As we approach the end of 2012 it is a good time to reflect on some of the key developments over the past 12 months and to look ahead to next year. During the year the RSTA was able to publish a number of new Codes of Practice which have all been peer reviewed and endorsed by ADEPT. These are all available as free downloads on the RSTA website publications page and I encourage anyone involved with surface course maintenance to download and read them. I am looking forward next year to gaining further endorsement for these important documents from other influential industry groups. This year has seen a step change regarding RSTA’s liaison with the major client bodies with a series of meetings held throughout the year with ADEPT, Highways Agency, Direct Road Services and Transport Scotland. RSTA also gained a seat on HiTAC earlier in the year which governs the HAPAS Product Certification Schemes and has very recently joined the newly formed Pavement Liaison Group chaired by the Highways Agency to develop new and existing specifications. Sector Scheme 13 which regulates workforce competency by setting minimum standards for training and qualifications was expanded in scope this year to include ReTexturing including Fine Milling, Geosynthetics & Steel Meshes and Velocity Patching alongside Surface Dressing and Slurry Surfacings. This year has seen an unprecedented number of RSTA CPD Training courses run all over the UK and also saw the launch of new Specialist Up-skilling programmes (SUP’s) for operatives developed jointly with ConstructionSkills. At the last count 482 people from over 20 local authorities have attended an RSTA Training course this year and with over 150 highway authorities in England alone there is plenty of scope to do even more Training next year! Association membership has increased again this year to nearly 80 with a number of organisations looking to join next year. The HMEP Pothole Review published in April gave a pretty clear message to all local authorities that prevention is better than cure by sealing the road surface to prevent water ingress and reduce pothole formation. Through its members the RSTA made a significant contribution to this work and I look forward to further involvement with HMEP next year. During the year we held a number of meetings on CE marking including a seminar in Milton Keynes in July with presentations delivered by ADEPT, BSI and RSTA members. This represents a significant change next year affecting procurement and affects all contractors involved with Surface Dressing and Slurry Surfacings. If you are a contractor or local authority who is still struggling to get to grips with CE marking and what it means for you, contact the RSTA office for help and support.
I am pleased to report that the RSTA will be launching a range of new Carbon calculators in the new year and these will be supported during the roll out phase by a newly appointed Technical Services Manager. So if Carbon management is on your agenda please contact the Colchester office for further details on how to obtain these new Carbon Calculators and to receive the necessary training. Finally I must mention that the RSTA celebrated 70 years of progress at our annual conference back in March and published a coffee table style document to chart the Associations development over this period which reminded everyone just how far the industry has grown and developed through improved regulation, products, plant & equipment and training. In the current economic climate our industry is well placed to make a significant contribution towards helping authorities keep their network well maintained, safe and helping the economy to emerge from the current period of low growth. Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Dr Howard Robinson
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