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© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Soft Skills 1
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills DEA Soft Skills To effectively operate as an Energy Assessors you will have to acquire and develop a variety of “Soft Skills” that comprise of; Communication – keep good written and verbal correspondence between you and the client. Time management – make sure you leave enough time between appointments for travel and assessing. Continuing professional development – complete the needed amount of CPD to keep up to speed with the latest conventions and products. Professional image – try to keep a professional yet practical image.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Communication As a DEA you will work with a variety of people, due to this good communication and correspondence skills are needed in order to; To negotiate and accept an EPC instruction To confirm an appointment with the owner/occupier To obtain key information about a property to determine whether you are able to carry out the energy assessment. To give your client completion confirmation along with the EPC To accurately respond to a client’s queries about any aspects of the EPC or the assessment process.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Time management As a DEA it is beneficial to accurately time manage your appointments, ensuring you can make all the appointments you book in. As you carry out more surveys and become more competent you will have a better idea how long it takes to do an EPC on different size properties Familiarise yourself with the area you cover and travelling times, don’t forget to factor these into your diary. Don’t forget to also factor in rush hour traffic into your journey times
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills What is CPD? CPD - Continued Professional Development refers to activities undertaken by scheme members to maintain and build upon their skills and knowledge within the energy assessing environment. This enables you to keep well informed about the industry and to continuously improve your techniques when carrying out assessments and communicating with clients Stroma is obligated by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to ensure that all members meet their annual CPD requirements. To aid assessors with this we have a CPD Channel, which has videos to watch and learn from.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills How much CPD is required? As a DEA, you are required to complete 10 hours of CPD a year. If you hold more than one qualification, such as OCDEA you will be required to complete the required ten hours for DEA and a further 5 hours for any additional qualification held. In this case, fifteen hours of CPD would need to be fulfilled. To aid assessors with obtaining the required amount of CPD Stroma have a CPD Channel, the CPD channel is comprised videos on various different aspects of energy assessing.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills What is Acceptable? The following are all considered acceptable forms of CPD: New product ranges Particular property types in an individual’s area of work (e.g. system build, thatch) Any certificated lecture/ presentation on products and services New innovations that are not fundamental to the role they are undertaking Renewable Technologies Improvement in the use of IT skills and/ or written records You will need to supply satisfactory evidence of your CPD such as a certificate of CPD, attendance of events or with dates etc. 7
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills What isn’t Acceptable? The following are not acceptable forms of CPD: Training courses (leading to certification) Software changes Changes in building regulations Changes in DCLG guidance These are all considered fundamental learning in order to practice as a DEA, and therefore do not count as further development 8
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Professionalism Part of your “Soft Skills” require you to work in a professional and ethical manner. As a DEA and a lone worker you can easily be put in compromising positions and it is important you deal with these appropriately.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Professionalism Study the details in the following scenarios and as a group outline how you think an Energy Assessor should deal with the situation. 10
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario One 1.You have been asked to produce an EPC on a recently refurbished Property. The owner (a property developer) is on site during your inspection. He mentions that he needs a high energy rating to help the house sell quickly. As you are completing the data form, he offers you a cash ‘bonus’ if you enter a more efficient heating system than the one that is installed.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario One Answer What would you do? —Reject his offer in clear terms and explain your duties and responsibilities as an accredited Energy Assessor “If the discussion ends, consider completing the survey” —If he persists, politely withdraw from the situation —Make a clear notes in your site notes and/or property file —Contact your accreditation scheme and report the matter
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Two You have been asked to carry out an EPC on a property that has a heating system of a type you have not come across before (see next slide) How would you tackle this situation?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Two
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Two Answer How would you proceed? The heating system is a gas central heating system with a pressurised hot water tank Take as much information as possible on site (including photos & manufacturers details) and use this information to try and identify the system If you are totally unfamiliar with the system Research on the internet Seek advice from your colleagues or Accreditation Scheme Consider undertaking additional training to fill any gaps in your knowledge (CPD) Back in the Office.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Three An Estate Agent has asked you to carry out Energy Assessments at Four properties. He has arranged appointments for 10.30, 11.30, and 2pm. You have been given their addresses and told they are straight forward to do. The first house you arrive at is a 10 bedroom Mansion house The second is 15 miles away
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Three Answers The Mansion house will take longer than an hour to assess. You will need to ring ahead and re arrange times for the survey and confirm that the other houses are of size suitable to be surveyed in such a short length of time. The property owners/agents will need contacting as soon as possible to rearrange inspection times and dates. You should also point out to the estate agent the appropriate time scales involved.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Three Answers You should ensure that before accepting an EPC assessment that you have as much information about the property as possible, this can include; Location Size Occupancy Location of keys etc. Manage your diary appointments
