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Government urged to ban data collectors from EPC market

Domestic energy assessors are being urged to sign a petition to block data collectors from producing Energy Performance Certificates for the residential property market amid concerns about inaccurate data.

Haley Fairless, a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor, suggests that data collectors are being used for EPC work instead of DEAs because of their competitive service costs. A DEA charges around £60 per property while data collectors can cost around as little as £15.

She claims: "Data collectors are being sent out into the field collecting all the data they require and coming back and lodging all the reports under an accredited DEA’s number. They are giving out very untrue readings, which is causing complaints."

In response, Jim Gillespie, chairman of the Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors, has registered a petition on the 10 Downing Street website, calling on the Government to prevent unaccredited data collectors from carrying out EPC work that only DEAs are qualified to undertake.

"Data collectors are not qualified to do the whole DEA job," he claims. "They don’t have the accreditation; they don’t have to sit the exam a DEA needs to sit."

Agents can use data collectors to update existing information within an EPC but Communities and Local Government guidelines state that properties must be visited by a DEA where a new EPC is required.

But confusion surrounds CLG guidelines about whether data collectors can be used in the residential property market.

Luke Sheppard, training manager at Quidos, a training and accreditation agency, says: "There is some grey area and there is some scope for allowing data collectors to go out on a regular EPC job.

"We are yet to get an official answer [from the CLG], but the interpretation could be taken either way within its documents."

A spokesman for the CLG says: "We have issued guidance on the specific and limited circumstances in which a data collector can undertake an initial visit to a property. Energy assessors are always required to issue the EPC and take responsibility for its accuracy.

"If further clarity were required we would consider additional guidance."

Three hundred people have so far signed IDEA’s petition, which can be found at /.

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