Association claims discrepancies in energy performance certificate ratings are "unusual"

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP) defended the integrity of energy performance certificates following an investigation in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph.

HIPs came under fire once more after the investigation revealed huge discrepancies in the inspection process for energy performance certificates, just days before Wednesday’s (1 August) deadline for houses with 4 or more bedrooms.

The newspaper booked two officially accredited assessors to evaluate the same Suffolk property last week. Not only were the energy use estimates notably different, but both inspectors failed to notice new clearly-defined energy saving furnishings.

Paul Broadhead, deputy director general of the AHIPP, although he had to confirm full details of investigation, gave several reasons for why the results could be inaccurate.

“What happened in this case is very unusual and there could be several reasons for this,” he said. “They might have been newly trained assessors; they may not have known how to use the software properly. The survey may not have been conducted in conjunction to the (HIP) association’s code.”

Broadhead also defended the credibility of the assessors and the rigorous training they receive.

“The assessors are regulated. They have to pass a series of exams and tests to make sure they can do the job. Once they have been trained, it doesn’t mean they can evaluate any house because every house is different,” he said.

“What we do with our newly trained assessors is start them off with 1960s semi-detached houses, where there are usually a lot of them and they are all fairly similar so that they can build up the experience that way. Once they’ve got those under their belt, they’ll have the experience to do more complex ones.”

Broadhead also predicted that the introduction of HIPs for houses with less then four bedrooms should be announced next month.