From education to employment

New Qualification to Make Housing Market Transparent

Following government plans to make the housing market more transparent for prospective home-buyers, a new qualification for Home Inspectors was announced last week by City and Guilds.

The Level 4 Diploma for Home Inspectors is aimed at helping the government to achieve its target of creating 5000 home inspectors by this time next year. Home inspectors will provide access to detailed information on a property before purchase, including reports on the building’s structure, plumbing, and other facilities. City and Guilds hope that the introduction of qualified inspectors will help to restore buyer confidence in the housing market.

Vital for Buyers

Charles Leigh, the City and Guilds general manager for Construction, Engineering and Technology, believes that “it is vital that [buyers] are provided with the necessary information to make an informed decision. It is essential that home inspectors are qualified and competent to provide the best and most comprehensive service possible.”

The launching of the scheme accompanies an earlier initiative by the Government’s Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to provide Home Information Packs, which will ensure that important information regarding the housing market is accessible to those considering buying a property. Under new legislation, effective from June next year, home-owners or their selling agents will be required to provide a copy of their Home Information pack when selling a property.

City and Guilds is the country’s leading awarding body for work-related qualifications. Each year, City and Guilds awards 1.3 million certificates to learners training in over 500 vocational areas. The new Diploma for Home Inspectors will be accredited under the national qualifications framework and adheres to the National Occupational Standards devised by industry groups. Amongst other topics, candidates will study aspects of house-building from the pre-World War Two period to the present day, structural problems, and how to assess their severity.

Broad Assessments

Potential candidates will be able to enter the scheme on one of two levels, depending on their experience in the property or building trade. New entrants with no previous background in this area will undergo extensive training and will be assessed through practical assignments and an online test. Those with more experience of working in the property industry, such as chartered surveyors, will obtain their qualification based on the assessment of three Home Inspection Reports, and an online test which will assess their understanding of home inspection.

The Government has welcomed the introduction of the scheme, which will be a significant step towards their goal of increasing the number of home inspectors to 5000 by June 2007. Yvette Cooper MP, Housing Minister for the DLCG, said: “The new City & Guilds qualification for home inspectors will offer more choice to candidates and ensure that we have the number of home inspectors needed in place for June 2007.”

With the government estimating that 1.44 million Home Condition Reports will need to be completed each year in England and Wales under the new system, the newly qualified inspectors will be in high demand. Figures so far indicate that as many as 7,400 could be required, suggesting that the target of 5,000 by June 2007 will be the beginning of a much larger undertaking.

Jess Brammar

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