Turbines Tree

A new era for EPC accreditation bodies

Something unprecedented is now going on with some accreditation bodies. They might tell me I’m wrong, but I don’t ever recall a time when ABs stood up to defend assessors in the way that some have done over the Landmark fee increases rushed out by DCLG.

More than doubling the commercial lodgement fee has obviously drawn most of the fire, but the three weeks’ notice DCLG planned to give us is appalling, especially given that they signed off an Impact Assessment on this almost two months ago. Perhaps even worse is the complete lack of consultation over this. They didn’t consult us, which is normal, though hopefully it won’t be in the future and consultation with assessors’ organisations will become standard procedure, but clearly they didn’t consult the ABs either, making them very angry.

Regardless of this, it has seemed in the past that the ABs were content to simply pass on official instructions to us without a murmur of dissent, even when the instructions were nonsense. A public servant who regularly sat in on meetings attended by ABs, told me privately last year that he was often incensed by the failure of accreditations to stand up for assessors in meetings.

Well that certainly seems to have changed! Though why that is I’m not sure. Maybe they are just angry that they weren’t consulted. But it is also possible that the growth of assessors’ organisations is making ABs realise that their world is changing. In the future they will not simply be able to email instructions to assessors and expect them to be complied with. Increasingly, assessors are expecting to have a voice in their industry, and a say in what happens within it.

We haven’t yet seen assessors’ new-found power translated into economic reality, but that will come, and the successful accreditation bodies of the future will be those prepared to make common purpose with their assessors to reshape the industry. If that happens, and I believe it will, then I think we may look back and decide that the first moves in that direction began with protests from both assessors and ABs over a misconceived and mistimed lodgement fees increase. Maybe in the future assessors’ groups may get together and run their own accreditation body. In which case the government had better beef up its onsite first aid for staff – because that could cause a few seizures at DCLG.

Written by Terry Wardle, Editor of Energy Assessor Magazine

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