The glue that binds the construction industry is communication. With so many parties involved on a project - even the smallest house extension - any breakdown in the flow of information can lead to delays, frustration and, worst of all, compromises in the quality of the finished work.
Since insulation products are the biggest contributor to high thermal comfort and low energy bills, it makes sense for all parties to have some confidence about the products being used. Homeowners working with an architect or builder, for example, will trust the designer to specify an appropriate solution and the contractor to purchase it.
Most of us know that things don’t always work that smoothly and, perhaps unbeknown to the homeowner, simple product substitutions are commonplace. They might be for reasons of product availability, cost or quality, but as long as the swap is for a like-for-like product it won’t cause any issues.
Not everybody feels comfortable making those simple swaps, however, and if more complicated questions start to be asked then people can quickly feel out of their comfort zone.
Working in the technical department of a product manufacturer, that was what I was happiest doing: giving honest, accurate and practical advice that answered people’s questions. Being seen as an expert brought a level of responsibility, but also a desire to share the same knowledge and ideas.
For that reason, supporting the principle of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) was a natural next step. Educational, unbiased training material I helped to write was routinely delivered to architects and other design professionals, who are required to demonstrate their commitment to a regular and varied programme of learning.
That doesn’t mean the training material was only for architectural professionals. Sales teams out in the field, contractors on site, branch staff of merchants and distributors, and even members of the public could all benefit, especially with a range of formats available.
It is was never the intention to try and make everybody insulation ‘experts’; only to raise knowledge levels and improve confidence - whether in people who deal with insulation every day, or those who encounter it only occasionally.
That way, it is more likely that the right products will get used in the right situations, in the right way, to achieve the best possible results for all involved – particularly the homeowner.