Peacehaven Wastewater Treatment Centre, UK. Image: Bridgman & Bridgman
Green Roof Organisation and Lantra Develop UK Technical Award
Green Roof Organisation (GRO) members Bridgman & Bridgman, Bauder, Langley Waterproofing, ICB Projects, Livingroofs.org, BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries), and leading awarding body Lantra have now developed the “Technical Award in The Introduction to Installing and Maintaining Green Roofs“ (UK). This certification recognises the required level of learning and skills for the rapidly growing market in the United Kingdom.
It is estimated that over 1,300 green roof installers currently possess Construction Related Occupation skills cards, which are available to people in the UK working in construction-related occupations not covered by other CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards. These green roof installers will soon require a skills card that reflects their specific trade when the current cards expire this year.
Urgent Need for Skilled Workforce
According to the London Living Roof Report (2017), the market itself is growing at a rate of 17.5% per annum, with some cities going so far as specifying living roofs as part of planning permission. Given this increase, it is therefore paramount that the workforce is competent and adequately trained to meet this demand.
Other occupations and trades traditionally obtain a National Vocation Qualification (NVQ) in their specialist area, but such a qualification is no longer available to green roofers. This qualification was withdrawn due to lack of uptake, primarily because of cost and the 1-2 year-long assessment. However, there is now an urgent need for trained and certificated operatives in the green roofing industry. Until 2018, there has been nothing to fill this training gap.
Within the UK, the green roofing industry urgently requires a certified and a skilled workforce to cope with the demanding market, to raise standards within the profession, and to comply with new requirements of occupational competency from Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and CSCS. To make this attractive to the industry, it needs to be affordable with fewer learning hours than the previous NVQ, but still covering the key areas of successful installations and maintenance.
Technical Award in The Introduction to Installing and Maintaining Green Roofs (UK)
The new certificate has been developed in conjunction with the GRO Code for the UK. GRO is a body is facilitated by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC). The GRO code is the result of unpaid technical cooperation across the UK green roof industry. Due to the manner in which this document was created, it can be considered to be the result of professional expert work.
The Technical Award in The Introduction to Installing and Maintaining Green Roofs (UK) is intended to be recognised as a code of best practice, and as such, should be used to guide behaviour relating to green roof design, specification, installation and maintenance. Green roofing presents a collegiate opportunity for horticulturists and roofers to come together, each sharing their own expertise and knowledge for the benefit of the industry.
Training Needed to Overcome the Skills Shortage
At Bridgman & Bridgman, we are not strangers to the field of training and education. Since setting up business in 2006, we have offered work placements to students from Growing People, a horticulture and construction training scheme; one-day-a-week placements for school students; as well as apprenticeships. Developing the new certification, therefore, felt like a natural progression:
It is up to the industry to offer these opportunities to attract people into these roles in order to overcome the skills shortage.
~ Chris Bridgman
Chris Bridgman is the first person in the UK to be awarded an NVQ Level 3 in the Construction and Maintenance of Green Roofs.
Bridgman & Bridgman LLP is one of the UK’s leading green roof installation companies, installing and maintaining living roofs since 2009. The portfolio includes the UK’s first fully removable green roof, Europe’s largest turf roof and projects in challenging conditions, such as the Outer Hebrides, an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland.