Energy Assessor Accreditation Schemes accredit energy assessors and oversee their activities of producing and submitting Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), Display Energy Certificates (DEC) and Air Conditioning Inspection Reports (ACIR). Schemes are approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in accordance with the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/3118). These must operate in line with a set of Scheme Operating Requirements determined by the Department.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a consultation seeking views on options to improve the current Scheme Operating Requirements (SOR). Proposals focus on improving quality assurance systems to improve data quality, addressing bad practice and fraud prevention.
In England and Wales those requirements have been implemented through Regulation 22 of the EPB Regulations. A letter of approval is issued to each scheme by the Secretary of State with SORs which set out the minimum requirements associated with the operation of each scheme. All energy certificates must be prepared by qualified energy assessors, and entered onto the Register. An assessor must be a member of a scheme before they are able to enter any certificate onto the Register.
Schemes are responsible for accrediting energy assessors and for monitoring the quality of energy certificates. There are currently seven schemes that oversee the work of approximately 15,000 accredited energy assessors who produce energy certificates for domestic, public and commercial buildings, and air conditioning inspection reports for air conditioning systems with an effective rated output in excess of 12 kilowatts.
The aim of the proposed revisions to the SORs is to address concerns about both quality and accuracy of energy certificates to enhance consumer protection and tackle concerns about fraud.
THE DCLG has undertaken a review of scheme operations and now wishes to seek views on a number of potential changes to the SORs so that they are better focused on providing adequate consumer protection.
Under the current SORs, schemes are required to carry out quality assurance audits on a random sample of 2% of all energy certificates entered onto the Register with follow-on audits of assessors whose energy certificates have failed. In total, therefore, schemes audit approximately 3% of all energy certificates that are entered onto the Registers. THE DCLG wants to extend the requirements 3%. It also wants to reduce the margin of error allowed. Schemes would still be required to ensure that all assessors are subject to at least one QA check every six months.
Currently, assessors are permitted to have multiple memberships both within one scheme and across a number of different schemes. The effect of this is that it is not always possible to track all of the activity of individual assessors. The DCLG also proposes to introduce a unique ID for each individual assessor would allow all energy certificates connected with an individual to be traced back irrespective of the scheme through which the certificate has been entered onto the Register.
The consultation asks for views on the following questions:
- Should the numbers of audits undertaken be increased?
- Should error margins be tightened?
- Will allocating each energy assessor a unique identification number help to provide safeguards against abuse of Accreditation Scheme systems?
The consultation closes on 6th July 2016. We are formulating our response to the consultation and would welcome your feedback to incorporate into this. To have your say, please email the compliance team at email@example.com or alternatively complete the contact form. To discuss this further please call Melanie Kendall-Reid on 01252 87 87 22.