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EPC and HIPs – market forces?

by mel starrs on March 23, 2007

in Part L

Yvette Cooper estimates we need between 2,500 and 4,500 qualified assessors. She sets out how much setting up HIPs has cost here (£11.7m total). Let’s remind ourselves why HIPs and EPC exist:

The Housing Act 2004 requires that a mandatory Home Information Pack (HIP) is put together on every home that comes to the market from June 1st 2007. Crucially, each pack will contain a mandatory Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

What’s more, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) provides that an Energy Performance Certificate to be provided for all residential lettings no later than January 2009.

The Daily Mail reckons assessors will be earning up to £80,000 a year each. Connells Limited and LSL Property Services plc joint venture, energy-assessors.com reckons £50,000 a year.

200 companies have been set up to ‘cash in’ as the Daily Mail terms it. These are in general micro-independents or KTC*’s (kitchen table consultants). In addition, energy-assessors.com reckon they can provide 870 assessors.

www.energy-assessors.com personnel comprises 300 DEAs, 100 home inspectors, plus 470 chartered surveyors employed by LSL and Connells. Energy-assessors.com said it would also provide training for those wishing to become energy assessors.

In just 12 weeks and for £1,995 you too could be an assessor with them.  Or opt to spend £3,250 with NHER (if you have no previous experience) or £2,750 if you are an experienced practioner.  Again, it takes 12 weeks to get qualified. BRE will charge you £1,700 for their training.

Government has indicated that the only suitable qualifications will be the Home Inspectors Diploma (Level 4 VRQ) or a QCA approved Domestic Energy Assessors (DEA) qualification.  It appears that three different awarding bodies; the Awarding Body in the Built Environment (ABBE), City & Guilds, and the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), will be offering DEA qualifications. The ABBE was the first of these to be approved by QCA towards the end of December, City & Guilds launched on the 23rd January and the NAEA has been approved as of 31st January.

All of the training providers I have mentioned are registered with one or other of these qualifications, but as you can see there is a wide range of prices available.  I’ve not managed to track down how much it would be just to turn up on the day of the exam without training, but it appears there’s a market developing in providing training, never mind the certificates themselves.

As Yvette Cooper keeps reiterating, the price of certificates will be set by ‘the market’. But with the market effectively sewn up with 1/3 of assessors under the same umbrella, is this somewhat compromised? I’m no economist, but I’m sure there must be a theory or name for this?

On a different note, Rat and Mouse have a slightly gloomy asssessment here, with very few of the public actually taking any notice of the proposed rating scheme given the buoyant property market, especially in London.

It looks like Wednesday’s budget (para 7.68) may have answered Yvette’s wish back in September for green mortgages to be linked to EPC’s:

Based on consultation with major banks and building societies, the Government anticipates that these measures and improved energy advice and information have the potential to create a market for ‘green’ financial products designed to help householders invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration installations.

It’s just 10 weeks until 1 June – fun and games ahead…

* “copyright”, JTB