Martin has been part of the IKO PLC team at its headquarters in Wigan, Lancashire for more than two decades. Starting his IKO journey as a senior designer in 1997, and has been technical manager since 2000. Here, Martin talks about how the industry, and his role, has evolved over the years.
What does your role as technical manager involve?
I oversee the reinforced bitumen membrane, liquid waterproofing, and structural waterproofing and pitched roofing offering at IKO. My day-to-day role can be quite varied as I manage a team of seven people, covering all the aspects of design and technical advice on a number of products and systems.
What are the biggest changes in roofing you have seen of late?
One of the biggest impacts has been the changes to Building Regulations post-Grenfell, following the amendments made in Dame Judith Hackitt’s review. Reforms to regulations means manufacturers have had to adapt their products as the market has had no choice but to make changes. We were heavily involved in the development of the NFRC’s Safe2Torch campaign, which helps reduce the risk of roof fires when using gas torches. The health and safety issues surrounding hot works on site has been massive, and in response, we have developed some of our own products to ensure they are easier to install whilst adhering to strict guidance. Of course, we are yet to see what impacts will be made following the Coronavirus outbreak, and how that will affect construction and roofing alike.
How do you keep on top of the ever-changing industry developments?
IKO encourages us to get involved in the wider network of committees, and I am a member of the NFRC and Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing (LRWA) Technical Committees – as well as many others relating to all our roofing systems. I am also a Technical Committee member for the National House Building Council (NHBC) and sit on the British Standards Institute (BSI) B/546 working group. I like to be a part of new developments and changes that are happening, and I am passionate about best practice in all disciplines of construction – not just roofing. I think it is important to represent your company, and be part of something which in effect, can change legislation for the entire industry.
What’s your biggest achievement at IKO?
I have recently been involved in the development of a high-performance bitumen membrane flat roofing system – IKO Mach Two. The original Mach One system was innovated as a robust single-layer system for projects needing a flame-free installation. I am particularly proud of this product as we won a Construction News Innovation Award. IKO invests in its people, products and the plant, and we know that Mach Two is a system to be proud of.
What gives you a sense of satisfaction at IKO?
I love working for a company which is so passionate and caring about its people, but also the industry too, and ensures the highest standards are met in all its practices. I relocated to live near to the IKO PLC headquarters in Wigan four years ago from Kent. That’s how dedicated I was to the job, and I still am today!