In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of MCS certification to help you figure out whether you need it or not.

Are you a gas or heating installer considering a move into renewables?

If yes, you might be wondering whether you need to be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) to install low-carbon technologies such as air source heat pumps.

It’s a complex issue that is not as clear cut as being Gas Safe registered, for example.

In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of MCS certification to help you figure out whether you need it or not.

MCS Certification Overview

MCS is a quality assurance scheme which certifies the quality and reliability of:

  • Renewable products – heat pumps, solar, biomass, wind and battery storage; and
  • Installation companies – MCS is a mark of quality and competence.

Is MCS a legal requirement?

Unlike Gas Safe registration, MCS is not a legal requirement.

However, to be issued with an MCS certificate, a heat pump installation must have been carried out by and MCS certified company using MCS certified products.

Do I need an MCS certificate?

An MCS certificate is issued to consumers following commissioning.

It is required if consumers want to claim funding under any government scheme; for example, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) for solar PV and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) for heat pumps.

If you are an unregistered heat pump installer, your installation quotes are going to be £5,000 – £6,000 more than an MCS certified installer who can claim BUS vouchers, therefore knocking down the cost for their customers.

Who is MCS for?

MCS certifies contractors rather than individual installers, unless of course you are a sole trader.

For example, you may be employed as a heat pump installer by an MCS accredited company, you do not need to be MCS certified yourself.

However, if you are a sole trader carrying out heat pump installations, you will need to undertake the certification process, unless you are sub-contracting under an MCS Umbrella Scheme – a great alternative for qualified heat pump installers who want to test the waters of their local market before fully committing to MCS.

Read our blog about MCS Umbrella Schemes

How much does MCS cost and how long does certification take?

MCS certification takes around 4 – 6 weeks following inspection. However, the preparation is what takes the most time. Installers must hold relevant qualifications to prove their competency, for example:

Applicants must also have an effective quality management system (QMS) in place and gather documentation that satisfies MCS’s criteria in relation to customer care and workmanship.

Read more about MCS application criteria.

The initial application for one technology would cost £700 plus VAT, including initial application fee £130, annual renewal £515 and MCS Licence £55. Certification must be renewed every year at a cost of £570 plus VAT.

Become an MCS heat pump installer

So, there are a variety of routes into the heat pump sector for qualified installers:

  • Seek employment with an MCS certified company – you will need a Level 3 heat pump qualification plus associated training and certificates.
  • Sub-contract under an MCS Umbrella Scheme – you will need to be suitably qualified and experienced, because you will not get the installation support you would if you were employed.
  • Apply for MCS certification – ideal for experienced sole traders and small heating and plumbing companies looking to expand their services. MCS Made Easy is a tool designed to make this process more simple.

Which one you choose depends on your confidence and experience.

Find out more about MCS

View our heat pump upskill qualifications

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