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19 August 2022

Supplied by PRAWA

As Operations Manager of the Professional Roof Repair and Waterproofing Association (PRAWA), Jeanine De Meyer is helping to uphold the highest possible standards in the roof repair and waterproofing industry.

De Meyer was offered this position based on her extensive experience working in various facets of the industry. This is in addition to the strong professional relationships she had already nurtured with relevant industry bodies that would be able to help develop and grow the then fledgling association. Most of all, however, industry stakeholders wanted to harness her passion for all things related to roofing and waterproofing. 

“I’ve worked in so many different areas of roofing and waterproofing over the years that I have grown extremely passionate about this industry of ours. It is almost impossible for me to imagine doing anything that is not related in one way or another to the industry for a living. This is especially now as we prepare to embark on the next phase of our journey as an industry. We are set to significantly raise the quality of roof repair and waterproofing workmanship in the country and to be recognised as an important building trade,” she says.

De Meyer joined the industry at a time when it was still, as she puts it, “a man’s world”, and had to work hard to earn the respect of her male counterparts.

Jeanine De Meyer, Operations Manager of the Professional Roof Repair and Waterproofing Association (PRAWA)

Prior to accepting the post as Operations Manager of PRAWA, De Meyer worked for one of the country’s leading “roofers’” as an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Officer and later served as Chair of the company’s Health and Safety Committee. She is also a professional roofing and waterproofing training facilitator who has helped many individuals launch successful careers in the roofing and waterproofing industry. De Meyer is especially proud of the many women working in the industry who she groomed and coached while working for a leading roofing and waterproofing training provider.

However, it is the large role that she played in helping to establish an industry body to oversee the interests of the professional roofing and waterproofing profession that still stands out as one of the many highlights of her career. Only three years old, PRAWA already has more than 40 members, the vast majority of which are leading ‘roofers’. Meanwhile, many suppliers and manufacturers of materials, tools and equipment have also expressed interest in becoming members of the association.

“It has been a long and hard road travelled to get to this point, and I for one am extremely proud of what we as an industry have achieved in a such a short period. We successfully motivated the need for PRAWA and developed Codes of Best Practice for the association that were accepted by industry. Moreover, we established a sound working rapport with all the relevant associations that have a direct or indirect bearing on our industry. They continue to support us and our initiatives. As more established bodies, their learning and experience has been invaluable,” De Meyer says.

To date, she has been very busy helping to develop minimum basic standards for the industry and a register of approved waterproofing products. This is being done in wide consultation with the industry ahead of their imminent launch. Notably, these initiatives that are geared at significantly raising the quality of workmanship and flushing out bad practice in the industry have received overwhelming support from most stakeholders. They include participants in the banking and insurance, architectural, engineering and principal contracting industries. This is in addition to many manufacturers and suppliers of products and roof repair and waterproofing contractors. As she notes, the initiative is in “everyone’s best interest”.

De Meyer’s experience as a professional training facilitator was also harnessed to help develop instructional content for the country’s first waterproofing qualification. This is to better prepare contractors for the introduction of new basic minimum industry standards and a register of approved products. There is currently only one training provider that offers this Construction Education and Training Authority-accredited qualification at a National Qualifications Framework level in the country.

This qualification has also gone a long way in helping to formalise the profession. She regards this as another significant milestone in her career and continues to collaborate with other relevant industry bodies to develop training content that pertains to roof repair and waterproofing. This is to further help drive quality workmanship in the larger building industry. “I have shown that women are also able to make a significant contribution to this profession, and it is encouraging to see that there are many more like me who are making their mark in the professional roof repair and waterproofing industry. Clearly, the industry is no longer only a man’s world. It provides the perfect environment in which women are able to grow and develop their careers and as individuals,” De Meyer concludes.

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