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Four A householder has ordered an EPC on his property. The morning the inspection is due to take place, the owner rings to say he will have to go out but he will leave his 14 year old daughter in charge to let you in so you can do the survey. What would your response be to you client?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scenario Four Answer Under no circumstances should you enter a property where an unaccompanied minor is left in charge. You would have to rearrange the survey, ensuring an appropriate adult will be present and point out there may be a charge for a cancelled appointment.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Occupied properties You discover a scantily clad lady in one of the bedrooms apologise for the disturbance, then explain who you are and why you are there, you should then leave and inform your client immediately. A group of people in the sitting room with a number of syringes and substances in front of them. Abandon the survey and inform your client, also if they are not authorised to be there inform the police. A pile of twenty pound notes on a table in the bedroom and the owner is downstairs Take a photo of the money in situ then ask the owner to remove it, this should also be photographed. For added safety you could ask the owner to write and sign to say it has been moved by them. What would you do in the following situation?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Documentation The Domestic Energy Assessor qualification is designed to give individuals a platform to develop an energy assessment business. Therefore you are required to produce a range of documents and correspondence for before, during and after the survey. What correspondence and records do you think will be required?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Documentation Before the survey – Diary – Contract, including Ts & Cs, and costs – Seller questionnaire – Acceptance form – Complaints procedure During the survey – Site notes – EPC info sheet for client After the survey – EPC – Completion letter
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Quality Assurance All energy assessors are subject to quality assurance checks. These QA checks or audits are carried out by accredited DEA’s within the accreditation schemes. These are minimum checks for all DEA’s of 1% of EPC’s in a quarter or a minimum of 1 audit per quarter, assuming you lodge in that quarter, plus, the schemes must audit 2% of all surveys lodged, on the scheme These audit requirements are imposed by the DCLG and all schemes must adhere to them.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Quality Assurance Energy assessors are required to submit all their site notes floor plans photos and any supporting evidence when an audit is requested. There is a deadline of 15 working days to submit documents from the day the request is made. There are 3 possible out comes to an audit; Pass, Fail and Re-lodge. Most audits pass the assessment, but if the audit fails the scheme will carry out 2 additional audits. 25
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Quality Assurance 26
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Insurance Schemes shall ensure DEAs have a minimum professional indemnity insurance cover £50,000 public indemnity for each claim in relation to any particular EPC, £1,000,000 public liability insurance per claim. Supporting documents can be found at 27
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Scheme operating Requirements Overview of requirements For Schemes to remain compliant with DCLG requirements, they shall be able to demonstrate that the following provisions are in place, and are functioning correctly: 1. Ensure that members of the Scheme are “fit and proper” persons to undertake energy assessments and that they operate within a code of conduct as defined in Appendix 1.2 which is actively enforced by the Scheme. 2. Ensure that members of the Scheme are qualified to undertake energy assessments. 3. Ensure that members of the Scheme have in force suitable indemnity cover. 4. Ensure that members of the Scheme use operational procedures that ensure consistency and accuracy of energy assessments. 5. Maintain active quality assurance procedures that are calculated to ensure so far as is reasonably practical that the other provisions listed here are delivered. 6. Facilitate the resolution of complaints against members of the Scheme. 7. Implement disciplinary procedures in a proportionate and reasonable manner. 8. Establish and maintain a register of members. 9. Ensure financial probity, financial stability and operational resilience of the Scheme. 10. Allow DCLG to monitor the Scheme periodically to ensure that it continues to comply with the terms of its approval and delivers compliance with the legislation. 11. Maintain suitable administrative and operational systems that are applied in a consistent, fair and open way that is compliant with all relevant legislation. 12. Meet other requirements that DCLG has specified from time to time, and in line with the “Approval Letter”. 28
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills The Legal Context CONTRACT What are the seven elements of a simple Contract?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Elements of a Contract 1.Agreement An Agreement is formed when one party accepts the offer of another and involves a “meeting of the minds” 2.Consideration Both parties must have provided consideration, i.e, each side must promise to give or do something for each other 3.Intention The parties must have intended their agreement to have legal consequences. The law will not concern itself with purely domestic or social agreements.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Elements of a Contract 4.Form In some cases, certain formalities (that is, writing) must be observed 5.Capacity The parties must be legally capable of entering into a contract 6.Consent The agreement must have been entered into freely. Consent may be vitiated by duress or undue influence 7.Legality The purpose of the agreement must not be illegal or contrary to public policy
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills EPC Contract In a standard contract for an EPC, what is likely to be included in the Conditions (or Terms) of engagement?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Conditions of Engagement These will vary depending on the nature of the organization or individual but will usually include: ―The description of the EPC service ―The level of inspection ―What will happen if the EA is unable to complete the service (i.e. no access to premises) ―What the EA will charge for the service ―What charges will be made where the EPC cannot be completed ―Customer services issues (e.g. response times, delivery of the EPC, complaints scheme, etc.)
