Professional Builder visits BMI UK & Ireland’s BMI Academy in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, to check out the roof training facilities and the breadth of courses on offer.
The BMI Academy offers contractors of all skills level the chance to either expand on what they already know about roofing, or venture into a new sector of the industry. With best practice and standards at the forefront of the company’s philosophy, it took the initiative to open up the industry’s first dedicated training academy back in 1983, which now houses a purpose-built workshops for both flat and pitched roofing and classroom facility for a mix of practical and theory-based training. This makes BMI the only UK roofing manufacturer currently able to offer training in both disciplines and on one site.
The academy’s pitched roof zone comprises a variety of rigs including: a gable-to-gable rig, life-size hip and valley rig, life-size monopitch with top edge abutment rig, and a plain tile detail rig for full system installation. These are complemented by a variety of mobile rigs outside.
The flat roofs training zone is equally well equipped with liquid waterproofing and single ply rigs, plus a life-size flat roof and demonstration tables for single ply and liquids detail work. There is also a large external bitumen rig for torch on and pour and roll training.
The company employs three full-time trainers and delivers approximately 60 hours of training every week. Since opening in 1983, over 45,000 delegates have been trained at the academy. In 2018, the Academy hosted over 2,000 delegates. Beyond on-site training, BMI delivers training at colleges and training providers: currently 17 organisations across the UK work with the academy.
With courses spanning installation standards, estimating, dry fix systems, ventilation and solar installation, there really is something for anyone looking to improve on their knowledge and skills of the pitched roofing sector. Flat roofing is equally well represented, with courses on thermically-applied Bitumen; cold-applied liquids and single-ply roofing being offered; along with the facility to work with medium to large size contractors to develop and deliver bespoke flat systems.
That bespoke training is also available on pitched roofs, and the academy is also able to conduct them either at the Academy or at your own location.
The company has applied its knowledge and advice to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses across the trade, and currently has the ability to conduct a range of tailored RIBA-approved CPD modules and presentations. CPD courses offered include: BS 5534: The New Standard; An Introduction to Pitched Roofing; Wind-loading & the Need to Fix Tiles; Condensation Control in Cold Pitched Roofs; Defects in Pitched Roofing; and Photovoltaic Panels in Pitched Roofing.
In addition to its CPD courses available, BMI UK & Ireland is the only manufacturer authorised by the NFRC to deliver the pitched roof Basic Competency Programme (BCP) training.
BCP accreditation means a worker with a basic CSCS card, following the successful completion of their CSCS health and safety test, gets to the 3-year Red ‘Experienced Worker’ CSCS card status, and on the path towards their Blue ‘Skilled Worker’ card.
Balance of the trade
Supporting the belief of a balanced approach to learning, all courses offered by the BMI Academy entail a mix of theory and practical work to ensure that students receive all the knowledge and skills required to carry out work on site.
The Basic Roofing Course offers participants a two-day introduction to the basic principles and components behind a pitched roof and typical problems that can occur if one is not installed properly. While this course is aimed more at those looking for an introduction to the industry, all of the courses offered at the academy provide an insight into the BS 5534: 2014 +A2: 2018 industry Code of Practice and recent changes affecting the installation of fixings for tiled roofs.
Those contractors looking for a more in-depth knowledge of roofing will find the Advanced Roofing (two-day) useful in addition to its two-day Estimating course for those looking to hone their in-house estimating services. Other, more specific one-day courses include BS 8612 – Dry Fix Components, BS 5534: 2014 +A2: 2018 – Changes to Regulations; and PV Installation.