Training as a property professional – energy assessors express outrage

Domestic Energy Assessors are wondering if there will be ever any reporting of their industry that they feel represents ‘real’ life by the main stream journalists after an article in the Daily Express.

The Daily Express recently publish an ‘article’ by Ben West titled ‘Assess your options’ with prominent advertising and details of training companies offering the energy assessor training courses. The ‘article’ has caused widespread dismay from many existing energy assessors as they feel it does not portray an accurate picture of the ‘needs’ of the market place.

Industry bodies and individual domestic energy assessors have highlighted sections of the article which they feel could be misleading to those considering training as a domestic energy assessor; such as the first opening sentence.

“The need for all homes sold or let in England and Wales to have an EPC has created vacancies for thousands of specialist assessors”

There certainly was a need for energy assessors but whether this still applies is very much debatable. Most property professional who have dealings with EPCs in some regard will tell you there is an oversupply of energy assessors at present with numbers which seem to be still growing.

Paul Walker a committee member of the Institute of Energy Assessors (IDEA) stated that they have “received many letters and emails, from our members, commenting on the “Assess your options” article that appeared in The Daily Express on Thursday 15 October 2009. “

“Our members have already been let down by this government and wish to stop even more people wasting their money on a “promise” of work and high earnings made by training companies who are well aware that there are too many assessors already.”

The Institute find this article to be misleading on the following counts;
“The need for all homes sold or let in England and Wales to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) has created vacancies for thousands of specialist assessors”

This is very misleading to the general public. The government have stated that 3000 Energy Assessors are required to cover England and Wales. There are already over 13000 qualified assessors available.

“Demand”

The institute are of the opinion that this heading portrays a “suggestion” of a demand for the skills of an Energy Assessor and so employment. The only mention of demand in this paragraph is that it “Would not demand too much” of Ms Walsh’s time.

“Picture of clip board.”

The picture within the article contains the wording “NEW ROLE: Energy assessors”
Domestic Energy Performance Certificate has been required by law since 2007. Therefore the role of Domestic Energy Assessor is not new.

The Institute find this article to be inaccurate on the following counts;
“Assessors can acquire further skills to become home inspectors, drawing up home improvement packs (HIPs)”

  • HIPs stands for Home Information Packs, not Home Improvement Packs.
  • Home inspectors do not draw up HIPs as part of that qualification.

The Institute of Energy Assessors find that the article to be misleading and inaccurate. The Institute also feels there was a failure to clearly define the difference between the Domestic Assessor and Non Domestic Energy Assessor.

IDEA have written to the Daily Express expressing the Institute’s concerns over the article. We will await the Editors reply before deciding on IDEA’s next course of action.

Jonathon Parkes of Midland Assess Energy Ltd an experienced property professional, domestic and non-domestic (commercial) level 3&4 energy assessor expressed concern at the way the industry was being portrayed within the Daily Express article.

“The commercial energy assessor market place is becoming awash with assessors. Though like the DEA world there was gold in it for those that were early on the scene. Now with fees tumbling in places to very low levels, £100 plus lodgement, it is hard to see how the figures quoted by training providers can be justified. I get calls from people either newly qualified or towards their courses asking for help or potential subcontract work and I have to be brutally honest and say there isn’t much I can do for them. The deflation is almost palpable. The people selling the courses have built the hopes up far too high and reality far too low. Some of the chaps who have paid out thousands of pounds do not have the experience and understanding to pass the exams and evidence. The training companies don’t really mind though as this gives them opportunities for re-assessment fees and further training.

If you are interested in training do some market research and see if there is scope and profit for another Energy Assessor in your area, but remember the following:

  1. Most Solicitors, Estate Agents and Surveyors have been contacted many times already and unless you offer something like cheaper fees or a larger referral fee you won’t get the work.
  2. This is the busiest we will ever be with few properties already assessed and many assessors have no work.
  3. Remember all the Home Inspectors with no career after the requirement for the Home Condition Report was made voluntary?

There is a new government going to be happening next year who are already committed to the removal of Home Information Packs (HIPs), I can’t imagine they won’t make similar waves in the commercial property sector.”

Becoming and training as a property professional may seem an attractive proposition; from our experience and research it may not provide the returns one could assume and be lead to believe. You should take time and careful consideration before committing to a training course.

As ever we look forward to your views and comments below and would especially welcome comments from training providers running these courses.


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6 Responses to “Training as a property professional – energy assessors express outrage”

  1. […] Training as a property professional – energy assessors express outrage […]

  2. Yet, STILL this page carries an ‘ad’ for Energylink.co to train Energy Assessors for £899!!!

    Is the income from such trainers more important to hipconsultant.co.uk than honesty!! Whose side are you on!

