RICS warns industry may lose thousands of green home inspectors with developments for training being scrapped

The RICS has warned that the industry risks losing thousands of green homes inspectors as so many of the developments they must assess for training have been mothballed or scrapped.

Councils and developers have delayed or downgraded many projects that aimed to meet level six of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), according to the RICS, with the result that up to 1,000 inspectors will be unable to make the required number of assessments to qualify for their jobs. Level six – or zero carbon – is the highest level of the code.

Workers who were originally trained as assessors for BREEAM’s Ecohomes scheme were promised in April 2007 by the government and BRE they could retrain as assessors for the replacement CSH scheme. A condition of this deal was that professionals would have to complete two assessments before April 2009, or be forced to undergo extensive retraining at a personal cost of up to £450.

The RICS has called for the April deadline to be pushed back. Nadia Nath-Varma, RICS policy officer, said: “Some local authorities are either postponing many level six projects or downgrading them because of the lack of funds and uncertainty of the property market. RICS therefore recommends that the deadline should be extended to November 2009.”

RICS recommends that the april deadline should be extended to november 2009.

Nadia Nath-Varma, RICS

Andrew Leighton, an assessor from Caldicot, Gwent, said: “It’s not so much the cost as taking time out of your schedule to retrain that causes the problems.”

Some established assessors said they were not concerned by the situation. Julian Williams, an Ecohomes assessor with Abba Energy, said: “Anyone who doesn’t have plenty of work on at the moment shouldn’t be doing it. If you have to take the extra course, get on and take the extra course.”

BRE said it had no plans to extend the scheme. Lynn Anderson, head of BREEAM’s domestic team, said: “While we acknowledge that market conditions may affect the availability of homes for assessment under the code, the requirements to demonstrate competence are there to safeguard the credibility of the scheme. It is not possible for the requirements to change in response to market pressure.”