Technical Updates

September 2019

A Polite Notice – All assessors

We would like to remind assessors that any lack of professionalism whilst using Quidos Technical Support, or Quality Assurance, will not be tolerated.

The use of bad or threatening language will result in Technical Support being withdrawn from the assessor in question.

Any members found not to be ‘Fit and Proper’ to be an Energy Assessor will have their membership revoked.

RBAS Lodgement Stats – Feb ‘19

For more information click HERE

PEPA Conference 2019

Wednesday 27th February saw us attending the 2019 PEPA Conference. The day was a magnificent success, with over 300 attendees and the presence of all the major Schemes that combine to form the Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA).

For further information please click HERE

Changes to RdSAP RBAS auditing

The EASOB RdSAP Working Group has confirmed an updated list of risk-based auditing selection rules, which at Quidos we call RBAS rules; other Schemes refer to this as smart auditing.

The biggest new rule will be assessing multiple lodgements to the same UPRN by any Quidos assessor within a three month period. This has been introduced at the behest of MHCLG in order to reduce a perceived risk about DEAs producing numerous unnecessary lodgements.

However, EASOB also confirmed that follow-on audits would now be considered as part of the overall 2% audit requirement for Scheme.

When the audit changes came into place last year, we made a decision to embrace intelligence-led audit selections, and so prioritised RBAS and periodic random auditing, but also kept follow-on audits out of our 2% requirement. This meant that we could focus our efforts in the identification of new auditing problems, instead of the disciplinary fallout of a failed audit.

However, MHCLG has confirmed that they are happy for the auditing requirements to change, and so disciplinary follow-on audits will now to be included in the Scheme auditing requirements.

We will therefore prioritise Follow-on audits, periodic random audits, and finally RBAS audits. This means that in future, we will unlikely call those audits which trigger the lower priority trigger rules, but which would have a tangible impact on the outcome of an EPC. Instead of calling out those assessors who give the industry a bad name because of poor EPCs, we can “turn a blind eye” and let them get on with it. This is not we believe is best for the industry or the promotion of quality.

Quidos was outvoted in this decision; but I’m sure you will all be pleased to know that poor quality may be benefited by this change.

If you find an EPC to be incorrect, lodged either through Quidos or another Scheme, as an industry stakeholder, you are well within your rights to raise a complaint to the lodgement Scheme. This could be a much better EPC being lodged after your assessment, or inputs which are wholly incorrect in describing a dwelling. The lodgement Scheme can be determined from the Assessor details on page 4 of the EPC.

For more information click HERE

Multiple Lodgements

Following a recent EASOB meeting, it was made clear to Accreditation Schemes that, in spite of a big exercise to remove multiple lodgements made by assessors, the number of cancellations made has started to drop to previous levels, indicating that defective EPCs may not be being cancelled as required.

Section 4.2.3 of the Quidos Code of Conduct for Energy Assessors outlined that certificates shall only be removed if defective and replaced. Failure to pay for an EPC is not a sufficient reason to remove a legal document from the Register, and the assessor should look at other legal avenues to recoup outstanding fees (small claims court).

As part of our ongoing surveillance processes, we assess the lodgement of reports against the same UPRN. We then ask assessors to review their lodgements and make a cancellation, if required, or provided a reason for the lodgement to remain, such as an improvement.

** PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ALWAYS REVIEW A REPEAT LODGEMENT

AND CANCEL WHERE APPROPRIATE **

For more information click HERE

UK has first coal-free week for a century

Britain has had its first week without using electricity from burning coal since the 1880s, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

Fintan Slye, director of ESO, said this would become the “new normal”.

The world’s first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882 at Holborn Viaduct in London.

The government plans to phase out the UK’s last coal-fired plants by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions.

Signalling the importance of net-zero emissions target to the world would have a big impact diplomatically, said committee chief executive Chris Stark.

“This is a moment for the UK to lead. We have a lot of leverage. If the UK doesn’t do this it will be very difficult for others to follow,” he said.

The landmark report says current policy is not enough even for the existing target of an 80 per cent reduction, and action needs to be significantly ramped up.

The changes are “achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people’s lives”.

For more information click HERE

zPlan – making the most of your floorplans

Above are genuine examples of floorplans that we have received for audit. They are by no means the worst floorplans they we’ve received, but you can easily make so much more from your floorplans.

The zPlan floor planning software has now joined the ranks of the Quidos family. zPlan is designed with assessors in mind; its intuitive interface makes it quick and easy to produce quality floorplans for your clients. Coupled with our CPD-certified floorplan training, you’ll be producing floorplans in no time at all.

Offering monthly packages from £24.99+VAT for up to 40 floor plans, zPlan has the same great features as other floor plan training software at a much cheaper price.

Not only can plans be exported as flat 2D plans, but just one click and product a 3D layout of the dwelling for your clients at no extra cost. Add furniture, fixtures and fittings to make a plan which really stands out above the rest.

For more information click HERE

Finding lodged EPCs on the Register

Energy Assessors, particularly DEAs, have a misconception that the lodgement of a new EPC will overwrite a lodgement on the EPC Register. Whilst the newest EPC will be the first to be downloaded, there is a way to view the entire lodgement history for a property, meaning that you can see all of the previous EPCs.

 

For more details please click HERE

The PDSA Cycle: Plan-Do-Study-Act

When considering what you want to accomplish from your annual CPD requirement, Energy Assessors should think about using the PDSA cycle.

For the full diagram please click HERE

Committee on Climate Change Report

On 21st February, the Committee on Climate Change released a report titled “UK housing: Fit for the future?”

