5 things installers need to know about the "Each Home Counts Review"

The much-awaited “Each Home Counts Review” has been published, which looks at how to improve energy efficiency, and encourage uptake of renewables in the UK.
The independent review was carried out by Dr Peter Bonfield, OBE, (previously referred to as the ‘Bonfield Review’), who was asked by the Government to examine and make recommendations on how consumers can be properly protected and advised when they install energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in their homes.
So how will this affect installers? Here’s five things they need to know about the review:
1: The introduction of a new “Quality Mark”
The review proposes to establish a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and for all companies operating in this sector. Those who wish to use the quality mark will need to adhere to three key elements which, together with the quality mark, make up the new framework:

  • A Consumer Charter which ensures that all consumers receive excellent levels of customer service, a clear redress process and guarantee protection;
  • A Code of Conduct which sets out how companies behave, operate and report, the requirements of which must be met or exceeded for the company to operate; and
  • Codes of Practice which are relevant to the installation of each measure under consideration so that the risk of poor quality installation is minimised.

This will enable the consumer, who seeks to have retrofit work done to their property, to know instantly what to look for to receive high-quality installations or advice.
2: How would installers get involved with the “Quality Mark”?
To obtain the quality mark, installers, designers and assessors will need to show that they have been certified by an approved certification body, and meet the requirements of three key elements of the quality mark: a Code of Conduct; defined Codes of Practice and standards; and a Consumer Charter.
3: A new Information Hub, to be set up offering advice to industry and the public
A new central Information Hub will be consumer and industry-facing, and act as a collection point for best practice on standards, guidance, statistics and information. This will be made available to all those certified with the quality mark. These organisations will also be able to develop services that use the information to deliver advice to consumers, allowing them a greater ability to make informed judgements on potential measures to install.
4: Smart meters are still seen as important
The review claims “smart meters will put consumers in control of their energy use, bring an end to estimated bills, make switching energy providers faster and easier, and help people to save energy and money”. Every home and small business in Great Britain will be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020, which presents energy suppliers with a once in a generation opportunity to engage with their entire customer base on energy efficiency.
5: Concentration on quality installations
The review wants to ensure quality installations are carried out to robust standards by skilled installers, where effective performance monitoring guarantees excellence throughout the installation process.
It wants to put in place a joined-up industry-wide compliance and enforcement regime coordinated nationally; share information on the quality of assessors, designers and installers to facilitate the identification and sanctioning of poor practice, as necessary; and review and align the frequency of, and mechanism for performing, technical monitoring or on-site audits, possibly introducing a random audit and risk-based approach (where the monitoring frequency is increased when poor quality installations are detected).
Neil Marshall the CEO of the National Insulation Association (NIA) responded to the review: “The NIA fully supports the review and will be meeting with Peter Bonfield and his team early in the New Year to discuss the recommendations and how the NIA and its members can contribute to the implementation of these.
“As the leading trade association for insulation in the UK the NIA and its members is committed to quality and customer service.  Our members meet robust criteria and sign up to a strict code of professional practice, providing householders and specifiers with added reassurance and peace of mind.”
Elmhurst Energy’s Managing Director Martyn Reed, stresses lessons need to be learned from Green Deal:
“Unfortunately there is no analysis of the low take up of Green Deal plans and it is unclear why the new proposition would be more attractive. However, an expectation that  ‘new private investors’ will be entering the market could be exciting. There is also no indication as to whether the role of Green Deal Advisors and Assessors will change in the future, but it is reassuring that assessments are to remain as a important tool. We look forward to working with BRE and the implementation team to help make this scheme a success.”
Liz Male MBE, chairman of TrustMark and a member of the review’s Implementation Board, is excited by the opportunities:
“The publication of this report is just one milestone on the journey, and there is much more work going on already. But this review does present the most important opportunity I’ve seen in the last 10 years to bring the key Government departments, industry bodies and consumer protection schemes like TrustMark together, with a more coordinated approach to raising standards in this vital area of home improvement.
“We know what exists now is simply not good enough. The extent of poor practices and sub-standard work is unacceptable, and the families affected will need a great deal of support over the coming months and years to rectify the damage that has been done.