Home Inspector Training – a viable career ?

Home Inspector (HI) and Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) training has had claims attached to it of large potential earnings for those qualifying and practicing in this field.

In response to a high levels of comments left on the article (at time of writing nearly a 100 comments) ‘Should I train as a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) ?’ we felt it would be beneficial to specifically explore the Home Inspector (HI) qualification and its potential further.

The Home Inspector qualification was designed to fulfill the Home Condition Report (HCR) requirement within the Home Information Pack. Initially, it was planned that the HCR would be a mandatory component within the HIP though was in fact made an optional document. Professionals within the industry and none more so than those that qualified as a Home Inspector near its’ inception will tell you that there has been very little to no demand for the HCR due to it being made voluntary.

Today, the Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors (IDEA) released research and figures that have not been widely publicised by the Communities and Local Government (CLG).

Figures recently revealed by CLG officially disclose that up until the 18th of October this year a total of 1,824 Home Condition Reports (HCR’s) have been lodged with Landmark. To put this figure in context, for the same period over 1 million Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) were lodged with Landmark.

This figure is as most within the industry would have imagined. It is envisaged that a large proportion were undertaken in the early days of the Home Information Pack implementation.

Jim Gillespie the chairman of IDEA stated “This figure will not come as a shock to those individuals, myself included, who trusted this Government when they sold the prospect of training as a Home Inspector as a “gilt edged” opportunity back in 2005/6. When Yvette Cooper made the now infamous “u turn” announcement back in July 2006 there were approximately 3,500 individuals training towards the NVQ level 4 Home Inspector qualification and at the time Government went on record as saying that 7,500 Home Inspectors would be required. Mass confusion ensued thereafter as many trainee Home Inspectors simply walked away from this sorry mess feeling conned and duped by the Government

Based upon the figures above, only 1 in 2 Home Inspectors would have actually completed even one HCR.

However, the Home Inspector training course is still being widely advertised and this is understandably causing concern towards those considering investing substantial sums of money, in the region of £6,000.

Jim Gillespie said “An unregulated training provider regime resulted in a plethora of training companies springing up nationwide to cash in on this “lucrative” new industry. Once more the Government were reluctant to intervene when it quickly became blatantly obvious that far too many people were now being trained as DEA’s. Once more accurate figures from Government have been hard to come by but I am lead to believe that we have a situation whereby as many as 14,000 people have commenced a DEA training courses since they began. It is obvious that many of these individuals quickly learnt thereafter that the career path they had dreamed of before commencing their training was not actually the reality as only approximately 7,300 of them then went on to accreditation which is mandatory before they can trade as a DEA.

As one can imagine; many training providers are not supplying this information to those enquiring about the viability of becoming a Home Inspector and it is felt by many that some continue to ‘sell’ the course as a viable ‘money making’ possibility.

HIP-Consultant.co.uk are pleased that this issue is being brought to light further and it is evident that those that do their research prior to enrolling on the course can amongst the training providers’ adverts find the ‘reality’ of the situation.

But what else can be done?

Jim Gillespie expressed, “Unbelievably, with this backdrop of u turns, false promises and shattered dreams there are still training providers who continue to recruit and train prospective Home Inspectors or DEA’s to this day. IDEA continues to lobby Government and liaise with the Advertising Standards Authority in an attempt to stop these training providers encouraging people with no industry experience or existing professional contacts to commence training as an Energy Assessor and particularly as a Home Inspector as the fact that only 1,824 HCR’s have been carried out to date is surely irrefutable evidence that as long as the HCR remains optional the general public are simply not interested in paying for them.

HIP-Consultant.co.uk welcomes and looks forward to your comments.


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30 Responses to “Home Inspector Training – a viable career ?”

  1. Home Inspectors have been treated awfully by CLG. Full stop.

    Only a couple of firms seem to be doing anything about it (e.g. the Home Condition Survey product, and what RICS is doing).

    What are the member organisations doing to help? Can they do anything? Is there any lobbying to make the HCS mandatory again? But what would happen to the many thousands of domestic energy assessors?

    It is a curious state of affairs, and all created by CLG. HIs (and even DEAs) are the losers.

  2. Those who trained as HI’S have been shafted by this Government, many have forked out £10,000 for a Qualification that this Government promoted, that has no “mandatory use” and in my own opinion never will.

    I believe that the only HCR/HBS that wil ever have a chance of being mandatory is one that is by RICS Surveyors,after all they and CML won the battle with the Government to have the HCR dropped to “voluntary” because it did not have to be produced by their memebers, as this is whats happening North of the Border which I see as a trial for England and Wales, unfortunately for those who trained as HI’S to produce the HCR for the HIP this is long time dead, the Government avoid even discussing the HCR now!

