How to register as a Green Homes Grant installer

19 August 2020 Kingspan Insulation UK
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Through the Green Homes Grant scheme, the government is making £1.5 billion of funding available for energy efficiency refurbishments to dwellings in England with a further £500 million to be made available via the local authority delivery scheme. With the scheme set to open in September, installers need to act quickly to ensure they are certified to carry out this work.

In this blog, we answer common questions about the scheme and how installers can get involved.


 

How does the Green Homes Grant scheme work?
Under the scheme homeowners, private and social landlords and park home owners are able to receive funding for retrofitting certain measures on their home. Under the main scheme, applicants can receive up to £5,000 typically covering two thirds the total cost of the work. A separate scheme is also available for those on low-income providing up to £10,000 and covering 100% of the cost of work (details of who can qualify for the low-income Green Homes Grant scheme are available here). 

Homeowners can now visit the Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website and are asked to answer a few questions about their project. The site then makes recommendations for funded improvements they can apply for and sends them a list of all local tradespeople who are approved under the scheme. 

If your business is accredited, you will be added to the SEA directory and homeowners can approach you to quote for this work. Once this is accepted, the owner will then be able to submit the application through a portal on the SEA website which will open at the end of September. You need to ensure your business is listed on the SEA portal so that owners can select your business when submitting the application. The first submissions are then due to be processed the following month.

Once the application has been accepted, the homeowner will be issued with a voucher including the name of the companies carrying out the work. You will need to register your company and bank details with the administrator of the scheme. You need to log the completed work through the TrustMark Data Warehouse. These will be reviewed for compliance with the installation quality requirements of the scheme and then the voucher amount paid. All work will need to be completed and invoiced before the end of March 2021.

What home improvements does it cover?
The refurbishment measures which can receive grant funding are separated out into primary and secondary categories

The primary improvements cover insulation applications to all areas of the building envelope (excluding new extensions, outbuildings and conservatories) and the installation of low carbon heating systems such as ground and air source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal systems. It will be necessary to ensure the envelope of the property is well insulated when opting to fit low carbon heating systems as these typically heat water to lower temperatures than conventional gas boilers.

A number of secondary measures are also available including draft proofing, fitting double/triple/ secondary glazing in single glazed homes and installing heating controls and thermostats. 

All quotes submitted under the scheme must include at least one primary measure. If any remedial work is required to the property before the measures can be installed, then this should also be included within the quote and will be considered within the voucher valuation.

What site costs does the Green Homes Grant cover?
In addition to the cost of materials and labour, installers can also quote for a number of associated works which are covered under the Green Homes Grant. These include:
•    architectural detailed design drawings;
•    application fees for planning permission, listed building consent and Building Regulation applications;
•    essential structural improvements and engineering costs;
•    scaffolding and waste removal;
•    fitting passive ventilation; and
•    airtightness testing

Further costs such as obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate, general changes to the layout or décor of the property (such as moving windows or doors), asbestos removal and training are not covered through the scheme.

Can I quote for more than one improvement through a Green Homes Grant?
It is possible to submit quotes for a Green Homes Grant covering multiple primary and secondary retrofit measures. However, the funding available for secondary measures is capped at the level provided for the primary improvements i.e. if £1,000 is awarded for floor insulation then the grant for any secondary work will be capped at £1,000.

Can I quote for replacing existing insulation or double glazing through a Green Homes Grant?
It is not possible to quote for like-for-like replacements (such as replacing existing double glazing), however, you can apply to ‘top-up’ existing measures in some cases. For example, if the existing loft insulation layer is not adequate.

Can Green Homes Grant installations be carried out by more than one firm?
Yes, it is possible for firms to collaborate as part of a single Green Homes Grant application. For example, this may apply where the application includes the introduction of a low carbon heating system in addition to fabric measures such as fitting floor insulation.

Do I need to buy the improvement products from a particular supplier?
No, installers can purchase these from any merchant providing they meet certain minimum requirements in terms of performance and safety (to be confirmed by BEIS).

How can I become an accredited Green Homes Grant installer?
In order to carry out work under the scheme, installers must be a TrustMark registered business. Installers of low carbon heating systems must also be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). There will also be requirements for other measures under whichever Scheme Provider (SP) or Certification Bodies (CB’s) those measures fall under.