  3. Hi Mike

    Yes, we choose to run advertising on our site. Google adsense displays ads relevant to the visitor and page, the ad you mention we cannot see.

    Because the site is written in php the template pulls ads for all pages with that template and Google chooses the ads relevant to that page. You can not control individual pages as you can with a static site.

    Mike, I fail to see how you correlate advertising with levels of honesty.

  4. I trained a few years ago with Property Professionals
    (then HIT) – it cost me over £9,000 and half way through the government axed the HCR! However I do take issue with those who have trained and then been unable to secure work themselves blaming it all on the ‘training companies’as if all are conmen and liars. There are and will continue to be serious people in the energy assessment industry who go out of their way to offer a good grounding in these disciplines and I am pleased and privileged to have helped over 100 people to gain NDEA qualifications over the past 18 months or so. I feel desperately sorry for the people taken for a ride by unscrupulous operators such as the ones that have recently demised, but I cannot help feeling that some basic research and the application of the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is…might have helped. The organisation I work for does not offer DEA training to the general public and has not done so for over 18 months. We even suggest on our website that people speak to us before they sign up for DEA – and our advice is always the same: if you don’t have a guaranteed source of instructions then don’t do it!
    The basic problem is that because it is a government requirement, people were told that clients would beat a path to their door. This is no more true of energy assessment than any other profession or calling.
    I have many previous candidates who are earning well as commercial assessors despite the woeful lack of enforcement action. Is there a limit on the numbers of plumbers, or surveyors, or fishmongers? If the demand for electricians drops are colleges told to stop training new ones? Of course not! The idea is preposterous. However we are starting to see the conmen and liars drop by the wayside. The industry is starting to mature. If we could just get rid of some of the ‘Hip Me Quick’ sector who don’t care one iota about quality of their product and some of the dodgier panels then perhaps we could start to mature as individual operators as well. If you want a vibrant successful sector, you must have competition, and you might consider refusing to work for low paying panels and cheapy operators. I have in the past taken other unrelated jobs to bridge the gaps rather than feed these parasites by accepting their low paid rubbish jobs. Assessors who are determined to offer a quality service, with value added features will ultimately win out. People may not care about quality now, but they will once the product we provide gains acceptance and other issues such as taxation etc become related to it. Approach with caution – by all means. Do your research diligently – absolutely. But please don’t tar all of us with the same brush. Some companies just want to sell courses. Others want to sell courses because that is what they do, but also want to turn out well grounded and properly educated assessors as well. And that is a perfectly proper part of a maturing and functioning market. Market forces will limit numbers – we all accept that! A maturing market will sort out the early day cowboys from the more serious operators. That is what we are seeing now.

    A few questions to ask a training company…
    Why are you so cheap? Or of course inversely.. Why are you so expensive? Either extreme can spell trouble!
    Do I have to go out and buy expensive additional books?
    Do you set unrealistic time deadlines and if so why? I am an individual and demand to be treated as one.
    Are there additional charges involved that you haven’t told me about? Don’t get conned – make them tell you everything up front and put it in writing.
    Can I have my trainer’s direct dial mobile phone number for post course support? ( This one will sort out the wheat from the chaff)
    Can I speak to previous candidates?

    And to ask yourself?

    Am I doing this because I want to offer a quality product at a fair price and I have a genuine interest in the energy efficiency market- or am I solely in it for the money? ( we all want to earn a good living but the former motive helps produce the latter one)
    Do I possess the necessary skills and detemination to go out and get my own business? If not – don’t contemplate going self employed.
    Can I really apply myself to the hard work involved in learning these disciplines properly? Don’t be misled – it is eminently possible but not easy and some training companies pricing sturctures bank on you dropping out – even encouraging it by their lack of support.

    Finally consider when and how you will be able to devote time to the studies and the portfolio work. A good training company will provide all the help and support you ask for, but none can do it for you!

  5. Hi, I am new to blogging but have been involved in electrical engineering for over 30years now. Your article is good reading! Do I have to click a button or something to subscribe on this blog as I would like to check back now and then. All the best

  6. mark rackstraw Says:

    hi, as a trainee that has passed all the course exams and the ABBE exam and completeing 7 off the required 10 properties towards the Dip HI level 4 portfolio,i was shocked to find that the training centre had gone into administration.so 10 grand down(as i have bought all the tools)i thought that other companys may have been able to help BRE training wanted 41/2 grand to assess my portfolio,stroma can’t help as now i have now gone over my time, most other companys want about 3 grand to assess my portfolio work. yes cheers.and then when you are recovering from the kick in the left testile the government rips of your scrotum.anybody care? anybody want to help,no. its a big sod off why cant we claim some recompence from the government or the C L G.
    ex trainee with property professionals.

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