A message from our CEO, Sarah Spink

What a year we’ve all had. Little did we know 12 months ago what lay in store for us in 2020.

Because of this, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of our members for their continued support and commitment throughout one of the toughest periods we’ve had to face in recent years. We are incredibly proud of our members’ work and how many continued to supply and install liquid products for essential works throughout lockdown.

Despite the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has brought us, the construction sector, and roofing in particular, has proved its resilience and progress has been made across a number of areas. This, alongside some key initiatives the LRWA has been working on has seen a busy a productive year, despite what we have faced.

The construction sector has made headway with some new initiatives in particular. In June 2020 for example, the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Covid-19 Task Force published its ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ and the Government announced the outcome of the 2020/2021 Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) applications, as well as the launch of the Construction Talent Retention Scheme in July.

The LRWA hasn’t stopped, either. We launched a new Design Guide for Specifiers, continued regular meetings with our technical committee, insulation and hot melt subcommittees, plus hosted webinars providing expert insights from organisations like the BBA. We’ve discussed updates on Approved Document B, R&D tax credits and UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking; a new UK product marking which will apply to most products that previously required the CE marking.

We’ve worked more collaboratively with other associations such as SPRA on the review of the ‘ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings’, provided joint responses to the BS 8579 discussions and been involved in a number of the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) roundtable meetings.

Unfortunately, our beloved LRWA Awards & Gala event and Dragon Boat Regatta both had to be postponed because of the pandemic. However, in an aim to keep our spirits high and work together as a sector, we introduced an innovative Virtual Dragon Team Challenge event. We were blown away by the determination and team effort of our members, which saw us raise more than £3,000 for our chosen charity, Mates in Mind.

Looking ahead to 2021, there are still many unanswered questions regarding Brexit, specifically in relation to Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), CE & UKCA marking after the end of the transition period.  There is also the potential for raw material shortages, higher testing costs and price fluctuations which could all have a huge impact on the roofing and waterproofing industry.

As the last 12 months have proven, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict what may happen to our sector. So, it’s more important than ever for us to work together within the community of our association, to support one another and have access to the high-level information required to stay ahead of the game. Trade associations like the LRWA have a vital role to play in ensuring its members are prepared, and that you have a collective voice to help deliver positive change and best practice. 

I wish you all the very best for 2021, and thank you again for your continued support and hard work in what has been a challenging time for us all.

Sarah Spink, CEO of the LRWA.