John Couzens Roofing

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by John Couzens Roofing's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from John Couzens Roofing is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.leadwelding.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | GENERAL SURVEY
the client, as the client needs reports
and feedback. The teams need clear
objectives and to know the safety and
quality requirements, with minimalism
being a key resource parameter.
Effectiveness is simply measured: did the
client receive the service to the standard
required when they needed it? Did we
make a profit sufficient to reinvest in the
process? Did the crew work a normal
and safe shift? In terms of this last
question, our answer is clear: we have
a zero-accident record and our cost of
quality and warranties across all works,
including emergencies, is less than 1 per
cent. In the last eight years, 99.9 per
cent of all projects have been delivered
on time and on budget without extras.
All contracts, moreover, are fixed cost.
Our normalisation process is to continue
delivering these levels of safety, quality
and cost control. We have targeted
programmes for product management,
staff selection and development.
Retention of staff is a key policy objective,
and precise recruitment and development
of staff will help us in this regard.
There are clearly players out there who
don’t have a similar approach. Our aim
is to keep on standing out as different
– more specifically, to distinguish
ourselves as the best-cost solution
in the UK marketplace for industrial
roofing refurbishment and repairs. To
do that, we know we have to refine
and improve our operational efficiency
– a challenge we gladly embrace.
Confidence in the company’s
and the country’s future
Moving forward, we’re confident that
Brexit won’t affect us much. Ultimately,
if the pound stays low, none of the
European countries can compete with
the UK in terms of design, labour and
business costs, employment flexibility,
and logistics. Robots and automation
will replace low-cost labour and
improveefficiencies.
The family business has more
opportunities than ever. Our internet
logistics have developed 100 per cent
further and faster than France and
Germany, with 20 per cent penetration
levels. The pressure on the high-street
retailer was already unavoidable,
thus a concerted effort to remodel
town centres into friendlier no-
traffic zones with café terracing and
increased residency levels will make
more and more of Britain attractive
to young professionals, stay-at-home
holidaymakers and tourists alike. For
our part, we will continue to provide
our quality services.
Effectiveness
issimply
measured:
didthe client
receive the
service to the
standard
required when
they needed
it?
Ridge replacement at 24
metres
27JOHN COUZENS ROOFING |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Proprietor John Couzens
Lead-covered lovers’ bench
John Couzens Roofing is a family-run contractor, founded
by John Couzens in 1982. It offers tailored solutions to its
clients and applies traditional materials and techniques to
a range of different specifications. It received a government
Quality Mark in 2002 and remains one of the few organisations
in its sector to have received a recommendation from
Which?
.
Proprietor John explains that the company prides itself on being
the contractor that clients come to when they want a project
done that others have failed to complete.
I began working for a local Thanet roofing company at just 12 years old but by the
time I was 20, I had decided that I didn’t want to continue to associate myself with
such poor standards of workmanship. In response, I founded John Couzens Roofing
Contractors. My initial goal was to ensure that I would always strive to work to the
highest standard and provide my customers with value for money. In my first few
years of trading, I spent my evenings attending night school to gain lead welding
skills and honing my technique by manufacturing lead weathering slates for the
local builders’ merchants.
The first few years of trading were slow. We were a new roofing company and
had to compete with countless others, while often offering quotes to customers
that were simply looking for the cheapest quote and not the best quality. I had
confidence in my long-term plan, however, since Thanet is home to approximately
2,500 listed buildings, making it the largest concentration of listed structures in
southeast England.
FACTS ABOUT
JOHN COUZENS ROOFING
»Proprietor: JohnCouzens
»Founded in 1982
»Based in Broadstairs, Kent
»Services: Roofing and
conservation
»No. of employees: 8
»We have been featured on
ITV’s
Judge Rinder
as an
expert witness during an
investigation into malpractice
John Couzens
Roofing
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | JOHN COUZENS ROOFING
To build our reputation, we started
taking on specialised leadwork for
other roofing and building companies
and the local council. This involved
taking on large refurbishment
works to Grade I and Grade II listed
buildings, while also repairing and
replacing roofs for private clients.
