Over the last few weeks, the Property Care Association and myself have again been the subject of a number of threats and allegations made by certain individuals on social media. This brief open letter is a matter of record and a means of helping to bring some balance to what until now has been a very one-sided discourse.
A little bit of background…
The Association, now in its 90th year, was established to bring self-regulation to an emerging industry. The use of preservatives was growing and even back in the day, responsible formulators and users wanted to share knowledge to establish best practice and keep people and their properties safe. 90 years on and the basic reasons for the PCAs existence remain largely the same.
The PCA now represents specialists in everything from structural underground waterproofing and ground gas protection to flood recovery and the control of Japanese knotweed. Issues surrounding the diagnosis and management of dampness and timber protection remain at the core of the organisation. With my own humble beginnings as an 18 year old technician in the preservation industry, they remain very much the focus for me.
How the Association is financed
The Association derives its income in two ways. Subscriptions are paid annually by member companies. Those that come into membership are assessed and audited. In addition, they sign up to a ‘Code of Conduct and Ethics’ with the requirement to submit to biannual audits. They are assessed on technical competence, compliance with health and safety rules, together with the necessary site skills and the ability to deliver the highest standards of service. No others, including our critics, voluntarily open themselves to such scrutiny by their peers.
Our other source of income is from training and certification. Contrary to some misinformed allegations, we do not and never have claimed to make surveyor in three days. We do however, train surveyors to understand dampness in more detail and one or two of the courses we run lasts for three days.
Our commitment to improved standards
We also deliver a great many other training events related to a wide range of specialist occupations relevant to the PCA. It is also pleasing to say we are highly regarded for the training we provide. Those who criticise do so in ignorance! Despite our many offers to admit them without charge, these critics have never attended our training.
Further evidence of our commitment to future skills is our investment in a practical training centre, the creation of apprenticeship programmes and our role as an administrator of a National Vocation Qualification.
Our surveyor qualifications are overseen and ultimately conferred by the Awarding Body for Building Education (ABBE). Our building preservation exams consist of three written papers, each two and a half hours long. These are complemented by two professional interviews and a practical examination. As suggested by a particular critic, they are not awarded as the result of a multiple choice tests or given away at the end of the course.
Supporting consumers & the industry
The Property Care Association does not conduct surveys on people’s homes. Our members do and have also been delivering reliable solutions to damp problems in buildings for almost 100 years.
The PCA does have a resolution service if disputes occur, and when things go wrong (as they will from time to time), we work with clients and members to ensure matters are put right. If PCA members are not able to meet the rules of the Association they are expelled!
As a professional Trade Association serving the specialist construction sector, we believe that our openness and willingness to listen and engage, is to a large part, the reason for our success and growth. These attributes result in us being highly visible and make the Association, and myself as the current CEO, a very easy target for trolls and those who wish to derive pleasure and financial advantage from attacking us.
We are an open book!
Everything the Property Care Association does, creates, says or produces is in the public domain. Minutes of meetings, guidance notes, codes of practice and training resources are all shared. This is the result of a conscious decision to create and promote best practice through engagement. This has opened us up to scrutiny and criticism both of which I welcome when they are given honestly and in good faith.
The result of our open-door policy has enabled us to see the influence, reach and credibility of the organisation grow. This has culminated in our investment in, and support of, a number of our own research projects and the employment of a materials research scientist…something I am personally very proud of!
What other construction trade bodies can say they use members cash to support scientific research in this way?!? Who else has published and contributed new knowledge in international scientific journals off the backs of its members?!? The PCA can and have.
The personal attacks on me
Attacks on myself, when made by a person who I have never spoken to let alone met, are an irritation…but are also an inspiration! Every time a criticism is published, or an allegation is made, I always check my facts, dig a little deeper and assure myself that what the Property Care Association is doing is right! This process simply reinforces the absurdity of some of the posts/messages placed in the public domain by individuals that know little, understand less and from what I can see from the outside, have achieved almost nothing.
Transparency & engagement: foundations of our success
We welcome engagement from everyone and anyone who wants to work with the Association to improve outcomes for homes, buildings, and the people who occupy them. We have proven over 90 years that the PCA are effective industry leaders and a force for good.
I am pleased to say we have been, and continue to be, very successful and our members rightly benefit from that success through Association. This has been achieved through collaborative initiatives, delivering excellent service and working hard to maintain the values of the PCA. This will continue as long as I am at the helm of the Association.
For my part, I am a messenger, an organiser and an advocate through which the needs of clients, building professionals, PCA members and professional bodies can pass. My motivation is to ensure access to the best possible outcomes to people who need the skills and services of professionals, and ensure my members are recognised as the best possible providers of those highly skilled services.
Those that attempt to build a reputation by attacking others without offering anything of their own, are deceitful at the very least. When this behaviour becomes obsessive and is undertaken to promote their own commercial interests and to satisfy their need for constant attention, one wonders if professional help might be needed!
Every person in every home in the country, regardless of location, architectural significance, heritage value, levels of monthly income, or personal circumstance; deserves to live in a dry, comfortable building free of rot, mould and damp. The Property Care Association will continue to work with members to deliver this service safely, affordably and sensitively with regard to the needs and wishes of the people who live in the buildings, as well as to the property they call home.
Other recent news or related info
- Proud to be part of the PCA
- Adapting how we communicate throughout COVID-19
- Tips for Surveying Cavity Walls
- Video Diagnostics During Lockdown
- COVID-19: Uncertain times for now
- Floods: Damaging to life, property – and the environment
- Code of Practice for Property Flood Resilience
- Japanese knotweed management – The challenge
- An Introduction to ‘Paula’s Papers’
- Launch of New Methodology for Traditional Buildings
- Hodgson View: Damp in Traditional Buildings
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