Competent Person Schemes
Competent Person Schemes have been around for many years. The most well known are BBA, FENSA, ASSURE, CERTASS, NAPIT, NICEIC and OFTEC
Competent Person Schemes (CPS) have been around for many years.
To classify as a Competent Person in their chosen line of work in the Home Improvement Industry, they have to be registered and approved by The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which was established by the Government as far back as 2002.
Its full title is the Competent Person Self-Certification Scheme.
The scheme enables businesses that are involved in certain building trades to self-certify that the work that they have undertaken meets the appropriate Building Regulations.
This avoids the need to obtain Building Regulations approval, which involves submitting a building notice and inspection by an approved inspector, and is more expensive and time consuming.
Competent Person Schemes also encourage ongoing training of individuals within the building trade resulting in them being more “competent”, producing higher standards of workmanship to meet UK Building Regulations. Members of the Double Glazing Competent Person Schemes need to show Minimum Technical Competensy before they are able to join. You can read more about MTCs on the CERTASS website, here.
The Competent Person Schemes are one of the ways to eradicate cowboy builders from the industry.
The consumer would no doubt find it beneficial to use a tradesperson that operates under the Competent Person Schemes as it will reduce the overall cost of having the work undertaken as there are no building control fees payable. The various schemes also make it easier for local authorities to administer and enforce Building Regulations across the board.
Glazing, electrical, plumbing, gas, cavity wall insulation, air conditioning and roofing.
In the case of glazing this would mean a business that is involved in the installation of replacement doors, windows, roof windows, and roof lights too.
In order to become a ‘Competent Person’, you have to be registered with a scheme that has the approval of The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
In the case of the glazing industry, this could be a Competent Person Scheme such as FENSA, CERTASS or Assure Certification. In fact, 92% of doors and windows that are installed in the UK are covered by FENSA with more than 9 million door and window certificates having been issued to date.
The application process may differ between the various Competent Person Schemes operators so you should check this with the scheme operator relevant to your trade.
However, you will need to prove that you can meet the Minimum Technical Competencies (MTC).
For example, in the case of FENSA you can apply whether you operate as a sole trader, partnership or limited company.
You would submit a written application form providing various information including your bank details as FENSA would wish to undertake a bank reference to establish the business’s stability.
You would need to provide an Insurance Backed Guarantee policy to your customers, for Deposit and Warranty protection, and have in place suitable public and employer's liability insurance (if appropriate).
You need to have a minimum of two years’ relevant industry experience as a surveyor or installer. Some of your work will be assessed to make sure that it meets the minimum requirements. Going forward, periodic inspections will be carried out of your workmanship.
Your Competent Person Scheme will issue a certificate of compliance to the consumer confirming that the works have been carried out in accordance with Building Regulations and notify the local authority that the work has been done.
The scheme will give the consumer confidence in your business and should help you obtain further work.
Using a tradesperson that is registered under the Competent Person Schemes gives the consumer confidence that the work should be carried out to a satisfactory standard and in accordance with the appropriate Building Regulations.
The consumer can find a list of tradespeople that are registered with the Competent Person Schemes by visiting www.competentperson.co.uk and inserting their post code or check if a particular tradesperson is registered as such.
The customer is less likely to inadvertently employ a “cowboy installer” to carry out the work providing peace of mind.
The Insurance Backed Guarantee policy will also provide the customer with peace of mind should they encounter a problem with the work that is covered under the Contractor's Written Guarantee and discover that the installer has gone out of business* during the term of the guarantee that the installing company had offered. If this were to happen, the insurer would step in to have the problem put right at no cost to the consumer.
The consumer will receive a Building Regulations certificate to confirm compliance.
* As defined in the terms and conditions of the policy
It will save the consumer time and money to meet Building Regulations as no separate assessment of the work will need to be carried out by Building Control and the customer will not need to register the installation of, for example, the doors and/or windows with the local authority themselves. This could save the consumeranything up to £250.
So, as can be seen, the Competent Person Schemes provides significant benefits to the tradesperson, the consumer and the building industry as a whole.
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