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Interim report finds none compliant

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 26-Sep-08 03:54:13 PM

Another meeting of the DEA Workshop convened Tuesday (23rd Sept) to report on progress made since the last meeting on 5th August 2008 (see DEA Workshop with the CLG).

Joseph Pestell, in attendance on behalf of the Institute of Home Inspection (IHI), once again brings us up to date.

The main topic of the day was presented by Richard John of Faber Maunsell, a firm of consulting engineers engaged by the CLG until June 2009, who is conducting a study into the performance of accreditation schemes.

In its interim report, Mr John thought none of the accreditation schemes were completely compliant with CLG guidelines but noted that some in particular were a long way from compliance.

12 months to comply

Accreditation schemes are to be encouraged to raise their game in the first instance but if any of the lowest performers haven't done so in 12 months time, they could lose their licence.

In the meantime, the lowest performing accreditation schemes will be monitored more frequently.

Conflicting interests

Mr John also questioned how some of the schemes' roles within the industry might conflict with others - not sure about the specifics of that although we can probably all take a guess.

The CLG conceded some of the blame for the above, however, pointing to ambiguities within their own guidelines for accreditation schemes; although none of the examples given - definition of "query" or "complaint" for instance - relate to anything above.

The accreditor of accreditors

Faber Maunsell will be recommending a body to oversee accreditation scheme standards before their engagement ends next June (something Philip Salaman (Quidos) and I discussed on the last podcast). Presumably it will be this new body that gets to judge their performance in 12 months time.

CLG are cogitating on how the results of the audit may be published; Faber Maunsell are looking to aggregate their findings into a pie chart.

Standards of Domestic Energy Assessment

Other topics discussed included standards of work - or lack of - by some DEAs.

Johnathan Bramhall, presumably a CLG bod, is keen to receive hard evidence of "malpractice". Despite the stories of incompetence, he said they were only anecdotal so cannot be taken to the accreditation schemes for action.

(I guess the only people they are willing to listen to on this, are ultimately wronged members of the public and/or estate agents. Afterall, it's hardly in anybody else's interest to report DEAs, so where do we go from here? It's not as if the public know what's expected (looking in the loft?).)

Estate agents and Trading Standards

A campaign is scheduled shortly to remind estate agents of their duty to comply with HIP regulations. But again, without hard evidence, Mr Bramhall said he can not approach Trading Standards.

(Maybe it would be a good idea to spell out exactly what constitutes "hard evidence" - a signed confession perhaps?)

He does admit, though, that a lot of Trading Standards officers are paying little attention to the matter and advises they be reminded that Local Authorities get to keep any fines.

He urged more reports of malpractice to be submitted.

Training providers

Trading Standards are not interested in the practices of training providers either, apparently, at least in Sussex where they wouldn't return Mr Bramhall's calls.

He is taking up the matter with its Chief Executive.

He has also been in touch with Kingston Trading Standards too - home of Home Inspector Training Ltd. No outcome was reported.

Mr Bramhall is also disappointed with the Advertising Standards Authority which similarly conveyed little interest in his enquiries.

CLG asked for advertisements.

However, a meeting is taking place today (24th September 2008) between CLG and the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS) to discuss regulation of private training providers of all ilks.

If this industry achieves anything of good for this country, DEAs should at least feel proud of any meaningful regulation that results from efforts in this area... if!

Landmark search

A common - and understandable - gripe with lots of energy assessors is the randomised search results members of the public receive when using the various EPC registers.

Work is currently underway on improving this based on advice from the DEA Workshop - All agreed that a filter for postcode and/or distance would be a better way to go with national flexibility for non-dom DEAs who are more likely to travel further... well, they can afford to can't they!

The search facility is expected to be complete by Christmas.

On Thursday this week, the CLG meet with accreditation schemes when they will no doubt learn of Faber Maunsell's findings.

Summarising the meeting, Joseph Pestell told me: "Once again it was a very positive meeting. CLG are clearly taking action on the points that have been raised since we had the first meeting back in June, and, indeed, actually making quite rapid progress with a lot of them too".

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Posts: 1
Re: Interim report finds none compliant
Reply #1 on : Sat September 27, 2008, 14:42:25
Firstly I'm pleased to see that CLG are working on postcode search basis for the ndepcregister but frankly to hope to have it ready by Christmas some 2 to 3 months after the full start of Non Dom EPC's is pathetic. When I contacted them way back in early June they were already aware of the problem - as the domestic register already has this facility the basic computer programming is already done so I can't see why there needs to be any delay at all. CLG's suggestion that you contact the accreditation schemes direct for names and contact details of assessors is essentially useless as most schemes refuse to disclose such information because of the Data Protection Act.Will the upgrade also include the search facility for those premises already having an EPC as promised in the latest regulations?

I'm somewhat confused as to why a firm of Consulting Engineers, however reputable they may be, would be the ideal organisation to carry out a review of the Accreditation Schemes surely a body such as the OFT that has no direct commercial interest in Energy Assessment would be more appropriate.
Posts: 1
Re: Interim report finds none compliant
Reply #2 on : Sat September 27, 2008, 15:02:44
Good points, John.

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