The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) has voiced its concerns with the direction the proposed Quality Mark is taking under the government's Each Home Counts review.
The Each Home Counts review outlines recommendations to improve energy efficiency in the UK, as well as encourage the uptake of renewable technologies. Under the proposals, a new Quality Mark will also be introduced to help drive up standards.
Through HHIC and in consultation with CIPHE, IDHEE and SNIPEF, APHC has its voiced concerns about the Quality Mark in a letter to Claire Perry, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
John Thompson, Chief Executive of APHC, said: “As an industry we are overwhelmed with schemes and quality marks. It is APHC’s view that this Quality Mark will duplicate current requirements under Gas Safe Registration, Competent Persons Schemes Membership and to some extent the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. This is compounded by the fact that Quality Mark membership will essentially be mandatory as it will be required to undertake work through the incoming ECO scheme and no doubt other potential future Government initiatives.
“Additionally, the Quality Mark has a remit to protect all households including the private sector, but the incentives are simply not there for consumers to use a Quality Mark member. Moreover yet another scheme impacting on plumbing and heating work will add to the complete confusion consumers face in the marketplace when considering appointing a contractor. Given it is to be a requirement for ECO later in 2018, we believe that consumers need to be properly informed and incentivised to use a Quality Mark member for it to stand any chance of success.
“We need greater transparency and the industry needs to be properly consulted, instead of the current lip service being served; after all, the developments are stated as being industry led? If BEIS continue without proper industry consultation I fear the same mistakes made with Green Deal and MCS will be made again with this Quality Mark.
“APHC are keen to support a framework that improves quality and consumer protection, however we need to be sure that a new quality mark doesn’t duplicate current requirements, be over burdensome for the installer and doesn’t add unnecessary cost and bureaucracy. Nothing that we’ve seen in this proposed new scheme to date provides encouragement that these key points will be met.”