Monday, 27 October 2008

SEI denies shortage of assessors for energy ratings

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has strongly rejected claims from architects and the building sector that property sales will grind to a halt in the new year because no assessors have been trained to carryout energy ratings on secondhand buildings.

From January1, all existing dwellings and buildings must be assessed and rated for their energy-efficiency before they can be sold or leased.

While no assessors have been trained to carry out ratings on existing buildings to-date, SEI has said it is confident there will be enough assessors when the legislation is introduced in ten weeks’ time.

More than 800 assessors are registered with SEI to assess on new houses, but these can be carried out from the plans of the building. For assessments on existing buildings, the assessors require new training and must visit and examine the buildings.

Following a surge in demand for new training, SEI will release the methods for calculating energy ratings on existing buildings this week. This will enable 20 training providers across the country to devise courses, which must be approved by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or the Vocational Education and Training Awards Council.

A spokesman for the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) said that some of the body’s members who had trained as assessors for new dwellings had been ‘‘looking anxiously for information about courses regarding the new regulations’’.

‘‘We hope there will be a big uptake of training when these become available, because these assessors are very much needed” - he said.

Carine Gachon, of the mechanical and industrial engineering department at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, where more than 400 assessors have been trained, said she had been receiving daily enquiries about when the new courses would be available.

‘‘We hope it will be November, but there are a lot of things to put in place to comply with the certification of assessors. The new courses will be three-and-a-half days or one week long, depending on whether the candidate has done the previous course” - said Gachon.

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