The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) council has voted to take the next step towards convergence with the Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association (HVCA), despite only 57 per cent of ECA members backing the move.
Officials from the two associations are now urgently working together to develop a possible model for the organisation. These proposals will be unveiled in the summer, ahead of further consultations.
HVCA’s council agreed to move ahead with developing the model in March, but had to wait until the end of April to find out whether the ECA’s council also still supported the project.
The results of the consultation showed that ECA members were less enthusiastic than HVCA members about the proposed convergence and ECA director David Pollock said concerns had to be addressed carefully in the model.
He said: “I believe we have to maintain the momentum and respond to the trust which both councils have placed in us to develop further the issues surrounding convergence.
“The feedback from members is that they want a model which they can then assess and comment on. We have said from the beginning that we are not going to bounce our members into a new organisation – there are no done deals.
“I would expect to be able to present a report to both councils when they next meet in the summer.
“This is a very significant step. I am certain a model can be designed which will be capable of serving the whole industry and will deliver advantages for everybody.”
Consultations on convergence completed earlier this year showed 57 per cent of ECA members supported the development of a model, with 8 per cent indicating they wanted more information. This compares with 84 per cent of HVCA members positively supporting taking this next step.
A particular issue raised by ECA members was the need to ringfence funding streams to make sure money continues to be directed towards areas of specific concern to electrical contractors. ECA members also want to ensure the interests of single-discipline mechanical and electrical companies are protected.
HVCA chief executive Robert Higgs said: “I think concerns are broadly shared by both organisations. ECA members have made a particular point about identity and their sense of belonging to ECA, which they value very highly. Members of HVCA have similar concerns.
“Our members were pretty bullish about the advantages of convergence. ECA members were not quite so bullish. We are democratic organisations and we need to listen to what our members have to say.
“We do not want the momentum to be lost. We have got the green light from the ECA and it is sensible to press on with the development of a model which can then be presented to our members.
“We always knew it was going to be a challenge because we are looking at significant change. It is not surprising members have raised issues – we need to deal with them.”
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