The construction industry may well face a massive skills challenge in the coming years, but for those who try their hand and learn how to apply mastic asphalt, they will gain a much-needed skill, earn a decent wage and have plenty of job opportunities across the UK.
It is one of the few construction activities still highly regarded as a ‘craft trade’, but when you work with mastic asphalt you are working with a material which has not only stood the test of the time, it remains the waterproofing product of choice for many of the UK’s most prestigious buildings.
Mastic asphalters use this traditional and versatile material to seal and waterproof roofs, floors and walls for a wide range of buildings – anything from schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels, to car parks and even swimming pools. The skilled work involves heating the asphalt to the correct temperature and then spreading using traditional techniques to carefully coat a surface. A thermoplastic material that will change shape when heated, mastic asphalt cools to form a hard, durable and waterproof coating.
To maintain the industry’s reputation and ensure a high-quality application every time, only trained craftsmen are allowed to install mastic asphalt under the Mastic Asphalt Council’s strict rules. The craft training programme, which takes place at Hackney College in London, is also one of the most demanding in the construction industry.
The mastic asphalt craft is taught by professional tutors and the traditional time-served apprenticeship is now incorporated into national vocational qualifications, leading to a Level 3 NVQ qualification. The programme includes practical and theoretical training to use mastic asphalt on a wide range of applications involving roofing, flooring, paving and tanking.
The latest health and safety policies also form part of the course so skilled-up waterproofers will be ready for employment. With sustainability having become so important in construction, the trade is also carbon neutral and seen as one of the greenest construction materials in the UK.
This will help to ensure that the next generation of craftsmen can work to the same high standards that have made mastic asphalt such a highly-respected product and the continued choice of specifiers.
MAC continues to build an industry that is fit for the future and a growing workforce that remains dedicated to quality.