I can’t believe it is already March, a phenomenon that occurs every year (February is so short), but it still catches me off guard.
What an important year 2021 is shaping up to be. But before we get onto that, let’s address Covid-19 (again). I write this having reviewed the PM's plans for exiting lockdown, and I am genuinely looking forward rather than taking one day at a time. I am sure many Stroma members will recognise this sentiment.
Since the start of the third lockdown on Jan 4th, we have seen less than typical work/lodgement volume. Compared to January and February in 2020, we are around 20% down in terms of instructions. We have seen this trend reversing in the last couple of weeks of February, so hopefully the effects of a long and necessary lockdown are subsiding. After speaking with clients, it seems to be the case that either homeowners have held back from marketing properties due to the stamp duty ending in March or a general reluctance to put houses on the market.
I am delighted to hear that the government have extended the Stamp Duty Holiday by 3 months. This gives the house selling sector time to complete in progress sales and does support the industry. I am encouraged there is detail on how lower value sales are to be supported until September.
The launch of the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme in April will support and encourage the sale of properties where the buyers have only a 5% deposit. This should invigorate transactions, particularly for buyers who have struggled to save a large enough deposit - especially in areas where house prices are higher, or salaries are lower.
This slightly fallow period has been a very busy time for the team at Stroma Certification. We have been very busy working through audits and supporting our members from our homes, something that continues to make me very proud of my team. It isn’t easy working in relative isolation, with the other commitments that lockdown brings. I know our members have been in similar positions with their families. Strangely, I feel it has brought everyone closer, as our personal and professional lives have somewhat merged.
I am proud to announce that new RSAP+ and FSAP+ releases are imminent. RSAP+ will integrate with the popular PlanUp software, so existing users of this app can transfer their EPC relevant plan data into their EPCs. FSAP will integrate with SketchUp, in a similar way, allowing 3D modelled building geometry to be imported into the platform for calculations and EPCs. These are very exciting developments and will improve data entry and bring efficiency gains for our DEAs and OCDEAs that currently or want to use these platforms. Stroma are committed to continuous improvement in our software platforms and further developments are on the horizon for Retrofit Assessments and Legionella Risk Assessments.
I am also very excited to announce that Stroma Certification have invested in and by the end of May, will have launched a Learning Management System, which will allow members of all Energy Assessment disciplines to complete their CPD in a quick and simple way, online at any time. More of that in our next newsletter, on social media and on our website.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to remind our members of the big changes planned this year from government. As a member of PEPA, we are eagerly assisting government with their ambitious EPC Action Plan, to improve the EPC, the methodologies and the process of producing EPCs. These developments should see additional trust and focus on EPCs and should ensure the EPC has a long and successful future at the heart of government climate change and energy reduction policy. There will be plenty to say and do with regards these changes, and Stroma Certification members will be key in this. Please keep reading our newsletters, following us on Social Media and reading our news pages to stay informed and active in what is happening.
Have a great start to Spring!
Andrew Parkin, Director of Energy Certification
Over the course of the next few years heat pumps will become more energy cost competitive, with promised heavy government taxation on heat sources that burn fossil fuels.
Therefore, it is essential that there are enough competent systems surveyors and installers to enable the efficient design and installation of Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) and Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).
We are now providing a Heat Pumps CPD course for members at the cost of £20 which will help our members improve their knowledge in this important technology. To enquire, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit our Click Meeting system to sign up and pay for this CPD event. Register
We are delighted to announce that we are collaborating with design builder to offer CPD for all our Non-Domestic Energy assessors.
A 10% discount voucher code for the next series of courses on SBEM, DSM and TM52/59 summer overheating is here: T10-STROMA-MARCHAPRIL2021. The code is valid until 31 March to allow our members to book on any or all of these forthcoming courses. It is a single-use code so if you would like to do more than one course and still get the 10% discount you should book them all together.
The full course details can be found by following the links for each course on the overview page
We are now holding NDEA L3 Refresher courses on the last Friday of every month.
Develop your existing knowledge of the iSBEM software, conventions and methodology for non-domestic buildings. For example, how to correctly use the software to compliantly assess level 3 commercial buildings. Ensure the EPCs you produce are reliable and accurate, and that you’ve applied the conventions correctly.
£149 + VAT for Stroma Members NDEA Courses
Scottish Government has recently made a major change to the publicly available energy performance certificate dataset it holds, by adding in address level data. This improvement will allow more detailed analysis and appropriate use of the data that is available.
If you are interested in what data is available, please visit the below webpages.
Stroma Certification is delighted to offer all Members access to the popular Wider Wallet benefit which provides free access to hundreds of savings on top brands, services, supermarkets, online stores, events and attractions.
Stroma Certification’s popular RSAP+ software, which is used by Domestic Energy Assessors across the UK is to get a PlanUp (www.planup.co.uk) integration feature.
