That’s why at Forbo, we are committed to helping the association in any way that we can, as we believe the services it provides to the industry and its members are – and always have been – outstanding. Although we can praise the association’s efforts, we thought you’d might like to hear about the benefits of becoming a CFA member…from a member!
This month, we caught up with Beverly McFarlane, Sales Director at Loughton Contracts to learn more about her career, her experiences working alongside Forbo, as well as the benefits of being a CFA member.
Hi Beverley, can you start by telling us how long you’ve worked in the flooring industry?
I’ve been in the flooring industry for almost forty years and over that period, I’ve worked for a carpet tile manufacturer and three flooring contractors, specialising in the supply of carpet tile systems, as well as all other floor covering solutions.
What made you want to join the flooring industry?
Prior to joining the industry, I'd been working in sales for a hygiene services company, selling industrial cleaning for kitchens, washrooms, toilets and drains. However, after some consideration, I decided that the flooring sector might be a better fit for my talents! What’s more, the work that the job entailed was far more interesting and varied than in my previous role, so it ticked a lot of boxes.
Can you tell us a little bit about Loughton Contracts PLC?
Founded in the 80’s, we’re probably the nation’s largest flooring contractor business. We have over 35 years’ experience and work across all sectors of the market. Loughton Contracts has continued to complete work across the commercial office fit out sector, contract residential, healthcare, education, hospitality and leisure, public spaces, pharmaceutical and aviation sectors.
Due to this varied work, we install most flooring products, including floor preparation smoothing compounds, DPM’s, adhesives, timber flooring, linoleum, vinyl, rubber, LVT, carpet tiles, broadloom carpet, rugs and entrance matting.
What do you like about your job?
Variety is still the thing that first drew me into this industry: the variety of work, products and people. In my role, I meet people from all walks of life. One day I might be working with an architect, the next I could be having conversations with end-users, developers, suppliers and main contractors – it’s really diverse. No two projects are ever the same, so you are always meeting new people and learning new things, which I really appreciate and enjoy.
What type of project excites you the most then?
Personally, I love working on large commercial office fit outs, high-end residential projects or major healthcare hospital projects, as they are all very varied in terms of product diversity and challenges. It’s great to play a part in helping someone totally design or reinvent a space and it makes you realise how important the role of flooring is in that process, both aesthetically and functionally too.
In particular, in healthcare projects, the flooring drastically improves environments, as it can increase infection control, contribute to pleasing aesthetics and even help with way finding – it plays such an important part of the built environment. It has also been proven that in a well-designed healthcare environment, patient hospitalisation times are reduced, health and positive mental well-being levels and speed of healing are increased. Staff morale is also improved, which even means that the level of patient care offered is better.
How long have you been installing Forbo’s solutions?
A very long time I’d say! I began working with the company in 1988, when I first started as a flooring contractor. Over that time, I’ve developed a great relationship with Forbo and have enjoyed a number of engaging factory visits and product and installation training seminars, which they’ve provided for us.
And what do you like about the company?
I’ve always found Forbo to be a really forward-thinking company and can even remember them working to develop environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions back in the early nineties, before sustainability was the huge topic of conversation that it is today. During my career, I’ve really enjoyed the diversity and variety of the company’s product range, as well as the collaborative approach which Forbo’s representatives take to developing and winning both new and repeat business.
So, when did you first become a member of the CFA?
Much like working alongside Forbo, my first experiences with the CFA started shortly after I began working as a flooring contractor. It was a really great decision to join the organisation and I’ve been privileged to serve on its council now for more than fifteen years.
What do you think the benefits are of becoming a CFA member?
CFA brings numerous benefits, but I’d say the big one is the wealth of knowledge, experience and best practice – both legislative and practical – which the association can offer its members. Everyone involved has similar shared experiences, so they can help to solve problems, in a non-adversarial way when things get tricky and reduce the risk of mishaps before things escalate!
As an organisation, the CFA is also able to help ensure high industry standards are achieved, maintained and improved, through enhanced standards of professionalism. In turn, this effort really helps in elevating our sector’s reputation amongst the broader construction industry.
CFA does amazing work in recruiting and training young people within the flooring industry, as well as encouraging Flooring Contractors to recruit and train as well. As an association, the CFA works to ensure those entering the trade are learning best practice and developing high levels of professionalism, expertise and workmanship. Without their foresight and input, it would be much more difficult to ensure that this crucial work is happening and that standards are continually being gained, maintained and improved.
If you had to give advice to people wanting to work in the industry, what would it be?
Look, listen and learn, network with diverse people that have a wealth of experience. It might sound simple, but it’s a really effective way to operate in our industry. If you’re just getting started, then it’s essential to make sure that you’re constantly learning from the more experienced people you work with. I’d also say it’s an industry that rewards hard work, so you’ve always got to make sure that you are passionate about your trade, committed and reliable, as well as knowledgeable on a day-to-day basis.
In doing so, you can help to guarantee that you are making the most of a raft of varied opportunities that are afforded to you. Finally, I’d say it’s always important to treat others how you would like to be treated and to make sure you’re having fun as well. Work is a huge part of your life, so enjoy your time working, as it flies past very quickly! In my opinion, flooring is the best industry to be in because of the exceptional people and there is something for everyone, it’s just about doing your best possible work consistently.