Life as a Domestic Energy Assessor
What's it like as a DEA? How much do you earn per assessment?
Today we sat down with Elmhurst Technical Consultant Mark Wakeling to find out what life's like as a Domestic Energy Assessor. Some of you may recognise Mark Wakeling from one of our DEA training courses, or as the voice on the other end of the phone, but he's also a qualified DEA and Legionella and Inventory inspector. Here's what he had to say...
How long have you been with Elmhurst?
Nearly two years.
And how long have you been qualified as a DEA?
Just over six years, but I’ve been qualified as a Legionella and Inventory inspector for a year.
Why did you choose to become a DEA?
It was by accident, actually. My background’s in engineering and I’ve always been interested in buildings, structural design and carbon reduction. My role at my previous company was related to renewable energy and that required me to qualify as a DEA.
And why Legionella and Inventory?
That’s because I work on the technical support team for Elmhurst and we have to know about the different accreditation strands. But it’s been quite useful. I still complete DEA assessments on weekends and you’d be surprised at the work you get by offering to complete an Inventory or Legionella assessment at the same time. A £50 job can soon turn into £90!
What does a typical day as a DEA look like?
Well I worked for a company, which meant I was allocated appointments. I was given anywhere from 4-6 appointments per day which I’d book in for either a morning or afternoon. You’d then go round with your equipment- tape measure and ladder etc. and conduct the assessment.
How long does a survey take?
It varies depending on the size and complexity of the property, but on average it can take between 1-2 hours.
How much do you charge?
Again, it’s down to the size and complexity of the property, but personally I charge between £50 and £75 per EPC. There’s no set price for an EPC so it’s up to you how much you want to charge.
Any advice for those just starting out?
I think now is a great time to join the industry, and we’ve certainly seen a rise in lodgements over the past year. That’s due in part to the MEES legislation and the fact that the lifespan of an EPC is 10 years (EPCs were introduced in 2007), so you’ve got a rise in demand for assessments.
I think the best way to get work is to call estate agents, and just get your name out there. Most DEAs are self-employed so it’s good to network with other people in your area and get a feel for what’s going on. That’s part of the reason we started TechNet. My other advice is to be reliable and don’t promise work you can’t do.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Every day is different; no house is the same and everyday you’re meeting new people. I think of every house as a challenge, which keeps things interesting and tests out your problem solving skills.
And the worst part?
Probably going into lofts, which can be dusty. That and dirty houses.
Any finally, any funny stories?
Well there is one that comes to mind… a few years ago me and another guy were carrying out an assessment on a house and we needed to get into the loft. The homeowner said that was fine but asked that we try and be quiet as her kids were sleeping in the room opposite. My friend then gets out his ladder, goes about half way up, and it collapses- throwing him headfirst through the door where the kids are sleeping! It was like something out of Only Fools and Horses!