PlanUp allows assessors to create quality floor plans for estate agents while simultaneously processing plans for RdSAP calculations. PlanUp will be added to the RSAP+ platform and released later this month (March) enabling DEAs to create floor plans and complete EPC calculations on or off site.
The new RSAP+ version (3.0.35) for iPad will automatically install when launched (user may need to manually update depending on their device settings) and PlanUp integration will be available. Any user wanting to use PlanUp with RSAP+ will need to have PlanUp installed on the same iPad and have an account with PlanUp.
To get started with PlanUp, please visit the Planup Website to download the software and sign up for an account/plan.
There are a number useful user guides on this site as well.
Existing PlanUp users will simply need to press the PlanUp button in RSAP+ iPad and sign in.
Please note that this integration only currently works on iPad RSAP+.
RSAP+ can be downloaded from your devices App Store today (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows 10 PC).
Stroma Certification’s popular FSAP software suite, used by half of the On Construction Domestic Energy Assessors across the UK is to get a Trimble SketchUp integration feature.
SketchUp allows assessors to create detailed 3D models of sites from the 2D plan provided by a developer. The tool allows for varying levels of detail to be entered into the model, including areas, lengths and junction types, all of which can then be imported into FSAP, saving members time in the modelling process and improving accuracy.
FSAP will receive an update in March which will allow SketchUp import functionality. Once available, members will need to sign up to use this feature. Look out for information on how to do this on an upcoming email, social media or the Stroma Certification website.
There will be a small additional fee per lodged EPC for using this integration, but importing data via the tool with be free.
Stroma Certification is delighted to announce an agreement with software provider Ace Wizard, which will allow Stroma Members to perform ACIRs, lodge them on the Central Register, as well as bringing numerous benefits to you, including reports that really will assist your clients make the best decisions when evaluating their HVAC assets.
The Ace Wizard software has the following benefits:
£30 per month subscription fee. This includes training, and regular webinars and comms which can be used as CPD. As well as 3 supported lodgements in the first month.
Each lodgement is then £12 per certificate thereafter.
In order to use Ace Wizard, members will need to an account, which can be arranged by contacting Ace Wizard directly.
If you would like to add ACIRs to your account, please complete the below form or contact Stroma about our industry leading training on 0345 621 1111 EXT 201
Stroma has seen a recent surge in complaints being raised about EPCs – a result of increased scrutiny and public awareness of the EPC caused by government’s decision to utilise it in more legislation and green incentives.
This increased focus and importance is a great thing for our industry, but it means the EPC is even more in the spotlight of the public eye. It is more important than ever to make sure as an assessor you are carrying out thorough accurate assessments and complying with the Assessor Codes of Practise when undertaking assessments, and ensuring all evidence is backed up and stored for 15 years.
This is so you have all the evidence required to support the certificates you have produced.
Stroma expect Assessors to deal with any complaints raised in the first instance and we will be asking assessors to do this where we receive a complaint, where it is deemed the best course of action. Assessors should work with us (and the complainant) in order to get to a satisfactory resolution. Stroma will continue to support all our assessors and will be looking to release an update to the Complaints and Appeals policy in the coming months, so please keep an eye out for this.
Please remember that if you receive a complaint, you should inform Stroma Certification (via certification@Stroma.com) so that we are aware of the complaint and if escalated to us, we know that you have previously been attempting to assist the customer.
This draft Heat in Building Strategy outlines the steps Scottish Government will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland’s homes, workplaces and community buildings and to ensure that poor energy performance is removed as a driver of fuel poverty.
The Strategy encompasses an update to the 2018 Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map and the 2015 Heat Policy Statement.
The consultation is available here - Scottish Heat in Buildings Stategy
The government are running a number of workshops as part of the process, and to register for a place on one (or more) of these workshops, please email email@example.com clearly marking your email with the event(s) you wish to attend.
This consultation is the second stage of BEIS’s 2-part consultation on proposed changes to Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations.
It builds on the Future Homes Standard consultation by setting out energy and ventilation standards for non-domestic buildings, existing homes and includes proposals to mitigate against overheating in residential buildings.
It sets out proposals for a Future Buildings Standard, which provides a pathway to highly efficient non-domestic buildings which are zero carbon ready, better for the environment and fit for the future.
This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 13 April 2021 and can be accessed here - The Future Buildings Standard.
Stroma Members are urged to review the consultation document and respond to any areas they feel that they can contribute to.
NDEA Level 3
NDEA L3/L4 Combined
Retrofit Assessor (Online)
Legionella Risk Assessment (Online)
Stroma Certification is pleased to announce a new partnership with ECO Surv, which supports Retrofit Coordinators to access, review and communicate with the collection of Installers currently on the EcoSurv platform. Coordinators will also be allowed to lodge their work directly into the TrustMark Data Warehouse.
For more information on this, please visit our Retrofit Coordinator Service offered by EcoSurv news page.
Stroma Group Ltd
Registered Office: 4 Pioneer Way,
Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 5QU
Company in England and Wales: 08960979
© Stroma Group Ltd 2020