These jobs progressively included more
complicated leadworks, and this has
become our hallmark.
An accredited and reliable
service
Being a skilled roofer is a “hands-
on” occupation and the execution
of the works is very much down to
the ability of the individual carrying
them out. I believe that the passing-
down of the skills involved, and
the mentoring of experience, is of
paramount importance in continuing
our ability to maintain a homegrown,
skilled workforce. Over the years we
have inducted and trained 15 people,
some of whom have gone on to
utilise their skills abroad, while the
majority have become part of the local
skilledworkforce.
In 2002, we were one of only 500
construction companies in Britain
capable of meeting the qualifying
criteria to become a member of the
government-backed Quality Mark
scheme. We are also one of only a few
roofing companies in the southeast
of England to be recommended by
Which?
and we have been a member
of the Institute of Roofing since 1991.
We are proud to be a family-run
company, with my wife Alison and
daughter Louise running the business
administration. My twin sons Daniel
and George have worked for me since
they were 13 years old and now, at
the age of 30, supervise all of our
leadwork. The long-term plan is for
them both to take over the business.
My nephew Nikky is currently working
as an apprentice and my daughter-
in-law manages our IT. We have also
recently set up a social media presence
in order to enhance our exposure to
potential clients, enabling them to
see a current and regularly updated
showcase of our work.
As part of our community outreach,
we have sponsored Thanet Chess
for 15 years and in 2015 crafted a
brass chess piece for the local club.
We made a brass eagle for the local
Eagle House in 2010 and designed
and built a giant wheelbarrow, which
contributed to Broadstairs winning
the Britain in Bloom competition in
1997. We are also in the process of re-
roofing Piermont Hall, a Grade II listed
Georgian house in Broadstairs, for the
local council.
We are proud
to be a family-
run company
The big boat lift
29JOHN COUZENS ROOFING |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Unusual jobs
Since our inception in 1982, we have
encountered numerous unusual
projects. In the past, we repaired a
local Tudor house using oak trees
felled in a storm, which we shaped
to match the distinctively crooked
building. We have also designed and
fitted two A4 stainless steel balconies
on the Broadstairs seafront in 2015.
One of my most enjoyable but unusual
pursuits was building a 38-foot boat in
my garden with my son Daniel. When
it was completed in 2014 it was craned
over the house and was televised on
BBC and ITV.
We manufacture sash weights from
scrap lead and supply these to the
trade, as well as crafting tailored lead
hoppers. We built seven houses during
the last recession and built my two
sons’ houses and my two daughters’
extensions. It was a successful and
gratifying experience that assisted
us in helping new skilled tradesmen
complete their studies or work
experience and gain full qualification
from their respective guilds.
Problems in the trade
I find the standard of work within the
roofing trade to be very disappointing.
Being a skilled
roofer is a
“hands-on”
occupation and
the execution of
the works is very
much down to
the ability of the
individual
carrying
themout
Left: Brass chess King
Right: Brass Eagle, cast
at the foundry
We survey approximately eight
properties a week and 80 per cent
of their problems will be due to bad
workmanship. I believe the main
problem with the roofing industry is
the lack of regulation for company
set-up, meaning that anyone with
a ladder and any basic knowledge
can claim to be aroofer.
In 2000, the government
brought in legislation requiring
that a building notice must be
submitted when carrying out new
roof works, primarily to check
insulation values, but it also meant
that the inspectors could see the
standard of roofing being carried
out. More needs to be done
to further improve standards.
Plumbers and electricians have
their own registration bodies that
constantly check standards – it is
time for a similar body to regulate
roofing companies. We provide a
clear report service enabling the
homeowner to understand exactly
what condition their roof is in.
This can be the basis for litigation
if an individual has experienced
sub-standard works, but it needs
to become standard practice
throughout the industry.
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | JOHN COUZENS ROOFING
To build our reputation, we started
taking on specialised leadwork for
other roofing and building companies
and the local council. This involved
taking on large refurbishment
works to Grade I and Grade II listed
buildings, while also repairing and
replacing roofs for private clients.
