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CLG should address abuses as 'matter of urgency'

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 25-Jan-09 02:01:17 AM

In its first annual report, published Friday, NHER calls on the CLG to be "more prescriptive in the approach that it wishes accreditation schemes to take – particularly in the rigour of quality assurance monitoring". It also reveals how Faber and Maunsell's recent audit of accreditation schemes "highlighted many areas of inconsistencies". Adding: "It also highlighted poor performance of a number of schemes."

Protect the EPC

The report, which all accreditation schemes must publish, covers the period from November 2006 (when parent company, National Energy Services, through its SAVA brand, was first granted approval to operate as an accreditation scheme for Home Inspectors undertaking Home Condition Reports) to September 2008, criticises both practitioners and accreditation schemes for their inconsistent enforcement and understanding of the regulations and guidance from the CLG - particularly in the use of data collectors, which, the report suggests, are being used "without an energy assessor ever visiting the building":

Given the highly competitive commercial market for the provision of EPC and accreditation services, it is inevitable that ambiguity will be exploited in order to reduce costs and win additional work or improve margins. Anecdotal evidence suggests that abuses such as direct use of historical data without sampling to verify it and the extensive use of unqualified data collectors (without the energy assessor ever visiting the building) is occurring. Such practices undermine the qualification and accreditation framework that has been established and need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

It calls on the CLG to impose "relatively strict guidance and robust regulation in order to prevent abuse" and "protect" the EPC "from being undermined".

Phase-in Home Condition Reports

Although only 190 HCRs had been lodged through the SAVA scheme since August 2007 (when Home Information Packs (HIPs) became mandatory), the company has not yet abandoned all faith. It wants Government to "keep to its original commitment" made in 2006 - when the then Planning and Housing Minister said: "mandatory HCRs will remain on the table if the industry fails to make a success of the roll out of HCRs [on a voluntary basis]" - and recommends a phased implementation beginning with "small, pre-1970 dwellings", which, the report claims, would have the greatest benefit and likely appeal to first-time buyers.


As of 30th September 2008, the scheme enjoyed a total membership (counted once) of 2,331 across all disciplines at that time (DEA, CEA Level 3 & 4, OCDEA and PBEA), whom held an "active" status on the Central Register.

Membership on 30th Sept 2008. Members may belong to more than one category
Membership typeTotalDiplomaVia APEL
CEA Level 3 30 25 5
CEA Level 4 1 1 0
DEA 2,031 2,026 5
OCDEA 342 0 342
PBEA 3 2 1


"large number of assessors are producing low numbers of reports"
Lodgements by existing and lapsed members as at 30 Sept 2008
Report typeLodgedMean per assessorMedian per assessor
EPC 339,100 121.45 32
OCEPC 49,440 144.56 15
PEA 66,927 195.69 25.5
CEPC L3 22 0.73 0
DEC and AR 6 2 0

Both mean and median totals are calculated against total number of members, whether or not they have lodged reports.

Median is the 'middle number in an ordered set of data including all the assessors who have not lodged any reports i.e. including all the zeros.'

The report explains: "The fact that the median is so much lower than the mean indicates that a large number of assessors are producing low numbers of reports and the mean is being influenced by relatively few assessors who issue large numbers of reports. For example, half of our OCDEAs have issued less than 60 reports although the average number issued is 144."


The scheme conducts 4 desk audits and 1 site audit per year on "members who were consistently active".

Out of 3,821 desk audits, 97% (CLG requirement: 90%) were within the 5 (+/-) SAP points target; and 97% within (+/-) 10 SAP points (CLG requirement: 95%).

Of the 735 site audits undertaken, 99.5% came within the same 5 (+/-) target; 99.2% within (+/-) 10 SAP points.

1% of EPCs issued had poor or incomplete site notes.


The accreditation scheme received 129 complaints from homeowners - most of which related to RdSAP conventions. Only six were identified as errors on the part of the assessor.

Company results

National Energy Services posted a profit of £231,214 (-£205,069) for the year ending 30th November 2007 on turnover of £8,598,628, up from £1,894,183 the previous year - a rise of 354%

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