Interview with chairman of IPPA Colin Smithson-Connelly – Part 2

Part 2 of 2 of our indepth interview with the chairman of the Independent Pack Providers Association (IPPA) Colin Smithson-Connelly discussing Home Information Packs.

If ‘they’ do remove HIPs, what affect will this have on your members and the wider domestic energy assessors in your opinion?

Obviously it would create very hard conditions but IPPA members are best placed to survive, adapt and succeed post compulsory HIPs, most of our members already have local networks of Business’s that they supply to and could continue to even without compulsory HIPs. EPCs would still be required and other add ons such as floor plans etc would give a broader base. IPPA is also working on new product lines that could benefit its’ members and protect their current markets!

I think Energy Assessors would continue to struggle as they have since EPCs became mandatory due to over supply of accredited DEAs. It will take a few more years yet probably for this situation to change, the closure of some of the more prolific training providers should help but of course if there’s money to be made then more will replace them.

Considering the evidence of voluntary uptake in regards to the Home Condition Report, if the HIP is made voluntary as has been suggested by Grant Shapps can you really see it surviving?

Any uptake of voluntary HIPs would be localised and in the minority, voluntary HIPs defeat the whole purpose, if one property has a HIP and the other one doesn’t then the system falls down.

I can see that groups who really wanted to improve the home buying/selling process could carve out a niche market if their marketing was done in the correct way and the desire of all parties matched to see the process through. Essentially though mainstream HIPs would die overnight, Estate Agents would find it very hard to promote HIPs with an upfront cost if their competitor down the road wasn’t, even those that support HIPs strongly have admitted as such.
Considering the OFT report on the positive responses of buyers to HIPs, Grant Shapps would be letting them down by destroying the process that is now an integral part of putting your home on the market!
Sellers weren’t so positive but they have the upfront cost, all information comes at a price but IPPA have proposed a system that could see an improved pack, no upfront fee and no cost at all if the property doesn’t sell within nine months, Unfortunately although Grant Shapps found IPPAs’ proposals very interesting his official response was that if they did the job they would succeed voluntary. In localised transactions they might but where one property had a pack and another didn’t then as I already said the whole process would be let down.

The industry answered Grant Shapps call to suggest improvements to HIPs and when it did he moved the goalposts to say “well they’ll work voluntary then”.

If HIPs or their re-incarnation continues, what would you like ‘it’ to look like?

I think that HIPs as we know them now could continue in almost the same form but they need to be part of a complete package, we’ve seen Companies promoting Exchange ready packs but are they really without the Conveyancer on board from the outset.

HIP Companies ( including DEAs ) could become an integral part of the process, agents if you like for the Conveyancer contracted by the Consumer from the point of marketing. Supplying the search package ( HIP ) but also tracking down guarantees and Fensa certificates etc. HIP companies and their representatives ( DEAs ) are in the unique position here of having to visit the property and having to make investigations into windows etc and home contents forms could filled out during the visit , getting all the paperwork in place for the Conveyancer so that the property could really be exchange ready with the Conveyancer having taken it to that point.

How would this be paid for?, who wants to instruct a Conveyancer from the point of marketing if they don’t even know if they will sell their property with costs on top of the HIP?. Well, there will be a “No sale No Fee” package that would allow all this to happen with no upfront costs to the consumer, their home sale could proceed much more smoothly and quickly providing a less stressful process and boosting the economy at the same time.

What are your thoughts towards the recent Property Professionals administration?

I think it’s a shame for all those caught up in it, unfortunately we’ll probably see more situations like this and I would like to see more protection for the consumer against Companies offering training for Industries that are already oversubscribed. It’s not just in our Industry, driving Instructors are constantly “required” and these companies seem to target those desperate to escape their current situation.

There does seem to be a large amount of representative organisations for ‘HIP industry professionals’. The ones we are aware of include: (they are in no specific order) IPPA, AHIPP, IDEA, IPSA, IHI, PEPA, FPIP, PCCB plus the 9 EPC accreditation schemes and am sure we will have missed a couple. Does this help those at ground level who they claim to help and represent or does this further dis-joint the industry?

You really have covered three industries there though, while we are all connected by HIPs they are separate Industries in their own right, HIPs, Search Agents and Energy Assessors.

HIPs and Energy Assessments are both relatively new industries so I think it’s not surprising that there has been Organisations come and go. If there isn’t a need for them then you’d think they’ll slowly fade away from now on as some have already done so, I do personally distrust new organisations that appear to have been born in desperation of the possible demise of one industry and from areas that have actually contributed to the over supply of DEAs and even worse in the continued training of Home Inspectors.

What are IPPA’s goals and aspirations over the next 6-12months?

IPPA will continue to lobby for the retention of HIPs with the Conservatives and any other group that has an interest. The HIPs Industry needs to strengthen it’s position and IPPA can be integral within that process, we have and will continue to strive for the raised quality of the HIPs product.

If HIPs survive the next 6-12 months then the HIPs Industry needs to come together, be inclusive to companies of all sizes and seize the opportunity to improve the home buying/selling process.

With the uncertainty in the industry at present is it a good time to join IPPA?

Strength always comes in numbers but also from presenting an arguable case in the right manner, this is what IPPA has and will continue to do, the more support we have behind us the better our chances of succeeding.

Just because HIPs might not have long to go doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to do the best job possible, this is what IPPA offers its’ members from the initial auditing and quality control before you can even become a member to the continued personal support you receive from IPPA and the member benefits that members receive. With the relatively low membership fee members can soon be “in profit” if they take advantage of the member benefits along with the technical support.

IPPA is still receiving applications to join and will continue to accept new members hopefully for a long time to come yet!

For more information on the Independent Pack Providers Association (IPPA) and how to join visit their website.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Comments are closed.