    The HCR was and is an excellent product that would would of brought British Home Buying Process into the 21st Century( how can we spend £200k on property with no “required” survey in a developed country?). Our Home Purchasing needs a mandatory “report/survey” in this country, it should of been mandatory along time ago, shame on this Government for the misery it has caused so many people and their families who trained as a HI.

  3. What a load of rubbish this all is. We the public do not require all this additional nanny state fiasco.
    What are the government after, some additional VAT? Well, with house sales down to nearly zero, I can’t see anyone earning a living at this. This is typical Labour party meddling. They have no idea. I look forward to this bureaucracy becoming a distant memory.

  4. Dear Sirs,

    At last a report that would appear to be delivering some clarity regarding the real Home Inspector and DEA market.

    As a person recently made redundant and with an interest in the property market i attended an interview with a major training organisation who claimed that sister organisations that they worked with had more work than they could cope with. These sister comapnies had to look for exterenal DEA’s and HI’s. I was seriously interested and ready to sign up to a £9k course. After the best part of a days research i have found that:-
    1) After phone calls to them, the “sister companies” do not have a surplus of work and are only looking for Non Domestic Energy assessors to join their panel. This entry is shortly to close.
    2) RICS have closed their course saying that the general lack of work and their belief that the process has shortcomings means that they cannot continue to train personnel (At least someone with a comparatively respectable standpoint).
    3) Variuos Web site forums where their is a general disgust at the money that is being taken from unsuspecting individuals.
    4) Despite the over supply of trained personnel, Traing organisations continue to train at a relentless pace. When i visited this one they had two office block floors full of people being trained and a bank of interview rooms where prospective victims were being interviewed (3 or 4 moving in or out whilst i was being interviewed). This organisation has offices on this scale at 4 major cities around the UK.

    This is a mess created by Government which has the result that people are having money taken off them under false pretences. They are achieving this by making spurious claims of work availability and giving themselves the respectability of being a government accredited organisation.

    It is about time that Government got their house in order to make sure that the people it claims so proudly to represent do not continue to lose large sums of money to training organisations acting for one of its accredited schemes.

    I for one will not be handing money over and thank you for putting the facts so succinctly. This should be on one of the consumer programms again.

  5. Can anyone out there say anything positive about DEA,CEA, HIPS training? Does anyone make a living out of this type of work? what are the future prospects? are there any trained DEAs that regret becoming one?

  6. If anyone is interested in becoming a DEA/HI,then for goodness sake DON`T DO IT.I thought the idea sounded great and was sucked in by the spiel from the “salesmen”.I now stand to lose around £10,000 from my naivity.It wasn`t until after I signed the contract that I found out some things I didn`t really want to know , if you understand what I mean.There are many others like myself ( thank goodness I`m not alone , although I`d rather not be here ), we are fighting to get our money back.

  7. hypednothipped Says:

    chris 14 dec i know how u feel we hv been conned big style as these courses cost 1000s not 100s i neva started my course despite paying all monies in full im hoping 2 get my fee back as i was unwell pls wish me luck i wd gladly support any petitions etc to lobby the gov and any of these training institutes as usual the poor and innocent have been conned!

  8. Hi
    I did a training course with a really good company called (name removed).
    They were up front, saying that they would not sell me the HI’s course as they feel it is a rip off. There is no point in spending £6k + for something where you will get next to no work.
    Instead they advised me if I “wanted” to enter the Energy Assessment market to qualify as a DEA, and do the Domestic Energy Assessment course for about a 3rd of the price.
    It has taken me 8 weeks to complete the course, and now I am doing really well as just got a contract with a council to do there houses, after the EF was approached about the contract, but it wasnt in there area, so they passed it out to their qualified candidates.
    So you said you wanted positive feedback. Hopefully this has given you some, to show not all training organisations are just after you cash.

  9. Hi Adi,

    I have removed the training company name from the above post you left, because the email server attached to the IP address you sent the message from was from the same training company name!!!

  10. Re hypednothipped Dec 21.Good luck in getting your cash back , if you do I will be very surprised.There are many many unhappy people out there who have been trying for a year now to get their money back , but so far no success.Having said that , don`t give up , no-one will until they get what they want . I`ll lay a bet on you signed up with a certain company with offices in (city name removed) and three other major cities.Just keep on to them DO NOT GIVE UP .Once again good luck and keep in contact.

