Desperately seeking standards
The smart economy is a green economy.
So says the Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal set out by the Government for the next phase of Ireland’s economic development. It’s aim is to successfully address the severe economic situation we face, restore stability to the public finances, and begin the process of restoring competitiveness.
Therefore the recent launch of the Home Energy Saving Scheme is a very definite step in the right direction. Or so you might think. However, after speaking with several companies and individuals working in the BER Assessors area, we have come to the realisation that all is not as optimistic as we would like to believe.
For this reason GreenMe surveyed a sample of the industry to understand how grave the problem is. The results do not make for pleasant reading.
87.5% are not satisfied with the level of compliance in the industry.
97.5% of those surveyed felt that the industry is oversaturated with qualified BER assessors. This is alarming as there is still a very high number of official courses available, each churning out several hundred qualified assessors every month.
60% consider the training deemed necessary to become a BER Assessor inadequate.
Examples given in survey;
‘‘There are too many unqualified assessors being trained to perform assessments. How can an accountant accurately assess a dwelling when he/she has no experience in construction methods, details of specifications?”
” The BER system is rapidly becoming a laughing matter with the general public who feel that they are being ripped off by unqualified rogues which is a shame because the ethos and spirit behind it is a noble one”.
”Assessors with no knowledge of construction can give advice which contradicts building regulations and be potentially damaging to building”.
77.5% are not happy with the lack of regulation in the industry.
Quotes and examples given in the survey include;
”People stating on the SEI database that they are qualified to carry out ‘existing dwellings’ assessments when they never even took an ‘existing dwellings’ course”.
”I have been audited only once and would welcome more of it”
”Auctioneers acting as independent BER Assessors while offering the property for sale. Estate agents offering free BERs to landlords in return for the letting and management contracts for their properties”.
”Websites offering A ratings for BERs if they are done with a particular company”
”Websites quoting prices that are not correct”
”Kick backs from suppliers to BER Assessors who have been specified on BER assessments”.
”Estate agents doing their own certs in house – not compliant with the code of contact”.
Other worrying survey results include…
37.8% of those surveyed had encountered misleading advertising relating to the BER industry
46.2% of those surveyed felt had come across malpractice in the industry
GreenMe makes a stand
In response to these frustrations, GreenMe have decided to compile Ireland’s first, definitive and trusted consumer guide to BER Assessors. We recognise the need to create a trusted platform.
With the help of Duncan Stewart we have put together a list of questions (the BER Green Barometer) to help property owners choose a BER Assessor that best suits their requirements. We are not afraid to ask the hard hitting questions which will give the consumer the transparency which is so badly needed.
GreenMe envisage that our trusted BER guide and directory will offer the first credible reference site in the industry. The GreenMe BER directory will help property owners confidently choose the right assessor for the right job.