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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

The Leadworker Register - putting skills at the heart of the industry

The Lead Sheet Association has been developing and running successful training and qualification initiatives for many years to help ensure that standards of leadwork are high across the construction industry.

As well as delivering courses at its Training Centre in East Peckham, Kent, the LSA has also been working in collaboration with the Lead Contractors’ Association to set up the Leadworker Register.

Why create a Register?

One of the reasons the LSA felt the creation of the Leadworker Register was important was for many years it has been asked by a range of people to provide details of competent leadworkers. It felt the fairest way to do this was through a Register which is transparent and allows contractors, specifiers, architects and others in the construction industry to find the level of skills needed for the job in hand.

The Register works in two ways. If you are a qualified Leadworker it can help you demonstrate your skills and qualifications to current and potential clients. On the other hand, if you are a specifier or contractor looking for someone with the right skills for the job, it helps you find suitably qualified workers. It is also of use for people looking for skilled workers on small domestic jobs.

Code 6 lead bays, in-situ lead-welding at Marlborough, Wiltshire by Black Dog Roofing. www.blackdogroofing.co.uk

How it works in more detail

The Register has four levels of competence depending on the qualifications gained by each leadworker. These four levels help support leadworkers’ career development – allowing people to develop their skills and progress through the different levels as they gain more experience.

Lead hopper and down pipe - an original casting by LSA registered craftsman Marc Hare of Kent. To find out more about Marc and his work visit www.mphareheritageworks.com

Level 1 - Basic skills

This level is aimed at those who are likely to be new to the industry who have undertaken induction and training in the basic levels of leadwork design and installation. It is likely that leadworkers at this level would continue to need close supervision and guidance in design, setting out and detailing aspects of working with lead sheet.

It is unlikely a competent leadworker would remain at this level for a period longer than three years (unless there are extenuating circumstances) as during this period they should have received sufficient experience and further training to enable them to move to a higher skill level.

Level 2 - Secondary skills

Those leadworkers that have been working in the sector for more than a year will likely have progressed to this level through experience and on site development of their skills, in addition to formal training and assessment.

They would have the practical skills to be able to address more complex details when installing lead as well as have a wider knowledge of sizing and fixing requirements, including an awareness of some basic design issues.

Leadworkers at this level would still need some supervision and guidance, but less so than at Level 1.

Sand cast lead turret at Bramshill House, Hampshire by Martin Young of MY Leadworks. Martin is listed on The Leadworker Register - for further examples of his work visit www.myleadworks.co.uk
Leadwork by Kevin Bennett of K M Leadwork who is listed on The Leadworker Register. For more examples of his work visit www.kmleadwork.co.uk

Level 3 - High skills

To achieve level 3 status on the Register, a leadworker would likely have been regularly working in the sector for at least three years. As a result they should then have gained sufficient practical skill and design knowledge to be able to work almost entirely without supervision or require technical guidance, except on the most complex detailing.

It is likely persons at this level would be able to take responsibility for more complex detailing (both design and installation) and would potentially be able to supervise the leadwork of others. They would also most likely be familiar with the with recommendations for leadwork design and installation, as set out in the “Lead Sheet Manual”, published by the Lead Sheet Association and based upon the British Standard Code of Practice BS6915.

Level 4 - Advanced skills

At this level a leadworker should be widely experienced and competent at all aspects of detailing and installing lead sheet for roofing and cladding.

They should be able to work completely unsupervised and should be able to supervise and provide guidance to others, even for complex or non-routine applications.

Those that appear on the Register at Level 4 should have an appreciation of heritage work and the options available when required to carry out hot works under restricted circumstances.

Opportunities for experienced leadworkers without qualifications

If you are an experienced leadworker but don’t have a formal qualification, you can still apply to be on the Leadworker Register. Depending on your level of experience you will have to formally work towards the relevant qualification. The LSA will carry this assessment and advise on the relevant level, although an additional assessment and registration fee will apply.

To help people from different areas of the construction industry understand more about how the Register works we have made a short film to help explain in more detail the different levels, how to join and how to use it. You can find the film on the LSA’s website at www.leadsheet.co.uk

You can find a selection of LSA Registered Leadworkers offering heritage skills in your area, in the directory here. Look for the LSA logo.

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