Disarray in the Energy Assessment Market: Government to take immediate action

December 17, 2012
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The Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) has today called upon the Government to carry out an urgent investigation into the excessively high numbers of accredited and suspended Domestic Energy Assessors (DEA) in the market place.

In figures provided to a member of the Association under a Freedom of Information request, the Department for Communities & Local Government (CLG) has revealed that there is currently in excess of 10,000 registered DEAs, and that almost one in eight of these are currently suspended. Suspensions can occur because of a breach of the regulations such as failure to update a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) record, or failing an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) audit due to a minor technical oversight.

Chairman of the RPSA, Alan Milstein, said: We knew that the Domestic Energy Assessor market was in disarray, but we were not aware just how chaotic the situation had got. On the one hand we have a massive and uncontrolled over-supply of assessors, forcing prices down to unsustainable and uneconomic levels, and dragging quality with it. And on the other hand we have an auditing process so draconian and haphazard that perfectly competent assessors are being prevented from working due to some minor infringement of the over-zealous regulations.

This is a situation that must not be allowed to continue and we call on Government to carry out an urgent review into the whole industry. We need proper regulation of the training for assessors, significantly higher standards across the board, and an auditing process designed to assess DEAs in a real-world working environment, not condemning individuals on nothing more than a piece of paper and a few photographs.

Milstein adds: EPCs are a vital tool to help consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes, cut their fuel bills and of-course reduce carbon emissions. Research by Consumer Focus and the European IDEAL EPBD project found that 15% of people that see the EPC will implement the recommendations, which demonstrates the enormous value of these documents. The Government needs to raise the profile of EPCs and ensure that the quality of the product is taken very seriously.

The RPSA is committed to raising professional standards in residential surveying, including energy assessment. Milstein concluded: Is it any wonder that the general public have so little respect for, and faith in, EPCs? The regulations have created an environment where the lowest possible price is the key motivation to buy, and where assessors are feeling marginalised and de-motivated. With the assessment of energy efficiency climbing higher up the political agenda, it is essential that consumers can have confidence in the advice and information they are being given.

Only accredited energy assessors are allowed to produce Energy Performance Certificates that are a legal requirement for the sale or letting of homes in England and Wales.

Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA)

The RPSA is a representative body for residential surveyors who are accredited by the internationally recognised Building Research Establishment (BRE) and Surveyor And Valuer Accreditation (SAVA), which is part of National Energy Services (NES).

The RPSA is dedicated to working for its members to deliver a range of surveying products of the highest possible quality to serve the needs of consumers, and to raise overall standards of residential surveying for both home sellers and home buyers.

The RPSA is a not for profit limited company that is directed by a council of members, all of whom are board members of the company. The council members each represent a discrete geographical part of the country and act as a point of contact for the RPSA membership in their region.