Energy assessment firms may seek a judicial review of BRE’s role in accrediting energy performance assessors.

National Energy Services (NES) and Elmhurst Energy Systems are concerned that the communities department is employing BRE to accredit companies offering assessment services, even though it plans to offer a competing commercial service.

In a letter to the National Audit Office, NES and Elmhurst called for the BRE either to be given the role of consultant or allowed to compete with other companies on equal terms.

The row centres on energy performance certificates (EPC) for new homes, due to be implemented in January. BRE approves the software that will be used for energy performance certification.

Brian Scannell, the managing director of National Energy Services, said it was “fundamentally wrong” that BRE was allowed to see the details of other companies’ software when it was developing a competing product.

The second alleged conflict centres on the Code for Sustainable Homes, to be introduced in April. BRE developed the code and can license it, so Scannell is concerned it might exploit its position.

BRE said: “In the 10 years since privatisation, BRE has been successful in ensuring no conflicts of interest have arisen.”

The communities department said it was investigating the issues.