  11. donna hammersley Says:

    i was taken in by what i thought was an advert looking for people to train as E.A’s, work provided on qualifying. the interview was exactly the same as a job interview & i was carried away by all the lies that i would be able to earn up to 1k a week!so the £5694 ‘training fee’ seemed well worth it! what they didnt tell you until i’d signed up is that there are additional fees (to the tune of £1000) for exam fees/portfolio guidance etc (exscuse me for being stupid, but training fees usually cover everything it takes to qualify)then i discover that their false promises are based on lies,i have asked for a refund.firstly they told me this wasnt possible, then, when i didnt meekly go away, they offered me a part-refund but said i had to sign a form saying i wouldnt tell anyone!! this company is (sorry, had to remove training company name), i want to hear of other people in similiar situations, i am only one person, but i’m damned if i’m going to let them carry on ripping people off!! om-shanti@hotmail.co.uk

  12. I am shocked, I heard a friend of mine was going into this and thought ‘what a great idea, maybe that is something I could do’…

    I can’t see how this could be so wrong, if every house that is sold requires one, then surely there is money to be made by everyone.

  13. I am currently completing an HI / DEA course and have to grit my teeth and somehow find the determination and will-power to do countless hours of work and study and endure many exams and additional expenses, towards a qualification (re: HCR’s) which will not be required.

    We have also been fed so much BS from the course providers, it’s difficult not to shout ‘Don’t do it!’ to the new innocent victims they constantly bring in for interview. The training company has changed its name 3 times now!

    We have also been informed (from a high up source) that the HCR is definitely NOT on the agenda with regards to the sale of homes in England and that it is possibly going to be replaced with an alternative method of assessment currently being co-ordinated by RICS. Where people who have spent the money and time on the current HI course, will most probably have to take up further study and expenses.

    These changes considerably change what was a career option in ‘Inspection’ to ‘Surveying’. A career move, which many of us, would certainly not have originally undertaken.

    Incidentally the new concept (possibly to be called a ‘Home Survey Report) – has been in the pipeline for quite a while now, even despite the fact that a course is still being promoted and sold around a form of inspection (the HCR) which is not ever going to be instigated. Of which the course providers and CLG are very aware!

    It is also remarkable and somewhat ironic that RICS originally opposed the HCR. Reliable sources indicate that RICS was considerably put out by the HCR due to the fact that it would take away a huge segment of work from the ‘buyers’ market, as they would be taken out of the equation for generating the majority of work for the requirement of surveys. (One survey often generating multiple commissions through buyers interested in the same property) Whereas, only one HCR would have been necessary for a seller to share out to all potential buyers.

    It has come to our attention that the Government and CLG knew back in 2006 that they would not be seeing the HCR through, yet they still allowed thousands of people to sign up to a redundant course and future. I personally signed up in August 2008. It is very obvious that the Government and CLG devised something revolutionary and then gave up on it in the throws of its birth.

    The DEA side has also been allowed to go down the toilet, where it has been unmonitored and where it has allowed unaccredited individuals to undermine its validity and worth.

    I along with a majority of others tied into this course and it’s adverse contract, resent the Government and CLG for introducing the HCR and the course designed around it. Many of us have forked out thousands of pounds under false pretences. Many risking finances as well as undergoing personal sacrifices and controversy at every turn.

    We will in due course (once we have completed the course – due to us being tied into very strict stipulations with high financial penalties) try to take the Government to task about this and will be seeking reimbursement. We will; with advice, be finding a way of setting up a Partition for people who have taken up the HI course.

    Here is a copy of some correspondence a colleague of mine has recently obtained from Allen Stephen from the CLG ‘Home, Buying and Selling Unit, after he had written to ask them about the future for HCR’.

    Several of us have found it to be considerably contradictive.

    Interpret what you will!

    KR S

    Dear Mr *****

    Thank you for your e-mail of 6 March to the Housing Minister Margaret Beckett concerning Home Condition Reports/Home Inspectors. I have been asked to reply as I am responsible for this policy area.

    The status of the Home Condition Report (HCR) was changed from a mandatory to an authorised (i.e. optional) component of the Home Information Pack (HIP) in July 2006 as it became clear that many lenders would still require a second survey and the benefits had not been as fully tested as we would have liked. In those circumstances, we concluded that promoting the HCR, as a voluntary addition to the mandatory pack was the right way forward. The Government’s position on the HCR has not changed since then.
    We believe that the consumer should be better informed about any property they are looking to buy before making what is undoubtedly one of the biggest purchases of their lives. We also believe that people want information about the condition of homes before they commit to buying them. The HCR was designed to provide this valuable information but it is now clear that take-up of the HCR to date has been disappointing and the product as it stands is not seen as the right one by both consumers and the industry.
    The Minister made a statement in the House of Commons on Monday 8 December 2008, during which she announced that she would establish a working group to explore options for making sure that consumers have appropriate information about a property’s condition. This group is comprised of various stakeholders within the home buying and selling process, and they are working with this Department to devise ways of increasing the voluntary uptake of HCR’s. I am pleased to say that the Condition Working Group has already met twice.

