Energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes - skills requirements: consultation

Consultation on proposals for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat network skills requirements for homes in support of our draft Heat in Buildings Strategy.

3. Our proposals

3.1 Installer skills requirement proposals

We propose to integrate the Scottish installer skills matrix developed by the Quality And Skills Working Group into the BSI PAS 2030 installer standards And the MCS standards. This would provide more clarity for the qualification annexes already in these standards as PAS 2030 states the need to hold an 'industry agreed, vocational qualification of apprenticeship' without stating what these are. Also, in the case of PAS 2030 it states an alternative requirement would be a 'certificate of competence relevant to the Energy Efficiency Measure (EEM) to be installed'. In practice this could be manufacturer led training And whilst we see manufacturers having an important role in training, we think this should be in addition to And not instead of recognised qualifications or equivalent. We have included a question on this as part of this consultation.

The Skills Group understood that there were already a number of existing industry recognised qualifications And that it was important to bring these together into one overarching skills matrix covering construction, heating And electrical work. The development of this skills matrix is now complete with all members of the group agreeing that it should be implemented as soon as practically possible.

The full skills matrix has been developed on a measure by measure basis And can be found in Annex B. This is broken down as follows:

  • Mandatory vocational career paths where applicable.
  • Mandatory qualification elements as recommended by the Skills Group.

To illustrate, for insulation measures we are proposing the following mAndatory career path:

  • SVQ in Insulation And Building Treatments (Construction) at SCQF level 5 Or
  • SQA Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Insulation And Building Treatments (Construction Cold/Warm Roof Insulation) Or
  • SQA Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Insulation And Building Treatments (Construction) Or
  • External Wall Insulation – Boarder/Finisher

In addition, if any work is to be carried out on pre-1919 buildings the following qualification will be mAndatory:

  • SQA Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older And Traditional Buildings

So these would be referenced within PAS 2030 under competency requirements for Scotland.

As another example, for air source And ground source we are proposing the following mAndatory career path:

  • SVQ 3 Domestic Plumbing And Heating at SCQF Level 7 Or
  • SVQ 3/SCQF 6 Install, Commission And Maintain Refrigeration Systems Or
  • SVQ 3/SCQF 6 Install, Commission And Maintain Air Conditioning Systems

In addition to the following mAndatory qualifications:

  • NOS Mapped - Install And Commission Fuel Systems: emergent technologies
  • Water Byelaws/Regulations
  • Domestic Vented And Unvented Hot Water Storage

In addition – And in similar vein to insulation - if any work is to be carried out on pre-1919 buildings the SQA Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older And Traditional Buildings will be required.

So these would be referenced in the MCS installer standards for heat pumps.

Recognised Prior Learning

The qualifications presented in the skills matrix can also be achieved through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)[6] which is another route to achieving these competencies. This is contingent on the current skills set of the operative And may be less time consuming compared with a full training course to achieve the necessary qualification. Local colleges can support industry to develop pathways to support installers to achieve the minimum competencies.

However, we would welcome feedback on the proposed routes to upskilling existing installers including any significant barriers.


It is our intention to integrate the skills matrix within PAS 2030 And MCS by summer 2021. It is our intention that the skills matrix, in the first instance, is initially included as a guide for achieving competency within the standards. However, we would expect the skills matrix to become mandatory within a reasonable timescale to allow installers to meet these requirements. Overall, we would welcome stakeholder views on the timings for these requirements.

Q1a – Do you agree with our proposal to integrate the installer skills matrix into the Publically Available Specification (PAS) 2030 And Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installer standards?

Q1b Do you agree with our recommendation that manufacturer training should be in addition to, not instead of, these skills requirements?

Q1c If you disagree with these proposals, please let us know why.

Q2 – What are your views on the timing for integrating the installer skills matrix into the PAS 2030 And MCS installer standards? What do you think would be a reasonable timescale for the making the skills matrix mAndatory in the standards?

Q3 – What are your views on how installers can meet these skills requirements, in particular the Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) route?

3.2 Skills requirements proposal (PAS 2035) for other roles

As mentioned at the beginning of this consultation, PAS 2035/30 covers a number of specific roles involved with retrofit work. PAS 2030 which covers the installer requirements has been covered in the previous section And this section will focus on all the other roles. Figure 2 summaries PAS 2035/30 in terms of the roles including the new Retrofit Coordinator which is a critical component of the new standards.

Flow chart showing the interactions in the role of a retrofit coordinator between a client and the assessor, designer, installer and evaluator.

Figure 2 - PAS 2035 roles in blue (*the Retrofit Coordinator could also be the advisor, assessor, designer and evaluator).

An overview of the roles along with competency requirements are covered below.

Retrofit Coordinator

The role of the Retrofit Coordinator is to protect both the Client's interest and the public interest. The Retrofit Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the project from inception to completion i.e. the risk assessment (which dictates pathways which in turn relate to competencies of designer), the dwelling assessment, the retrofit design, installation And post-completion monitoring And evaluation.