For more details please click HERE

Convention clarification

Following a meeting of the RdSAP Convention Group, an acceptable definition for multi-foil insulation has been discussed to aid assessors using Convention 3.07.

Multi-foil insulation shall be defined as: “multi-layered insulation which contains at least three layers of foil-type material”.

It has been drawn to our attention that some training from other accreditation schemes had suggested that Kingspan-type insulation is a multi-foil, but this should be considered as foam, and input in line with Convention 3.07.

Addresses – get them right first time

We continuing to note a high number of EPC cancellations coming through where the incorrect dwelling address has been input. Once the draft EPC has been created, iQ-Energy will return to the first page of the report which shows the input dwelling address. Please ensure that you are double-checking this address to be correct to prevent having to pay for a relodgement.

Especially to those assessors using iQMobile, it makes it less likely that we include functionality to lodge directly from the app if assessors are unable to correctly select the address from the dropdown.

When to Cancel an EPC

Following a recent EASOB meeting, MCHLG wanted to re-emphasise the requirement for incorrect lodgements to be cancelled from the Central Register. When we process cancellation requests, we have noted that some assessors are still uncertain as to the circumstances when an EPC should be cancelled.

An EPC should only be cancelled if it is defective or incorrect. This might be following a surveillance auditing failure, the homeowner providing additional documentary evidence which would change the EPC, or another issue which might result in the certificate being incorrect, such as the wrong address.

More info HERE

Be able to understand and explain your EPC to your clients

In the technical support office, we occasionally get calls from homeowners wanting a better understanding of their EPC and the SAP score it has received. This should be something that all DEAs should be able to do as a matter of course, however we appreciate that it might have been a while since you first learned all this information when you initially qualified.

We have created a new CPD module which looks at the specifics of a domestic EPC, from the calculation engine to the descriptions and star ratings, to help assessors be able to fully understand and explain EPCs to their clients. This CPD module is also a great resource for estate agents and lettings companies, so consider prompting this module to them in order to ensure that tenants and prospective homeowners are getting the most accurate information about the energy performance of the dwelling.

This one-hour certified CPD module can be found HERE

RBAS Lodgement Stats – Jan ‘19

For more information click HERE

Convention in focus

The Convention in Focus of this Technical Bulletin will look at Convention 3.04 as well as Convention 3.07.

We frequently receive technical queries about these and this guide should help to outline how to use the Convention appropriately.

Download Convention in Focus: Convention 3.04 & 3.07 HERE.

QA Standards for NDEAs – NDEPC, DEC, ACR Assessors

The QA Standards for NDEAs document is now ready and is available for assessors to view with your iQ-Energy portal.

This document is important as it contains the minimum evidence requirements for each Non-Domestic stream (excluding ND L5). You can review these individual requirements below, as well as the full Standards.

NDEPC Evidence

DEC Evidence

ACR Evidence

CLICK HERE FOR THE QA STANDARDS

Why You Should Always Put Through a Cancellation – All Assessors

Cancellations are an important part of managing your reports and ensuring the data consistency of the EPC Registers.

So why should you cancel them?

Even if the report is superseded by a new version, it will still be accessible and live on the Register.

Also, if a re-lodgement is completed in the same month, it is likely that the original report could still be called for audit.

Reports can only be cancelled from the Central Registers if they are to be replaced by a valid certificate; in terms of domestic dwellings, this replacement report can be either RdSAP or full SAP.

Assessors absolutely cannot cancel a report because the client has refused to pay. An EPC is a legal document and cannot be used as collateral in a contractual dispute between you and the vendor.

Cancellations should in processed through iQ-Energy, however if this function does not work, or you are cancelling an AIRS report, please send the RRN to the Quidos Support log with your reasons for cancellation, and this can be processed.

New RdSAP Conventions – DEAs

The newest set of RdSAP Conventions (version 9) has been released and will be in use from 1st October 2016. The updates amend some of the Convention wording, as well as clarify any grey areas.

To aid assessors, we have produced a mandatory learning module that appears in your iQ-Energy Control Panel. PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Viewer will be needed to view this, however it also works in Google Slides.

Whilst not considered as CPD, all assessors are requested to complete the module and mark it as completed. It is your best interests to complete the module as it will directly impact on any future QA checks. A quiz is also be available to check your learning.

The new Conventions must be used for all lodgements from 1st October 2016. Until that date, the current version will be used for QA purposes and must be used for all lodgements.

The Conventions are applicable to all DEAs, irrespective of national region.

Take the new conventions quiz HERE

Accessible versions are available on request.

Non-Domestic Assessment Level – NDEA EPC L3/4/5

We have produced the following technical help sheet to aid Non-Domestic assessors in deciding which assessment level a building should follow.

This information has been extracted from the Non-Domestic EPC Conventions and should be a handy guide to make a decision about the buildings you might encounter.

NDTS001: WHAT ASSESSMENT LEVEL?

Stock Images – All Assessors

Within the QA department, we have investigated a number of occurrences of stock image usage over the past few months.

We have put together the following guidance on how we investigate stock image usage, as well as explain the ultimate cost to your business they can be.

STOCK IMAGE USAGE GUIDANCE

Convention in Focus – DEAs

The Convention in Focus of this Technical Bulletin is Convention 2.08 – Whole dwelling or building part within a roof.

We frequently receive technical queries about this scenario and this guide should help to outline how to use the Convention appropriately.

Download convention in focus: Convention 2.08 HERE

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