NIA Annual Conference 2018 Review

Held at the Jurys Inn, Hinckley Island Hotel the Annual Conference of the National Insulation Association (NIA) convened on 6th December 2018. The key themes of the conference focused on the industry adapting for the future.

Derek Horrocks, Chairman of Sustainable Energy UK and Permarock Products opened the conference with an in-depth address to members, kicking off by thanking all the sponsors and exhibitors for their support for the event and a breakdown of the agenda for the day. This was followed by a review of 2018, the work carried out by the Association to support its members and key achievements to date. He ended the opening address highlighting the big challenges affecting the insulation industry following events such as the tragedy at Grenfell and the collapse of Carillion and how as an industry by working together “We are stronger”.

The tone for the day was set through commitments to industry-wide collaboration to gain best outcomes, greater engagement of members, supporting members and Government by growing the market, tackling climate change and fuel poverty through insulation.  Priority work streams for the Association included collaborating on key policy developments, helping its members’ access business opportunities, improving quality & standards and confidence in the industry.

Following on from Chairman’s opening address was a trio of presentations from spokespeople from BEIS, Scottish and Welsh Governments. BEIS updated the room to the newly launched ECO3. The speaker from the Welsh Government explained the changes it had made under its legislative framework and its investment of £104m between now and 2021 to improve energy efficiency in the most thermally inefficient homes in Wales.  

The next two speakers presented under the heading, quality and standards. Claire Curtiss-Thomas

CEO of the British Board of Agrément (BBA) gave an empowering speech about how the industry can help implement recommendations from the recent Hackitt Review and spoke about a new era of collaboration between the BBA and NIA with a goal to work towards simplified assessment regimes.

The last presentation of the morning session was provided by Simon Ayers Chief Executive of TrustMark spoke about recent changes at TrustMark driven by the need to enhance the protection and choice available to consumers who are having work carried out in or around their homes. Simon

went on to explain how improvements to the products and services available to consumers will bring about a more positive perception of the industry and increased consumer confidence; leading to an inevitable escalation of business growth across all sectors.

After lunch it was the turn of Alan Budden, Managing Director, Architect & Certified European Passive House Designer, to take to the stage, he started Eco Design Consultants in 2008 to combine the design of sustainable architecture with environmental consultancy, with the objective to produce truly sustainable architecture for others to enjoy.

Alan Spoke about the importance of Passivhaus to all the attendees, highlighting the growing marketing potential and opportunities for those involved. His talk covered the information Passivhaus designers and certifiers require from the insulation provider, and the questions that informed clients are starting to ask about, such as embodied carbon. An interesting insight into the requirements of deep green customers.

The final session and brand new for this year, delegates were then given the choice of three breakout sessions. This allowed the attendees to be divided into smaller groups to hear about and discuss major topics within the industry including; the growing claims culture; increasing uptake of professionally installed insulation in new build and the opportunities to gain competitive advantage via adoption of the Quality Mark.

Summing up Derek Horrocks explained that the aims of the day were to provide delegates with details of future opportunities and key information on items that would impact the industry in 2019. He also urged NIA members to engage with the NIA team to bring about future changes that would benefit householders, Government and the industry. He also thanked the exhibitors and the sponsors for their support in helping fund a successful event.

For more information contact Duncan Murray at the NIA press office on 01604588111 or email Duncan@provencepr.co.uk

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