These jobs progressively included more
complicated leadworks, and this has
become our hallmark.
An accredited and reliable
service
Being a skilled roofer is a “hands-
on” occupation and the execution
of the works is very much down to
the ability of the individual carrying
them out. I believe that the passing-
down of the skills involved, and
the mentoring of experience, is of
paramount importance in continuing
our ability to maintain a homegrown,
skilled workforce. Over the years we
have inducted and trained 15 people,
some of whom have gone on to
utilise their skills abroad, while the
majority have become part of the local
skilledworkforce.
In 2002, we were one of only 500
construction companies in Britain
capable of meeting the qualifying
criteria to become a member of the
government-backed Quality Mark
scheme. We are also one of only a few
roofing companies in the southeast
of England to be recommended by
Which?
and we have been a member
of the Institute of Roofing since 1991.
We are proud to be a family-run
company, with my wife Alison and
daughter Louise running the business
administration. My twin sons Daniel
and George have worked for me since
they were 13 years old and now, at
the age of 30, supervise all of our
leadwork. The long-term plan is for
them both to take over the business.
My nephew Nikky is currently working
as an apprentice and my daughter-
in-law manages our IT. We have also
recently set up a social media presence
in order to enhance our exposure to
potential clients, enabling them to
see a current and regularly updated
showcase of our work.
As part of our community outreach,
we have sponsored Thanet Chess
for 15 years and in 2015 crafted a
brass chess piece for the local club.
We made a brass eagle for the local
Eagle House in 2010 and designed
and built a giant wheelbarrow, which
contributed to Broadstairs winning
the Britain in Bloom competition in
1997. We are also in the process of re-
roofing Piermont Hall, a Grade II listed
Georgian house in Broadstairs, for the
local council.
We are proud
to be a family-
run company
The big boat lift
29JOHN COUZENS ROOFING |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Unusual jobs
Since our inception in 1982, we have
encountered numerous unusual
projects. In the past, we repaired a
local Tudor house using oak trees
felled in a storm, which we shaped
to match the distinctively crooked
building. We have also designed and
fitted two A4 stainless steel balconies
on the Broadstairs seafront in 2015.
One of my most enjoyable but unusual
pursuits was building a 38-foot boat in
my garden with my son Daniel. When
it was completed in 2014 it was craned
over the house and was televised on
BBC and ITV.
We manufacture sash weights from
scrap lead and supply these to the
trade, as well as crafting tailored lead
hoppers. We built seven houses during
the last recession and built my two
sons’ houses and my two daughters’
extensions. It was a successful and
gratifying experience that assisted
us in helping new skilled tradesmen
complete their studies or work
experience and gain full qualification
from their respective guilds.
Problems in the trade
I find the standard of work within the
roofing trade to be very disappointing.
Being a skilled
roofer is a
“hands-on”
occupation and
the execution of
the works is very
much down to
the ability of the
individual
carrying
themout
Left: Brass chess King
Right: Brass Eagle, cast
at the foundry
We survey approximately eight
properties a week and 80 per cent
of their problems will be due to bad
workmanship. I believe the main
problem with the roofing industry is
the lack of regulation for company
set-up, meaning that anyone with
a ladder and any basic knowledge
can claim to be aroofer.
In 2000, the government
brought in legislation requiring
that a building notice must be
submitted when carrying out new
roof works, primarily to check
insulation values, but it also meant
that the inspectors could see the
standard of roofing being carried
out. More needs to be done
to further improve standards.
Plumbers and electricians have
their own registration bodies that
constantly check standards – it is
time for a similar body to regulate
roofing companies. We provide a
clear report service enabling the
homeowner to understand exactly
what condition their roof is in.
This can be the basis for litigation
if an individual has experienced
sub-standard works, but it needs
to become standard practice
throughout the industry.

www.leadwelding.co.uk

This article was sponsored by John Couzens Roofing. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster