Trustmark change against OFTEC’s advice

Paul Rose, CEO of OFTEC
Paul Rose, CEO of OFTEC

OFTEC has said the government decided to incorporate TrustMark and the new PAS2035 standard into ECO3 for all energy efficiency measures against its advice.

While the current changes mainly affect ECO work, the intended future direction of travel was expected to see the standards become the norm, it stated.

An OFTEC statement said: “Our understanding is that the steering group responsible for these plans did not set out with this agenda, so it is deeply troubling that the government wishes to impose these changes without taking heed of our industry’s views. As the UK responds to the challenges of improving home energy efficiency and deploying low carbon heating it is right to focus on the need to protect consumers and achieve high quality outcomes. However, we are deeply concerned about these disruptive plans which we think disproportionately impact on small businesses while failing to achieve the government’s intended goal.

“If implemented, the adoption of PAS2035 and Trustmark membership across the wider retrofit sector will increase costs for installation businesses which will inevitably be passed onto consumers. The heating industry already has robust training, inspection, compliance and consumer protection processes in place, and existing schemes – while not beyond improvement – have an excellent track record. We think that bolting another layer of requirements on top of what is already in place will confuse consumers and alienate installers. It would be far better to work with industry to improve the schemes that are already in place.

“PAS2035 is most appropriate for scenarios where a ‘whole house retrofit’ is being undertaken, and a requirement to use this standard for all retrofit work would add significant delays and complexity to even simple projects, for example, a simple appliance replacement. We are particularly concerned about the requirement for all retrofit projects to have a ‘retrofit coordinator’ as the skills required for this role go well beyond what a typical heating installation business currently possesses.”

OFTEC added that despite the setback it will continue work constructively with government.