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For many facilities teams, choosing contractors involves a reasonable amount of risk. Choosing a contractor with a licence means that contractor meets the minimum standard of being legally able to do the work required.
However, for many teams, the minimum standard simply isn’t enough.
Facilities with prestigious reputations to uphold, want to work the best contractor available. For this reason, many organisations choose to partner with contractors aligned with accredited industry associations.
Industry associations are organisations that facilitate collaboration between businesses, with the intent of defining best practice.
The associations often provide training and extensive resources exclusively to members. Those members are required to adhere to a code of conduct and pay membership fees to remain certified by the association.
The association may lobby or collaborate with government to amend legislation or licencing requirements in the industry.
The best practice guidelines created by industry associations can even feed up to legislation. When that best practice guideline is determined to contribute a significant improvement to the industry as a whole.
Industry associations bear a striking resemblance to unions at first glance. However, industry associations negotiate at the business level, whereas unions are a collection of individuals.
In the world of contractors, this can become a blurred line with independent contractors. However, to be a member of an industry association, an independent contractor must have their membership associated with the entity referred to by their ABN.
When it comes to choosing contractors for your business, you want to choose contractors who can do the job well.
In practice, there are plenty of contractors out there who are not members of an industry association that can do a fine job. A lack of membership doesn’t preclude a contractor from being capable of performing work to a higher standard.
However, certification from an industry body does offer validation that the contractor is actively working to improve their skillset.
In every industry, an investment in continuing education is a way to stay ahead of the curve. The most astute operators will always invest in continuing education, embracing better ways of working.
What constitutes a “better” way to work depends on who you ask, but for facilities managers, the first response is usually working safer.
The continuing education and industry recognition that comes with certification isn’t compulsory for contractors. Rather, it’s an indication those contractors are actively seeking improvement for their business.
Industry bodies themselves work with regulators, in consultation with members, to redefine industry standards. The associations, and members, often lobby for industry improvement at the regulatory level, to encourage improvement outside their direct circle of influence.
When selecting which contractors to work with, most facilities managers will aim to find the best contractor for their facility. The question is not necessarily who can do the job the quickest or the fastest, but rather who can do the job in a way that aligns with organisational goals.
Facilities teams who actively seek improvement will seek out partners able to support their desired growth or standard. While this isn’t guaranteed with a contractor based on their membership to an industry association, the chances are certainly improved.
Contractors aligned with industry associations are abreast of changes in the industry and new technologies, and may be more agile.
To keep up with evolving expectations, facilities teams have to be continually learning, and investing in finding more efficient ways of working. Choosing contractors who are actively seeking improvement in their business helps guide teams towards partners who align with their values.
This alignment of values serves to reduce friction in the partnership, and can help to ensure your teams are on the same page.
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