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Insulate Magazine - April Issue 17

A Free Lunch, The language of Insulation, Artificial Intelligence and Insulation, and in-depth review of Ecobuild 2018 feature amongst articles from the BBA, NIA, Kingspan, IMA, Sto and more feature in this months edition

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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine Exclusive Insulate Column There is no such thing as a Free Lunch Paul Forrester Technical Editor, Insulate Magazine There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but when a construction product manufacturer wants to present to an office full of professionals then making sure they are well fed is virtually a prerequisite. It’s a well established system designed to suit both parties - but is it meeting the needs of either? by Paul Forrester Most professional institutes in the construction industry require members to undertake continuing professional development (CPD). Recognising that any qualification, no matter how prestigious, becomes outdated in a shifting landscape of legislation changes and ‘innovative’ product development, the theory behind CPD is to keep knowledge relevant and up to date, readying professionals to face new challenges. Different institutes guide members in different ways with regard to how they should meet their CPD needs. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), for example, has a ‘core curriculum’, from which a certain number of members’ CPD hours should come each year. Others give complete freedom, allowing each professional to personalise their learning in accordance with their individual requirements. Structured Learning With the rise of different platforms for delivering information, so the number of ways it is possible to undertake CPD has increased. Podcasts and online learning are just as valid as traditional books and magazines; delivering training to colleagues or mentoring students are legitimate development activities too. Construction product manufacturers - insulation producers among them - have long been happy to support the provision of education. The key is that a chosen activity should be planned, and of a level appropriate to supporting the identified learning needs. If a manufacturer is prepared to offer it, the recipient is prepared to travel, and the content has been approved, even a factory tour is a possibility. Presentations remain the favoured option, however, and a CPD coordinator may book a manufacturer to attend their office because the topic of a presentation is useful to the aims of the organisation as a whole. But that doesn’t stop some people from attending purely out of convenience, or to boost their CPD hours for the current year. In a similar vein, while CPD material is expected to not be overtly promotional - and is assessed accordingly in order to be included in some CPD provider directories - it rarely takes a huge logical leap to get from the general topic of a seminar to a particular product the manufacturer is keen to promote. Mixed Feelings As a result, it’s not uncommon to come across conflicting evidence about the success of in-office lunchtime CPD seminars. Feedback forms give recipients the chance to express their opinions. A presentation might be judged as unbiased by the majority, but one or two will always feel it could have been less promotional. Where 90% or more of responses are favourable though, and where a majority of attendees suggest a willingness to specify a company’s products in future, the actual rate of conversion into specifications can be surprisingly - and disappointingly - low. www.insulatenetwork.com 19

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