Name: Andrew Webster
Company: A W Flooring Norfolk Ltd.
Job Title: Director
How did you get into the flooring industry?
After finishing school at the age of 16, I started on a Youth Training Scheme to become a professional flooring contractor. My first job was with a company called Lee’s Flooring in Norwich, which was still going until a few years ago, I believe.
What’s been the biggest change in the industry over the past 10 years?
Contractors face ever-shorter timescales in which to complete jobs. Everything’s got to be done tomorrow. The pace of modern construction often means that you’re working alongside other trades, like electricians and plumbers. Fortunately, the products have got a lot better at the same time, meaning we can complete work more quickly.
Looking forward, what do you think will be the biggest change in the next 10 years?
I think flooring will be the same mostly, although I expect the hardest thing about it will be finding people to do the work. It’s increasingly difficult to find people who want to do the job and are prepared to work hard.
What’s the worst job you’ve been on?
I’ve worked on a few construction projects that have been well behind schedule, but the flooring has needed to be installed by a certain date. This has meant that I’ve been forced to work in some poor conditions, with no electricity, meaning no lighting or heating. I try to avoid these jobs nowadays.
And what’s the best?
Everyone likes the jobs where you can install floorcoverings over a large area without any obstacles. We had one where we installed carpet tiles over an area of about 2,000 square metres in the offices of North Norfolk District Council. That was great.
Do you have a go-to product for certain jobs?
F. Ball’s Stopgap 1200 Pro. It’s versatile, flows really easily, you can use it over old adhesive residues and you don’t need to prime when you do.
What do you like best about the job?
After 32 years in the business, I still enjoy meeting, and talking to, new people, as well as seeing familiar faces now and again. I also like securing new business, having done all the work involved in estimating costs to provide a quote. When I don’t get that thrill anymore, I think I’ll give it up.
What is your least favourite thing about the job?
The pressure to say ‘yes’ to new projects all the time, and the requirement to work to a tight schedule as a result, and all the work involved in ordering materials and prepping this involves.