Building’s report on the Faero competent persons scheme, “HIPs firm goes into liquidation” (7 September, page 13), was right to suggest that its demise was a result of the government’s change of mind about how the quality of energy ratings should be regulated.
But there were misunderstandings in the reporting of this situation.
We’re not a “HIPs firm”. Faero’s work related only to new-build dwellings.
It had no involvement in the training or regulation of home inspectors or energy assessors for the existing homes market.
Neither has Faero gone into liquidation – it has taken a voluntary decision to cease operations because its future has become unsustainable.
Richard Theobalds was invited to become company secretary and non-executive chairman because of his specialist knowledge of the sector. He had no shareholding in the business.
Faero was set up with the encouragement of the government. We were a not-for-profit company, with all member companies eligible to nominate a director. Faero had set up an effective, industry-led and industry-financed regulatory framework.
Our job was to ensure that housebuilders, building control authorities and, ultimately, the new homebuyer could have complete confidence in the quality and consistency of the energy ratings and advice they receive.
But instead of building on this competent persons framework, the communities department chose to take on the regulatory task itself. Its civil servants will now have the unenviable task of trying to ensure consistency of quality across all the accreditation schemes. Building control authorities and housebuilders will need to make a judgment on which energy ratings for new homes they feel are most reliable.
We have grave doubts that this situation is in the interest of the industry, the consumer or the environment.
We were reluctant to close up shop, but the government’s decisions left us no choice.
Linn Rafferty, chief executive, Faero