End of Year Review 2021

In this article, we take a brief look back at the performance of Stroma Certification. We’ll look at the market and divisional growth of existing areas, the impact of the new schemes, training department performance and other key performance indicators, any trends and the reasons behind these trends.

2021 Headlines - Stroma Certification

Comparing 2021 with 2020 is problematic due to the various impacts of the pandemic coming to bear in varying ways within both years.

2021 has been a far more consistent year, as we haven’t seen the dramatic lows of lockdown 1 (April to June 2020), nor the tremendous highs of the resulting bounce back (July-Nov 2020). In fact, there has also been a loss of seasonality, with the exception of the Christmas period. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues into 2022.

In total, Stroma Certification saw 530,007 lodgements, which was an increase of 4,000 lodgements in 2020, equating to a growth of 1% increase over the prior year.

Certification division growth was mainly attributed to new Retrofit Scheme lodgements - Retrofit Assessor (AS) and Coordinator (RC).

EPBD Scheme Market

The market itself grew in 2021 by 11%, with an increase of 186.7k lodgements. It is not possible to comment on industry-wide Retrofit Scheme lodgements.

The year started strongly despite being in a lockdown and the industry continued to operate at high volumes, peaking in March. This was mostly driven by the domestic market, where the stamp duty holiday was driving sale volumes. This was extended from March to June, but the impacts were only really felt up until April.

Once the incentive was gone, there was a cooling of the market, and it appears that many transactions had been moved forwards to benefit from the incentive, rather than encouraging more house sales to happen. The seasonality (aside from Christmas periods) has mostly gone out of the market, as can be seen from July onwards.

Training

Training has always been a good contributor to the revenue of Stroma Certification. We pride ourselves on the quality of the teaching and learning experience of our candidates. We continue to hold Direct Claims Status with ABBE on all major qualifications.

Due to the pandemic, in 2020 we converted all courses to an online version and made them available to clients, who found this a more convenient and cost-effective way of learning.

Our most popular courses are DEA and PAS 2035 Retrofit Assessor. Both are requirements of the Retrofit Assessor role and to date, we have trained nearly 700 learners (since Nov 2019).

OCDEA is also very popular and as the building regulations are about to change, it is likely that CPD and upskill training will prove popular and necessary in 2022. OCDEA/SAP is also used by PAS 2035 so we have seen additional interest in the course. Current SAP assessors should look at how their skill can be utilised in PAS 2035 for detailed calculations of dwelling performance where ventilation, thermal bridging, thermal mass, and communal heating systems are a consideration.

Our NDEA course is now a combined L3 and L4 course, meaning learners can become fully skilled by completing a single course. This was launched online in 2021 and has been very well-reviewed by our learners. This course gives our learners the ability to assess any level of commercial building and can be complemented by additional L5 DSM training when the individual has become confident and practised in this discipline.

Finally, we have also launched an industry-first, combined ACIR L3 and L4 course. This is in partnership with our software provider, Ace Wizard and means that we have a high value, compelling and completely online ACIR training offering. Again, this combined course allows the learner to qualify with the ability to assess all types of AC systems, and the Ace Wizard software is the industry-leading solution that brings many value-added benefits to our clients.

Our current training calendar can be viewed via this LINK and course dates are being added weekly.

Learning Management System (LMS) – Stroma Learning

In early 2020, Stroma Certification committed to launching a CPD portal or Learning Management System. The pandemic delayed the release of the platform, but we were able to launch this in mid-2021 and now have a system that hosts CPD and short course material for Stroma members. The LMS is designed to allow our members and other interested learners the ability to self-serve their learning needs without needing to contact the team. The LMS serves up content in a format that is engaging and that provides certified CPD, via a simple-to-use system.

We are currently able to offer 18 external courses and 20 internal courses, and we will be adding to this library over the coming months and beyond.

The LMS can be accessed via this LINK

Some of the material will be written by our technical teams and we will be working with approved content partners and industry experts to curate a compelling blend of CPD courses that cover the EPB and Retrofit Schemes and wider subjects. Look out for the following:

  • SAP 10.2 – methodology and software changes
  • New Building regulations – Parts L and O
  • Ventilation masterclasses
  • Methodology Bootcamps (RdSAP, SBEM, SAP and Retrofit Assessment)
  • Retrofit Assessment in Practice
  • Improving Professional skills – such as online presence and business skills

Focus Areas for 2022

  • Develop and release FSAP 10.2 and support further development of the platform via strategic integrations and improved u-value calculator.
  • Begin to develop RdSAP 10 software and scheme member support.
  • Grow the Retrofit Schemes and scheme members capabilities via technical support, CPD and software improvements.
  • Expand the LMS CPD offering for both internal and external learners. Ensure revenue can be generated throughout the year.
  • Further training courses and qualifications required by our industry.