Local authorities declare support for HVCA membership
The commercial value of independent assessment — Robert Higgs, director of HVCA.
Nearly half of local authorities think it is essential that the contractors they commission to undertake building, construction or maintenance work are members of their relevant trade association. According to research commissioned by the HVCA and carried out by independent market-research organisation BMG Research, only 6% say they do not feel it is important, with 70% believing such membership to be either very important or essential. 203 local authorities were contacted by BMG. One of the questions was whether they would stipulate members of HVCA when assessing the suitability of contractors/installers for HVACR installations. Nearly 80% of local authorities could give estimates for the total value of construction and maintenance contracts they award. The average was £8.4 million, implying a total of £1.7 billion for all 203 local authorities contacted. 88% of local authorities prefer or stipulate that the contractor is a member of HVCA, with 38% actually stipulating that the installer must be a member. Following the association’s introduction in April last year of the third-party independent inspection and assessment of its members, local authorities were invited to comment on this new strict criterion for membership. A massive 76% believed its introduction to be very important or essential (33%). Only 3% said they did not feel it was important. 62% said it had already made them more likely to choose an HVCA member for HVACR contracts now that the association has made this move. HVCA director Robert Higgs believes these ‘approval ratings’ among local authorities will rise even higher as public-sector specifiers become more familiar with the association’s inspection and assessment regime. ‘The conclusion must be that the introduction of independent member inspection and assessment is already improving members’ chances of being selected for local-authority tender lists and so gaining additional work. That, surely, is the acid test.’