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TrustMark certification for ECO3 installers – what do you think?

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News that TrustMark will provide certification for installers operating within the ECO framework has been criticised by OFTEC.

What do we know about the new ECO3?

The new ‘ECO3: improving consumer protection’ regulations were developed based on recommendations from the Each Home Counts Review.

The latest revisions were laid in parliament on 31 October 2019 and come into force on 1 January 2020, by which time all contractors working under the scheme must be registered with TrustMark, who will also store information about work undertaken, as submitted by the contractors.

Alongside TrustMark accreditation, PAS 2035:2019 and PAS 2030:2019 have also been incorporated into the regulations.

Why is OFTEC worried?

OFTEC said they were “deeply concerned” about the plans which they believe will disproportionately impact on small businesses while failing to achieve the end goal.

An OFTEC statement said:

“If implemented, the adoption of PAS2035 and Trustmark membership across the wider retrofit sector will increase costs for installation businesses which will inevitably be passed onto consumers. The heating industry already has robust training, inspection, compliance and consumer protection processes in place, and existing schemes – while not beyond improvement – have an excellent track record. We think that bolting another layer of requirements on top of what is already in place will confuse consumers and alienate installers. It would be far better to work with industry to improve the schemes that are already in place.”

What are PAS 2035:2019 and PAS 2030:2019?

PAS 2035:2019 is the new overarching document in the retrofit standards framework, which specifies the requirement for a holistic approach to the retrofitting of dwellings.  All businesses registered with TrustMark are required to be compliant when carrying out work within its scope.

PAS 2030:2019 is inextricably linked to PAS 2035 and increases the focus on the requirements of the installer.

OFTEC said:

“PAS2035 is most appropriate for scenarios where a ‘whole house retrofit’ is being undertaken, and a requirement to use this standard for all retrofit work would add significant delays and complexity to even simple projects, for example, a simple appliance replacement. We are particularly concerned about the requirement for all retrofit projects to have a ‘retrofit coordinator’ as the skills required for this role go well beyond what a typical heating installation business currently possesses.”

What do TrustMark and the government say?

Business, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

“Driving up the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes is key to us reducing emissions from households, saving people money on their bills, and helping us to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050.  This new scheme will guarantee households the peace of mind that workers installing energy efficiency measures in their homes are trusted tradespeople.”

Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark, said:

“The industry across many sectors is in a significant period of change, not just in the energy sector. Our role is to work with, and collaborate with, organisations and businesses to help consumers make improvements to their homes and enhance the protection they can depend on when making such decisions. We are keen to support the many innovative ideas for compliance and the new technologies that will be developed to help smooth the route for businesses to deliver these new requirements.

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