    I hope that this letter serves to reassure you that positive, proactive steps are being taken by the Government to increase the employment opportunities for Home Inspectors in the future.
    Yours sincerely,
    Allan Stephen
    Communities and Local Government
    Home Buying and Selling Unit
    4/B6
    Eland House
    Bressenden Place
    London SW1E 5DU

  14. It would seem that even from conception til present time the HCR in its present format was doomed what with so many professional bodies against it.
    cant see the wood for the tress springs to mind,
    When a good idea is benfical to a market what does everyone do, knock it down.
    Oh its more work , an added exspense, we’ll loose money over this blah blah blah.
    As usual government doesnt have the backbone to see this idea through.
    It makes all the right noises, give companies the go ahead to train people allows them (not all, one in particular)to mis-sell, falsely advertise,
    Take thosands not hundreds of pounds of people to train as HI’s knowing there future will not be as the slick advertising made it out to be. government says …??? just turns a blind eye.
    The bubble bursts.

    There are a thousands out there who have parted with thier hard earned, qualified in this “new profession” for what!!
    to be left on the wayside as another government stastistic?

    The governments indecision, u-turns,change of dates, lethergy in its lack of promotion to make the public more aware of the HCR beggers belief.
    Ok we all know the present climate credit crunch, housing market dead in the water do not help the HCR and HI’s but I say nows the time to make the HCR mandatory then full steam ahead making the public and others fully aware of the HCR and its purpose.
    Give everybody time to get use to the idea while things are slow.
    Otherwise whats next where is the momentum to come from?
    Maybe ALL HI’s should get together and start making their voices heard.

  15. I too feel somewhat of a victim of the training provider subject of this discussion, although feel that financial redress is more likely to have to come from the government. I would like to know if any other trainee HI has sought or is considering legal action with a view to getting their money back. If so I would like to know their details and beleive that to stand any chance of success, we need to act together!!

    Please get in touch

    Stuart Brown

    stuart.brown707@btinternet.com

  16. I have just taken my abbe exam and with the way things are with the so called hcr i feel totally ripped off missled and disheartened about the whole course.i still have 9 hcrs to do but whats the point? total con a high qualification from a not worker friendly course.I will gladly join any petition group in regards getting any money back

    pls e mail me

    neilhenshaw1968@hotmail.com

  17. To Stuart and Neil and anybody else out there who wants to take a stand against the government for wasting our time and money – We WILL be fighting! but give us a bit longer to finish the course – as there are so many legal implications with the awful contract…

    B in touch – but have to finish the contract!!!!

  18. With you 100%, Sharon! I passed my ABBE exam in May and have
    become part of a little study group of other trainees working on our portfolios.
    There are too many inconsistencies and inaccurate information being given to the trainees to be acceptable. There be NO work
    for qualified HIs and this also applies to Commercial Energy Inspectors….Industry has already sidestepped that requirement with Data collectors. DEAs…there are simply too many of them.

    You can get me on ” old (dot) jeffers (at) dsl (dot) pipex (dot) com “

  19. The HCR was misconceived. I am sorry for those who parted with their money to train as HIs, but am glad there is no work for them. Here’s why. An HCR done by a newly qualified HI is not likely to be very thorough. You cannot rush people through a hastily designed course and expect them to be instant experts. Building Analysis is not easy. Even experienced builders, surveyors and engineers often find it hard to know exactly what is going on in a building, especially one that suffers from multiple problems, as so many older houses do.

    I have commissioned surveys from respectable surveyors, and they have missed things that subsequently came to light. In one case the surveyor missed the fact that in a new addition there was no power to any of the sockets because the wiring had not been installed. Would you have checked every socket in a house? (Be honest.)

    The HCR is a one size fits all survey which is moderately expensive and suffers from three major drawbacks:
    1. It is paid for by the seller. Regardless of the independence of the HIs and the probity of the seller many purchasers will believe that a report paid for by the seller will put the best face on things.
    2. It cannot be varied. Instructions cannot be given by the buyer along the lines of: can I knock that wall down and open those two rooms? Buyers often commission surveys precisely because they have such questions, and they tend to be specific to individual buyers.
    3. No costs are given. When a buyer has a survey done he will often say: find out what is wrong and give me a rough idea of what it will cost. This then forms part of the price negotiations with the seller. With an HCR, the buyer has to look at the report and then commission someone else to see how much it will cost to fix the problems – which may in effect mean getting a second survey done.

