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What now for those whove trained as home inspectors and energy assessors following the postponement

After a week of confusion, disappointment, and elation in some quarters over the delayed introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs), FE News takes a reflective look at the situation and in particular what it means for those who have trained to carry out the assessments.

Last week saw the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly make an embarrassing admission in Parliament, that the much discussed HIPs, which were due to be implemented this Friday would now be delayed until 1st August instead.

Central to this are the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) which make up part of a HIP and tell you how green your home is.

The chief reasons for the delay were that there would not be enough qualified people to undertake the work come 1st June, and secondly the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors” (RICS) legal action against the Government, challenging the way HIPs have been handled.

As well as this two month postponement, when they are finally introduced, the packs will only apply to people selling houses with four bedrooms or more.

So what does this mean for the newly qualified Home Inspectors (HI) and Domestic Energy Assessors (DEA), some of whom have spent over £10,000 and up to two years training?

A Home Inspector’s Tale

FE News spoke to Ron Smith-Galer, Director of MyInspector who is a recently qualified HI. It took him almost two years to complete his course and cost around £5,000.

He said that although he was disappointed by the announcement of the delay to HIPs, he thought that it was an inevitable outcome: “I felt it was unavoidable as uncertainty promoted by the opponents with vested interests and the legal action by RICS made it impossible. It received a bad press but it really wasn”t the Government’s fault.”

He is confident that the furore over the introduction of HIPs won”t deter others from coming forward to take the NVQ Level 4 course to become a fully fledged HI or the shorter course for DEAs.

In fact Mr Smith-Galer sees the introduction of HIs and DEAs as part of a much needed shake-up of professional surveying.

“The surveying industry has become moribund and resistance to change is no longer acceptable”¦”

He commented that the majority of surveyors are now middle-aged, which means that without any action, a future shortage would be unavoidable.

“I see a time when RICS are challenged by or approach Home Inspectors to amalgamate or join them. Ask any of the few Chartered Surveyors that has the Dip HI how easy it was? Those that did not study failed the exam.”

Mr Smith-Galer went further by saying that the service that will be offered by Home Inspectors is better than that offered by traditional surveyors: “The Home Condition Report is a far superior product compared to the Home Buyers Survey that RICS use.”

Call for all homes to have HIPs on 1st August

Despite the current situation of there not being enough qualified HIs or DEAs, there have been demands from some quarters that full implementation of HIPs should happen on 1st August for all homes, not just for those with four bedrooms or more.

Brian Scannell, Director of National Energy Services, which is one of the organisations that provides training to become an accredited HI or DEA commented: “There is no reason why the benefits of energy performance certificates and home information packs should not be realised by all home buyers, not just those who buy four bedroom properties.

“I am absolutely confident that we will be able to convince the government, and even all the vested interests, that everything will be in place for full implementation on 1st August.”

Sereena Assih“

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