The Quality Standard for the Drainage Industry
DrainSafe is an industry led approved contractor scheme sponsored by the National Association of Drainage Contractors (NADC). It sets out to provide a framework in which customers of our industry (from householders through to much larger organisations) can have the assurance that their contractor is competent to do the work. DrainSafe will audit subscriber firms to confirm this and carry out continuing monitoring of compliance with the scheme.
We see monitoring in the early stages being done through desk top review of a firms records such as insurances, training records and customer feedback. As the scheme develops over the next year or so we would expect that DrainSafe will carry out on site reviews of a firm’s activities and in time provide an ombudsman service in the event of disputes between a registered contractor and a customer.
DrainSafe is currently set up as a part of the NADC but its structure will enable separation at a point in the future so that it is run independently in accordance with best practice for approved contractor schemes. In the meantime, we will be establishing an independent management committee with representation from external stakeholders playing a key part.
What has been done up to now?
Members of the NADC have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders from across commercial, regulatory and customer groups. Following this engagement, we have created a draft code of practice and constitution for DrainSafe which give the initiative structure and set out how the objectives will be met. We have drafted registration rules and the registration application form. We have also established the competency framework for registration and all the relevant qualifications and training courses are either already in place or are under development.
What are external stakeholders saying?
The NADC has met and spoken with many influencers across the industry, including the Environment Agency, Highways England, water companies, CCWater, Which?, RICS, The Homeowners Alliance, Local Authority Building Control along with companies in the NADC of all types and size. The feedback from these conversations has been very positive with many commenting that this initiative is long overdue and will improve the market for drainage services, as well as the reputation of the industry. These discussions have enabled us to fine tune the initiative so as to deliver on our objective. Conversations have also been had with counterparts in Ireland to ensure our Irish Branch are included within this evolving project.
Where are we now?
We have consulted members of the NADC across a number of locations in spring 2021 and received positive feedback about the proposal and suggestions to improve the structure of the scheme. These have been incorporated in the scheme and will be rolled out to members in September/October.
Our formal launch of DrainSafe was on November 9th and 10th at the National Drainage Show at the Excel Centre. The response was very encouraging.