Where Now for Energy Assessors and the Industry?

Many energy assessors are wondering what to do now since HIPs have been scrapped and the validity of the EPC for sales purposes has in effect been extended to 10 years. The fear is non-compliance rises due to the absence of the HIP, similar to we see in Northern Ireland and the commercial EPC market.

It has been a competitive market from soon after the implementation of the EPC legislation and professional, quality conscious assessors / businesses have always been pressurised on price by those who shall we say are less concerned with quality and service. EPC certificateThis divide has been well known amongst the rising thousands of energy assessors and the pressure to lower quality and increase output has risen since many HIP companies have opted to try and maintain their profit levels with a standalone EPC offering.  This has ultimately led many ex HIP companies to compete for volume EPC business; lowering the price to clients to secure work with expectations that energy assessors will accept a lower fee with promises of increased volume.

The industry has struggled with a large oversupply of assessors, many who have felt ‘scammed’ by unscrupulous training companies and we raised our concerns of this lucrative practice in ‘Should I train as an energy assessor?‘ and many follow up articles. Whilst we and others raised concerns little was done to tackle the issue and Property Professionals + administration seems to demonstrate this quite adequately.

However, throughout the continuing turmoil the industry has experienced there has been one seemingly solid constant; the government licensed energy assessors accreditation schemes would strive to maintain quality and push members interests forward.

Step forward the FREE EPC.

Now, I can be a sucker for a bargain but tell me something is FREE and I immediately start to experience a fishy smell from somewhere.

[ad name=”In content post 300×250″]

Now don’t get me wrong strange incentives or schemes have been around for some time. I can even remember one notorious HIP provider offering vouchers which could be redeemed against a range of gifts but the FREE EPC offering is different, it is being promoted by accreditation schemes.

Two accreditation schemes we are aware of; NHER and BRE are promoting the ‘FREE EPC business model’ to their accredited energy assessors. There are 9 government licensed accreditation schemes and the two aforementioned schemes are often considered to be the leaders of the pack. Many of NHER’s and BRE’s members will tell you that they have remained with each respective scheme even with higher comparative fees due to their reputation and image of quality that is assumed.

So what is the deal with FREE EPCs?

In essence, the energy assessor is intended to sell Conveyancing to the client. If the client chooses to purchase Conveyancing the assessor is paid both a Conveyancing referral fee and a fee for the EPC. Simple.

Whether this is a good deal for the client or it is a conflict of interest to the role of energy assessor it remains unclear. The fact that the two accreditation schemes are seemingly endorsing the concept does go some way to answering these questions. However, many have felt that those within the energy assessor industry have been held to higher standards than other similar roles and many were upset by the change of direction and relaxation with the training of Housing Energy Advisors.

Is this the accreditation schemes fighting back on behalf of energy assessors?

For a long time we have anticipated that the assessors’ accreditation schemes would come under further pressure to maintain income and members and is something we addressed in interviews with Brian Scannell of NHER, Keith Jones of ECMK and  Philip Salaman Of Quidos. We know EPC lodgements are dropping and greater non-compliance is feared.

Will we now start to see some consolidation and mergers with the accreditation schemes?

It is an uncertain time for the industry though we can expect one thing, CHANGE.

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.