Green Deal skills

[In his article, “The Green Deal: We’re not getting insulation pre-assessments right” page 31, 20 January], Neil May is right to highlight the knowledge and skills issues around insulation that will become critical to the success of the Green Deal. Without the right training and qualifications framework in place to ensure the construction industry is well equipped to carry out the retrofitting of buildings, we risk damning the scheme from the outset.

It is also imperative that standards and best practice are maintained through the Green Deal Code of Practice to ensure the quality and integrity of the scheme and minimise the potential for shoddy workmanship. Through our Cut the Carbon awareness campaign we are working to ensure SMEs understand the new market and the legislation being put in place, so they can develop the right skills to take full advantage of the Green Deal.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills

Jobs for electricians

I would like to clarify the points attributed to me in “Electrical firms plan to employ fewer skilled workers” (27 January, page 13).

The introduction of the Building and Engineering Services National Agreement (BESNA) will not see a reduction in the number of skilled workers. The article correctly notes that none of the workers who sign BESNA contracts will be downgraded. I should also add that their terms and conditions will remain in place for as long as they stay working for their current employer, or if they transfer employment to the same grade in another BESNA company.

British firms are losing out on work because they cannot effectively integrate installers within their teams. This is a challenge that the sector must tackle, if we are to win more projects and create jobs.

Blane Judd, chief executive of the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association

Island hopping

Regarding your story “Branson posts job advert for Necker Island rebuild” (26 January,, I’m more than interested! Having worked in the Channel Islands on a large contract, I am aware of the difficulty of getting the “right” men for the job. As for organising it, you can have the best team in the world but if you have not got your deliveries in order, you’re on a downhill spiral before you start. It’s an island - everything has to be shipped in and out, you can’t just send a lorry to the merchants to pick up a load of bricks/timber!

Paul Lamrick, via

Advice for Branson

As a resident of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I can advise Branson that:
1. The construction manager needs to have regional experience. Working in the Caribbean, on an island, brings with it special problems of procurement, delivery, quality and standards, which are foreign to the UK construction industry.
2. The position demands at least 25 years
of experience.

Keith Pickavance, via