for people who may otherwise find it difficult to enter employment.
We believe all disabled people should have the opportunity for employment, regardless of the complexity of their needs. As part of the Supported Business Alliance, ISG is recognised as a company that provides excellent options for disabled people to achieve that objective. Every penny of profit we make is reinvested into the company for the benefit of staff, present and future.
Although ISG is owned by the Council, it is not a charity. We must remain commercially viable to continue.
Perhaps that’s partly why I’m so keen to ‘level the playing field’ when it comes to quoting and delivering a quality job?
If we don’t win the contracts, and instead lose out to others prepared to cut corners, our doors might eventually have to close and these valuable equal employment opportunities would be lost.
But more to the point – it’s the Yorkshireman in me that can’t bear to see so much money being wasted on paying for a job to be done twice, when it should’ve been done correctly in the first place!