The NASC has never been in a stronger position, says new NASC president Alan Lilley. But to build on this success and take the confederation forward more membership involvement is required and more SMEs must be encouraged to join

It is with a sense of pride that I take on the role of President of the Confederation for the next two years.

At the time of writing the NASC is celebrating its 70th birthday having officially formed back in 1945. Over this long period of time there have been many changes, none more so than in the last decade with the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and EN12811, the European standard specifying performance requirements and methods of structural design for access and working scaffolds.

Both pieces of legislation required a response from the scaffolding industry and it was the NASC that took on the responsibility and the cost implications with the publications of TG20 The Guide to Good Practice for Tube and Fittings, and SG4 Preventing Falls in Scaffolding back in 2005, both proving to be a great success.

I am pleased to report that the Confederation has never been in a stronger position than it is at this time. The membership is at an all time high and with the past success of our publications we are able to undertake new guidance whilst at the same time reviewing existing guidance on a five year cycle.

I now believe the NASC to be the premier trade association within the construction industry. This has been brought about by the collective efforts of Robin James and his staff based in London and in particular the past Presidents I have worked with: Kevin Ward, Rob Lynch, Gerry Cooper and Bob Whincap who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the interests of the members and the scaffolding industry at large were always taken into account when making strategic decisions.

I would like to thank the chair persons and members of the standing committees who give a considerable amount of their time free to ensuring that the various guidance published by the NASC is kept up to date and relevant to changing legislation and current best practice.

Training has always been an important part of the confederation’s work particularly over the past few years as the country has come out of recession. A challenge was set by Kevin Ward two years ago for the industry to train 400 new apprentices by the end of 2015. I am pleased to report that this target has been met and indeed exceeded and I would like to congratulate the scaffolding industry and all who were involved on an excellent achievement.

The Teenage Cancer Trust will benefit from reaching this target and Kevin will present a cheque for the funds raised in conjunction with the training at the NASC Annual Ball in Leeds on Friday 27 November 2015.

The work carried out by the NASC is not only for the benefit of its members but for the scaffolding and access industry at large. This has been shown to be the case with the industry embracing TG20:13 and SG4:10 and indeed the success of all our publications. A raft of revised guidance has been published over the past 12 months and will culminate with the publication of SG4:15 which will be launched at the 2015 annual general meeting.

My other role within the confederation is as chairman of the Audit committee – a post I have held for the past four years. I make no apologies for the strict criteria and code of conduct by which applicants are judged and against which members are audited. It is this strict audit procedure which gives our clients confidence when requesting that they will only consider NASC members for tenders and awarding contracts.

Over the past two years we have seen a marked increase in the quality of applications leading to a greater conversion to membership. It has been said by many that the NASC is a closed shop. This could not be further from the truth. We are open to all bone fide companies where access and scaffolding constitutes a significant part of their business that are able to meet our criteria. My aim during my presidency is to significantly increase the membership by the end of my term in 2017 by raising the profile of the Confederation. I believe there are many small and some medium sized scaffolding companies who have aspirations to join and I would urge them to contact the Confederation who will offer advice in completing their application to ensure it will have the best possible chance to succeed at the desk top audit stage.

In September this year the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) merged with the National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC) to form Build UK. This was done to provide a collective voice for the contracting supply chain. Its membership is comprised of 23 of the industry’s largest contractors and 40 leading trade associations, including the NASC. This will enable our confederation to have an influence and voice within the largest body that represents the construction industry. Finally I would ask that members consider becoming more involved within the Confederation by putting themselves forward for consideration for membership of committees, and for chair and vice chair positions of the regions.

Your involvement is crucial in taking the NASC forward and to increase its profile to the wider construction and related industries. Remember our strength is our membership.

Alan Lilley
NASC President