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Lead Contractors Association Guarantee

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When is a Guarantee not a Guarantee?

One of the attributes that distinguishes a member of the Lead Contractors Association from other roofing contractors is the type of Guarantee they offer their clients for the installation.

Although LCA members were the first in the roofing industry to offer a guarantee period as long as 25 years, the offering of a guarantee itself is perhaps at face value not unusual. But apart from the exceptional extended period of cover, the LCA members' Guarantee Scheme is quite unusual in providing long term peace of mind for property owners by containing two clear and critically distinctive features.

Of course most roofing contractors readily offer a guarantee of their materials and workmanship, normally twelve months, to assure the customer that they stand by their work.

However, because lead sheet is a wonderful roofing material - soft and malleable and relatively easy to work into shape, particularly if the thinner codes are used – it is therefore relatively easy for a roofing contractor to appear competent when working with lead.

But more lead fails through bad design than bad workmanship, so how does a client know if panels are the right size, laps the correct length, drips the correct height. clips and nails properly spaced and fixed, even that the correct thickness code has been used?

Worse still - even if badly designed and installed, lead sheet will often last two or three years and sometimes longer, before showing signs of fatigue or failure, by which time of course the contractors that happily gave their twelve month guarantee have been paid in full and have no interest in putting right bad design or workmanship.

So the first critical distinguishing feature of the LCA scheme is that every project put forward for registration has first to undergo an on-site inspection by an experienced vetting officer to ensure that it conforms to the current Code of Practice, BS 6915 and a confirming written report is ultimately filed with the application papers.

Any defect noted must be corrected before the project is registered and the Guarantee Certificate issued to the client.

Do other contractors have their "guaranteed" work checked?

The second critical distinguishing feature is the performance of the guarantee.

Individual contractors can only offer a guarantee that lasts as long as the company itself - what price is a guarantee from a Contractor that is no longer trading?

However LCA contractors are actually taking full advantage of their membership in being able to offer what is effectively a collective guarantee, based upon the strength of the Lead Contractors Association.

This means that if twenty four years and eleven months after the guarantee was taken out there is a problem with the installation, the client can contact the LCA and the original contractor will be notified to return to site.

If the original contractor is no longer trading, or is unwilling or otherwise unable to return to site, under the terms of the guarantee. the LCA will nominate another member contractor to return to site and investigate the problem.

If it is identified that the fault comes under the terms of the guarantee. remedial work will be carried out without further cost to the client.

The LCA Member's Guarantee Scheme - A Guarantee that means exactly that!
Which means 25 years peace of mind for your client.

Making the Grade... Technical standards for members.

Technical standards among the members of the Lead Contractors association are monitored by way of the compulsory annual vetting programme. This process is also used to assess applicants wishing to join the LCA.

Contractors are required to provide details of three sites in which they have been responsible for the supply and installation of the lead. Being responsible for the supply of the material therefore excludes sub-contractors that operate on a labour only basis from becoming members of the LCA.

A nominated vetting officer, normally a member of the Council, will visit site and carry out a roof-top hands on inspection that will often involve lifting the sheet to check sizing and fixing details. On completion of the vet the vetting officer will file a written report together with a recommendation to the Chairman of the Vetting Committee, based upon his assessment of the standard of design and workmanship viewed.

The Vetting Grades are:

s (Satisfactory)
A level of skill and knowledge has been demonstrated to an acceptable level, but a further vetting will be required the following year.

g (Good)
Not only was the work to an acceptable standard, but a degree of additional care and attention to detail was demonstrated, which exceeded the minimum requirements. Anyone receiving a "Good" grade will not need to be vetted again for two years.

e (Excellent)
A comprehensive knowledge of leadwork was demonstrated. together with an application skill in a complex or demanding technical situation that maximised the integrity and durability of the material. Any contractor that achieves an "Excellent" grade will not require further vetting for three years.

There is also an (F) Fail grade, whereby work inspected does not meet the minimum standards set.
New applications that fail a vet will not be accepted as members and existing members that fail a vet are given one opportunity only to correct the faults identified at their own expense, otherwise membership is automatically withdrawn.

There is no escape from the vetting assessment process, it is compulsory for all LCA Members and those aspiring to join the Association. Members unwilling or unable to provide leadwork for inspection risk having their membership withdrawn. It is therefore essential to always refer to the list of members which is provided in the current Directory or that appears on the LCA website http://www.lca.gb.com