Interview with a Retrofit Assessor
What makes someone qualify as a DEA, NDEA, OCDEA, Retrofit Assessor, and Retrofit Coordinator? The Elmhurst team recently caught up with Jarrod Green from EQUANS to find out what motivated him, and explore what it's like working as a Retrofit Assessor.
When/why did you decide to get into Retrofit Assessment?
Just through natural career progression really. Since our clients are mainly housing associations, councils, and schools, Retrofit and PAS 2035 is very big at the moment and it made sense to train up in the area.
Why did you decide to get qualified in all strands?
I came to the company as a DEA and OCDEA, then progressed with the commercial side. Following that, Retrofit Assessment and Retrofit Coordination are things our clients are going to need in the future so it was just the natural next step.
Can you describe a general day in your life as a Retrofit Assessor?
I start off by doing the Energy Report first and ensuring it’s accurate, and once this is completed I’ll generally be at the top of the house which is where I start the condition report. I’ll do the assessments in the loft, then work down the house, doing the ventilation strategies as I go, conditions of each of the rooms, heating, and everything else that needs to go in the report, and then I end up back on the ground floor again. Then I’ll do the outside of the house, such as the elevations. There’s also the occupancy assessment to complete whilst I’m on site.
It usually takes me around 2 hours to complete a Retrofit Assessment, depending on the house type, and I’ll do about 4 or 5 a day. When you’ve completed assessments for numerous houses of the same archetype, you have an idea of what to look for. However, when you start a new project and the houses are different archetypes, it can take longer to ensure that everything is completed accurately. With the new PAS 2035 regulations, the Retrofit Assessment is the start of everything, so it’s really important that it’s completed correctly.
After completing a Retrofit Assessment you go back to wherever you’re working – either the office or home - to collate information gathered for the assessment, and get the energy reports sorted. We do a 3D model, which makes it easier to convert the RdSAP to SAP, and we can put in some figures relating to the property.
Have you got any advice for anyone looking to enter the Retrofit Assessment industry?
Just get into it! If you want to be doing this kind of work (PAS 2035), you need to be a Retrofit Assessor. There’s things we have to look out for to ensure the house is ventilated and heated correctly, and implementing the right measures at the right times. There’s also the element of communicating with everyone in the process, such as the coordinator and the designer. As part of EQUANS, I get to communicate with them throughout, however I’m unsure if independent assessors have that much involvement in the Retrofit Assessment. I’m fortunate that I get to see it all the way through.
So is it more beneficial to be employed rather than an independent assessor?
For me it is, but not everyone will see it that way. I don’t want to just do an assessment and then forget about it – I like to see what I’ve achieved and how suggestions I’ve made will impact the final product. When we start the project we have a discussion to find out what we’re looking to achieve, and if you’re self-employed, doing a basic Retrofit Assessment isn’t always what’s needed. Just doing what you’ve been trained to isn’t always right for that project - there can be additional things which need to be done.
How did you find the Retrofit Assessor training?
I found it very easy because I did it with Elmhurst! Also, I’ve been an assessor for 10 years, which definitely helped. Even before the assessments we were doing similar things for clients, such as condition reports, which again, made the training simpler to understand.
How would less experienced DEAs find the training?
A good understanding of how a property is built and potential faults is needed, eg. How moisture and condensation builds up within a property without proper ventilation is key to a condition report. You also have to understand the physics of a property; it’s more than just measuring and doing a basic EPC.
However, these are all things which can be easily taught, and the information and bulletins that Elmhurst put out all help make it easier.
How do you find our Retrofit Assessor software?
I really like Elmhurst’s RdSAP to SAP converter as you don’t have to manually enter the information from the RdSAP! It’s very helpful. You don’t want to waste time by having your RdSAP open and manually entering your information into SAP, so it’s a real time saver.
Are there any exciting opportunities in Retrofit coming up right now?
There’s always opportunities in Retrofit – and with the introduction of PAS 2035, it’s meant big things for the industry. EQUANS has successfully secured a place on the GLA’s retrofit accelerator framework which aims to transform the way London retrofits its ageing and energy-inefficient housing to create warm, affordable and ultra-low carbon homes in addition to being involved with a third of all the demonstrator SHDF schemes, so we are going to be busy for a while!
You should definitely consider doing the course if you’re a DEA as it’s more interesting than doing a standard EPC for an estate agent – you’re getting involved in trying to improve someone’s property to help them have a more comfortable living environment. It’s always good to see the end result and to see that the improvements I’ve suggested have been implemented.
Any other comments?
We’ve found that Elmhurst are very good with providing us valuable information, such as through technical bulletins. Elmhurst are also good at answering any questions that we have.
Interested in becoming a Retrofit Assessor?
You can find out more about the training options available to DEAs here > https://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/training/retrofit-assessor-training
For those who live and work in England, we currently have a Government funded opportunity available for DEAs, who can train and accredit as a Retrofit Assessor at no cost. Please note this is a time limited oportunity and is available on a first come, first served basis. More information available here > https://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/government-funded-retrofit-assessor-training