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Vicarious responsibility Vicarious liability: is the principle by which one person can be held liable for the actions of another. The person held vicariously liable need not necessarily be a person who carried out the act – she/he may in some circumstances be completely blameless. A Typical example would be the employee who carries out a negligent act and the employer is held responsible. There must usually be some sense in which the employer has authorized the acts of the party who is at fault. Who would be at fault if you’re a practicing DEA?
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Conflicts of Interest Any circumstance that might lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest must be explored by the EA with the seller and/or the person from whom instructions are received ―EA’s must identify and disclose any financial relationships with others involved in the transaction ―This is particularly important for organizations like estate agents who must understand the objective role of the EA ― A statement about relationships should be made in site notes. ―A Related Party Disclosure appears on the printed EPC.
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Security of Information Energy Assessors may come across personal or business information about the various parties, in particular the owner, occupier/s or sellers of the property, which has no relevance to the EPC ―Such information must not be recorded in the site notes or divulged to third parties save that the EA must not treat this provision as a reason to ignore their common law duties and responsibilities ―Energy Assessors must not use any information about the property in any other context without first obtaining the owner and/or seller’s written permission
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Security of Information Energy Assessors must keep all information & records safe and secure You must keep all your information relating to a survey for 15 years, it is therefore important that you: ―Protect your premises/offices with alarm systems and don’t keep computers in public view ―Restrict computer access to those needing it for business purposes ―Ensure you have up-to-date antivirus software ―Protect your network from hackers with a firewall ―Backup information regularly
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Data Protection Act The Data Protection Act requires all organizations which handle personal information to comply with a number of important principles regarding privacy and disclosure ―The Act states that anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles. ―These state that information must be:-
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Data Protection Act 1.Fairly and lawfully processed 2.Processed for limited purpose 3.Adequate, relevant and not excessive 4.Accurate and up to date 5.Not kept for longer than necessary 6.Processed in line with individuals’ rights 7.Secure 8.Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Fit & Proper Stroma will ensure that a person is ‘fit and proper’ for membership with the scheme by checking a person’s basic criminal disclosure —This is required by all new members and has to be dated within 1 years —Stroma will notify member’s one month prior to their certificate expiring —On going a new disclosure will be required every 3 Years Further information can be found at;
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Fit & Proper An application for Certification will not be successful if a person has been convicted or cautioned for a serious offence including (but not necessarily restricted to): – Murder – Manslaughter – Death by reckless driving – Rape – Kidnapping – Firearms offences – Hostage taking – Hijacking or torture 41
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Fit & Proper An application for Certification will be rejected or membership revoked if a person has committed an offence as listed below (which resulted in a prison sentence within the last 5 years) – Offences against a person – Offences against a property – Acts of dishonesty – Acts of corruption – Substantial Financial Gain – Serious Loss to Anyone (including theft, fraud and deception) All other cases will be assessed on an individual basis 42
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Data Gathering A ‘Data Gatherer’ is somebody who collects the property data on behalf of a qualified DEA who then lodges the report A domestic EPC can only be produced by a qualified DEA, therefore the use of data gatherers is strictly prohibited Before lodging the final report, you are required to confirm “I have been to site to gather data for this EPC” (Data Gatherer’s Declaration) This policy is in place to ensure that the DEA who visits the property is the person who lodges the final report. 43
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1 Stroma – Soft Skills Any Questions?
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