27 October 2015 3 min read
Approximately 30,000 boilers are installed in UK homes every week. If we take into account all the other heating-related call outs that occur on a weekly basis, that’s a very large number of heating installers, plumbers and other tradespeople who are out visiting homeowners every day in the UK.
People trust plumbers and installers to come into their homes and carry out tasks that are vital to the homeowner’s lifestyle and well-being. It’s for this reason that installers actually have a great deal of responsibility in advising customers of the best products and components in terms of value for money and suitability for their lifestyles.
The government needs to realise that to have a serious impact on energy efficiency across the UK, plumbers and installers need to be invested in and encouraged to give the best possible energy efficiency advice to the people of Britain.
One of the main issues in this area is that there are various accreditation schemes open to heating installers, but many in the industry are confused as to what is the difference between the schemes and which one provides the best value for money. It is not cheap to go through an accreditation course and for many installers, it is simply not worth the time and money only to find a little way down the line that their particular accreditation scheme has been discontinued or made defunct due to changes in government or department reshuffles.
Many in the industry believe there needs to be one accreditation scheme that contains modules to cover all eventualities that are involved with the installation of heating systems and other plumbing work. The Heating & Hot Water Council
have argued that this scheme should be the Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS). The ACS currently exists as the industry-standard way of joining the Gas Safe Register, a qualification required for any installer wishing to legally work with gas products.
Because the ACS is very well known and respected within the industry, the Heating & Hot Water Council believe the government should make available the funds to expand and adapt the ACS. The Council think that adding modules that include energy efficiency and renewable energy qualifications would make more installers make the effort to invest in themselves and add extra strings to their bow.
As it currently stands, there are additional accreditation schemes, such as the PAS2030 and the Micro Certification Scheme, which are quite bureaucratic and are much less well-known to the industry. It makes things confusing for the installer when they have a selection of different accreditation schemes, each with different rules and methods, and they are much more likely to not bother at than if everything was under one umbrella scheme.
If the government can expand the ACS, making things much more straightforward and user friendly for the heating industry, we will have a better qualified generation of heating installers who can go about providing better service and higher quality information to the people of the UK. The bigger picture needs to be looked at if the government is serious about reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.
Article by Benjamin Clarke
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