WORDS FROM THE EDITOR

The November edition of WFA is traditionally one of the hardest to produce. Retailers are busy cramming in orders, fabricators are at full production and wholesalers are under pressure to ensure that their orders are being expedited on time, all of which means that getting comments prepared for our pages can often be put to one side. I’m very happy to report that this year’s November edition was no different, with the industry rushed off its feet in the lead up to Christmas. Even here in Melbourne where we are once again allowed to leave our homes for any reason at all (hooray) the backlog of orders placed before and during lockdown mean that most businesses will have one of the busiest peak seasons in history.

The coronavirus pandemic has had its silver linings for this industry, with sales up nationally despite the Melbourne lockdown, and there is more good news in the form of the budget and in the training sector. For years the industry has grappled with the task of finding the next generation of workers, but the resilience of this sector compared to many others, along with government incentives to hire young workers and apprentices, offers a once in a generation opportunity. You can read more about the incentives and wage subsidies on offer on page 20, but this is only one element of the opportunity. Currently with hospitality and tourism sectors depressed for the foreseeable future, there is now an abundance of highly presentable young people with great customer service skills, who ordinarily might not have considered the window furnishings industry as a career option. Now, more than ever, is the time to invest in new staff from this cohort, as well as existing staff, for the future of your business.

You are of course all well aware by now that the instant asset write-off scheme announced in the Federal Budget means it is also a great time to invest it in capital equipment and whilst every business is different, the fact that we have effectively two financial years to plan this investment should be very exciting.

Finally, tucked away in the later pages of this edition you will find a significant case study on a project recently undertaken by Blinds by Peter Meyer. The job is purported to be the first in Australia undertaken via a Performance Solution required to adhere to recent changes to the Building Codes of Australia Fire Regulations of the National Construction Code (NCC). The changes stipulate that any product being fitted onto commercial buildings or high-rise apartment blocks above the first floor must be non-combustible. The BMAA and industry have been grappling with this issue ever since and whilst it is hoped the NCC can be changed in the near future, the project on Page 80 is hoped to be the first of many that can be achieved using the Performance Solution model. A recent survey by the BMAA showed that 65% of surveyed members had been adversely affected by the NCC changes, with more than half of those quantifying the lost business at over $100,000.  Half of all respondents reported they had turned business away due to liability issues.

JAMES BOSTON

Editor & Publisher

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