The Fencing Contractors Association (FCA) is on a mission to re-engage fully with members and adopt their priorities as its mission guide.
That’s the mandate on which incoming chairman Adam Binns believes he has been elected since taking office for his two-year term at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 February.
The AGM ratified the appointment of Administration Services Ltd (ASL) – who tabled a report at the meeting on its survey of all 150 members – to replace retiring general secretary Wendy Baker as FCA administration.
In advance of the AGM, she said: “After almost 18 years’ service, it will be my pleasure to have the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to the members who I have been extremely proud to represent during my tenure.”
Binns said: “The ASL survey gives us an honest and independent insight on what we’re doing at the moment and on what is valued by members so we can move the association forward and really start to deliver what they say is important to them.
“And we have cut our running costs by a third, so there is more money free to promote the FCA and its Certified Contractors scheme.”
The Binns Fencing MD, now a part of the Zaun Group and his FCA vice-chairman Nick Dybeck, a director of HW Martin, lead a rejuvenated Council, which next met on 21 April to review strategy and plot a plan for the future.
Rob Oliver of ASL said: “What came through loud and clear from the survey is that members are very keen for the FCA to continue to promote the fencing industry as professional and for the association itself to be the badge of quality within it.
“Furthermore, given the size and scale now of the industry, we ought to be able to grow membership from our current figure of 150.”
Oliver said other member priorities included training and its promotion, especially given the national focus on apprenticeships and the fact that the industry now has a trailblazer apprenticeship standard in development.
Members also want better communications, with regular newsletters, emails and briefings; more events and reasons to get together on matters of common interest; and the FCA to be the ‘go-to for guidance and business help with appropriate helplines and experts.
He said ASL is looking at how much each of the helplines is used and will table proposals soon on which to enhance and which to shelve and how best to harness the expertise in the Council and beyond.
Binns concluded: “The bottom line is we have to deliver real value and a reason to belong to members if we are to grow and strengthen our membership and the services we offer.
“And we are open to talking to other associations such as the PSSA and the EFIA to pool resources and strengthen our offering if it gets things working for our industry as a whole.”
The ASL team of Oliver, Robert Osborne and Kim Fitzpatrick have many years experience of working for trade associations, mostly in the construction sector, including the PSSA, which is widely acknowledged as having some overlap with the FCA.
The FCA was established in 1942 to help buy timber and other fencing materials to support the war effort. It has four specialist subgroups: the Association of Safety Fencing Contractors, the Environmental Noise Barrier Association, the Electrical Security Fence Federation and the Gate Automation and Access Barrier Association.