How to become a TrustMark registered business
Installers must first be certified under the 2017 or 2019 versions of PAS 2030. PAS 2030 is a public specification designed to ensure that energy efficiency measures are correctly installed. To achieve certification, your staff will need to complete training through a scheme provider. Note that not all providers will provide training for energy retrofit work. Relevant providers for the Green Homes Grant Scheme include:
•    British Board of Agrement;
•    Blue Flame Certification Ltd;
•    The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency;
•    ELECSA;
•    NICEIC;
•    Ocean Certification Ltd; and
•    Stroma Installer Certification

In addition to training, you must have a project audited by your chosen providers. Once certified, you can apply to become a TrustMark registered business through the scheme provider. Once approved, your work will be audited annually by the provider to ensure standards are upheld.
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Is it worth becoming a TrustMark registered business?
There are several advantages of the TrustMark system. Your business is listed on the TrustMark business portal, allowing customers to easily find you and get in touch. You can upload a company bio and information about the services you provide, where you provide them, send out branded quotes and invoices and even offer flexible finance options to customers via TrustMark financial partners.

The training and auditing process should also help to familiarise you with the latest systems and how they can be effectively integrated together, helping to prevent the need to carry out potentially costly remedial work.

In addition, it is expected that installers will need to be TrustMark registered in order to be able to carry our work under any future government funded scheme as well as existing schemes such as ECO3.

What is the difference between PAS 2030: 2017 and 2019?
PAS 2030: 2017 was introduced to address some of the issues raised in the Each Homes Count report around the quality and performance of domestic energy retrofit work. It covers both the specification and installation of measures.

One of the key concerns raised in the report was that improvements were often introduced without consideration about whether they were suitable for the property or a clear plan for how the property could be further improved over time. 

To provide clarity, a new Retrofit Standards Framework has been created along with a new public specification: PAS 2035. PAS 2035 covers how properties are assessed, the specification of energy efficiency measures and long-term monitoring. It sets out a whole-house approach for assessing a property, developing a 20-30 year plan for further improvements and setting clear roles and responsibilities for overseeing retrofit work. You can find out more about PAS 2035 in this blog.

As a result of the changes, the 2019 version of PAS 2030 has been condensed with several sections included within the 2017 version now moved across into PAS 2035. For this reason, once firms achieve certification under PAS 2030:2019, the TrustMark scheme requires them to also comply with PAS 2035.

Which version of PAS 2030 should I register under?
The Green Homes Grant will only require work to be completed under the 2017 version of PAS 2030 and will not require PAS 2035 compliance. This is primarily due to the insufficient numbers of retrofit coordinators for the timescale in which works are required to be completed, but the guidance is nonetheless important. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy are working on additional guidance, covering areas such as ventilation and thermal bridging which are not covered within this version of PAS 2030.

It is worth noting that from 30th June 2021, it will become compulsory for all TrustMark registered businesses to be certified to PAS 2030: 2019 and carry out work in accordance with PAS 2035. Installers who are not currently certified will therefore need to train under the latest version. This should help to ensure your work is carried out in line with current best practice and will avoid the disruption and cost of having to recertify within 12 months. 

I am already qualified to PAS 2030:2017, should I retrain under the new scheme?
We strongly encourage all installers to train under the 2019 specification and conduct installations in line with the process within PAS 2035. The whole house approach outlined  within these standards is crucial to the long-term improvement of properties and will also help to safeguard your business from unforeseen issues which can occur when this guidance isn’t followed. 

However for the purposes of the Green Homes Grant, it is not necessary to achieve PAS 2030:2019 certification to undertake works as part of the GHG scheme if you are currently certified to PAS 2030: 2017.

What is the TrustMark Data Warehouse?
The TrustMark Data Warehouse is a portal where all members of a project team can log any changes that have been made to a property. It is designed to act as a property passport, allowing future owners and tradespeople to understand what work has been carried out on the property, supporting the whole house approach of the Retrofit Standards Framework.

What can TrustMark registered businesses do now to prepare for the Green Homes Grant?
In addition to making use of the TrustMark branding which is available to registered businesses, it is important to ensure that your company listing on the TrustMark business portal is fully up-to-date and includes all of the services your company is able to carry out under the scheme.

Need more information?
If you have any questions about the scheme, get in touch with our dedicated Green Homes Grant team using the form below or using the following contact details: greenhomesgrant@kingspaninsulation.co.uk or telephone 01544 387 883. 
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Contact our dedicated Green Homes Grant Service


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