    It might be said that the virtue of the HCR would be that sellers would commission an HCR, find out what was wrong with their house and not market it until they had fixed the problems. They would then have to pay for a second HCR when they put their house on the market. The problem here is many poorer sellers will not have the cash to pay for HCRs and repairs or improvements and will sell their house “as is.” Their only option is to take whatever they can get for the property in its current condition.

    The last reason I am glad that HCRs have not been implemented is that the country has saved itself about £300 million (if a million energy Reports have been done to date, then at an average of £300 this is the extra cost of the HCRs.) Most of those HCRs would have joined the HIP in the wastepaper basket. HIPs themselves are causing home owners to spend hundreds of millions a year on largely futile documents, we do not need HCRs to add to the waste paper.

    The next government may see the light and take the whole business away from the civil servants who have been (mal) administering it. Or, even better, they could scrap the whole thing. While they are at it they could read the EU legislation on EPCs and notice that an EPC is only needed every ten years, and that a fairly minimal document.

  20. I have been considering a franchise opportunity offered by a training organisation tp produce HIPs/EPCs and do searches. They train you through the exams on HIPs DEA and searches. They set you up with a webpage, get you your first contract with an estate agent/lettings agent/solicitor etc and provide back up support. Cost nearly £4,995 + VAT.(Apparently halff thenormal fee!) Am I very likely to be wasting my time and money. Reading previous posts it doesn’t look good. Feedback appreciated asap.

  21. I completed the course about 3 years ago but never submitted my portfolio although completed my final exams. I have put it behind me now as the u turn was made during my training so i couldnt have forseen what was going to happen. The money I lost however still rankles as I feel I was duped and the government was responsible, there was alot of bad feeling back then and alot of talk about action, but has anyone achieved a successfull legal settlement with the government?

  22. Tim Richardson Says:

    Mondo, Don’t do it, you will never get your money back, the franchise is a total con. If there was any mileage whatsoever in this market it has long been taken over by the total oversupply.

  23. […] Providers (FPIP) recruit on Mike Ockenden (AHIPP) interview – the future of HIPsSimon Hare on Home Inspector Training – a viable career ?HIP-Consultant.co.uk on Conservative Home Information Pack policy to stall property market?Darcy […]

  24. This whole process is typical of government mismanagement and incompetence. Thousands of people have spent up to twelve grand on these training courses and would have been better off putting the money on a horse. The government must now compensate all these victims not just for the money lost on the training schemes; but for loss of earnings since. All these ‘qualified’ inspecters were supposed to be earning over £35,000, p.a.minimum. The whole thing is quite immoral.

  25. Mark Coetzee Says:

    I fell into the trap as well, they said that theyr were only taking on people who they felt could pass the course and do the job!!! What a load of #$%^. I paid by debit card, does anyone know if I can get my money back? If you do could you please let me know as I would like to get my 7500 pounds back so I can put it to good use. If not what else could I do? Is there a group I can join?

  26. went to law dont seem confident what a bloody conn. there is hoe misrepresentation . please reply

  27. I got to module 5 at a training centre in manchester and fell ill and have been unable to continue and lost heart after seeing what a con the whole thing is, this was back in 2008 and after reading some of your comments on here i think it is awful and aparently one of the directors of the training centre i went to was a labour mp and we were told that their was contractual work on qualifying .
    i lost about 9000 with travel hotels ect at least and will support any action on people trying to get money back

    regards Carl

  28. I FEEL AN INJUSTICE ALSO. CAN WE JUST GET OUR MONEY BACK UNDER SOME KIND OF MISSLED SALES OR FALSE PROMISES LAW. THEY WERE TELLING US ON THE COURSE ABOUT HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY PROFESSIONALISM AND THEY CANT EVEN DO IT THEMSELVES. HYPOCRITES

  29. Paul Rutland Says:

    I am with everyone trying to claim back any funds here. I am just coming to the end of the loan I took out to pay for this; not to mention lost time & additional costs. There must be something we can all do. It was on booking my final exam I found out. Company was Manchester!!

    Regards Paul

    paulkimamy@hotmail.com

  30. should you train for the Green Deal. more to train more promises of work. At this rate every home owner will ask the next door neighbour to do the GD/EPC report.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7BT2Ltcdh8

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