A critical element of PAS 2035 is the risk assessment carried out by the Retrofit Coordinator on the dwelling to identify the level of risk associated with the retrofit with grades given on the overall risk from A (low), B (medium) And C (high). The factors that inform the risk include: number of dwellings to be improved, the number of improvements per dwelling, technical risk of measures, the risk of combining measures And the construction type.

The risk identified then informs the pathway required for the project which has implications on the competency of the other roles required. For example the competency of the designer will need to be very high where high risk projects are concerned

Mandatory competency requirements

Level 5 Diploma in Retrofit Coordination And Risk Management, or who can provide evidence of currently working towards such a qualification via a recognised RPL process or via a training course that appears on the register maintained by Ofqual/SQA.

Retrofit Assessor

The Retrofit Assessor shall conduct assessments of the building with the required data to be captured dependent on the risk path identified by the Retrofit Coordinator. For high risk projects (path C) this shall include the principles set out in the RICS guidance note Surveys of residential properties at "survey level three".

The whole-dwelling assessment including a ventilation assessment, shall be recorded And reported to the Retrofit Designer, including any StAndard Assessment Procedure (SAP), Reduced Data StAndards Assessment Procedure (RDSAP) or Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) data file And a photographic record of all the recorded features of the building And of any identified defects.

Mandatory competency requirements

  • Risk grade A projects – a Retrofit Coordinator or a Domestic Energy Assessor (or via recognised RPL).
  • Risk grade B/C projects - a Domestic Energy Assessor (or via recognised RPL) And where the dwelling to be assessed is a protected building then the Assessor shall hold the Scottish Level 6 Award in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older And Traditional Buildings.

Retrofit Designer

A Retrofit Designer prepares a package of information that determines the unique combination of energy efficiency measure systems, products, materials And their interrelationships, to be installed in a building in order to achieve specified energy efficiency And other outcomes for that building.

Mandatory competency requirements

The competency requirements for designers in PAS 2035 are:

Risk grade A projects – a specialist designer or specifier of that measure who holds a recognised qualification via a recognised RPL process or via a training course that appears on SQA website. They should also be approved by the manufacturer of that system And for gas installations hold a Gas Safe registration or for oil heating holds competent person registration. For microgeneration installations the Retrofit Designer should be MCS certified. For other projects assessed as risk grade A, a Retrofit Designer shall be either a Retrofit Coordinator or a Chartered Architectural Technologist (or working towards such registration via RPL).

Risk grade B – require the following: a Retrofit Coordinator, a Chartered Architectural Technologist, an Architect registered by the Architects Registration Board or a professional member of the Chartered Institute of Building or a Chartered Building Surveyor.

Risk grade C – same as risk B but for traditionally constructed buildings can also include: the Conservation Accreditation Register for Engineers, the Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation, Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors And the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Retrofit Evaluator

A Retrofit Evaluator is a person qualified to monitor And evaluate the effectiveness of a retrofit project And provide feedback to the Client And/or the project team.

There are three levels of monitoring: basic, intermediate And advanced. All projects must have basic monitoring with intermediate And/or advanced monitoring applied if the intended outcomes have not been achieved as measured through basic monitoring. This would be based on the opinion of the Client, the Retrofit Coordinator of the Retrofit Evaluator.

Mandatory competency requirements

The competency of the Retrofit Coordinator is sufficient for all levels of monitoring but with the additional requirement that they must also hold the Scottish Level 6 Award in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older And Traditional Buildings. For basic monitoring the Retrofit Coordinator And the Retrofit Evaluator can be the same person unlike intermediate And/or advanced monitoring which has to be carried out by a separate Retrofit Coordinator who's role is to evaluate the project only.

Any person delivering retrofit advice

Retrofit advice is required to be given to a client or householder during the retrofit process about the process, the evaluation of improvement options, the selection of improvement measures, the retrofit design, the operation And maintenance of installed measures, or how to operate a home in an energy efficient way, after retrofit.

Mandatory competency requirements

City And Guilds Energy awareness And energy advice training And passed the associated examination And practical test, or who is working towards that qualification via a recognised training course or RPL process. Alternatively a Green Deal Advisor certified And registered by a recognised certification body or a Retrofit Coordinator. As PAS 2035 develops all retrofit advisors will need to meet all requirements including any future advice standards.

Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland is an advice service funded by the Scottish Government And managed by the Energy Saving Trust to provide free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste And more. Home Energy Scotland's mission is to help people in Scotland create warmer homes, reduce their bills And help tackle climate change.

To ensure a world class advice services, all the advisors working for Home Energy Scotland have the City And Guilds Energy awareness qualification as a minimum with some advisors also having additional qualifications relating to their specialism e.g. renewables.

Our proposal for these roles

We propose adopting these requirements And working with Scottish colleges to deliver training And qualifications in line with these competency requirements.

Q4 – What are your views on the competency requirements for the retrofit coordinator, advisor, assessor, designer And evaluator roles?

3.3 Heat network skills

The Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish Government on 2 March 2020, And forms part of the Scottish Government's response to the global climate emergency.

The Bill aims to stimulate the deployment of heat networks in Scotland by introducing supportive regulation, which will increase investor, consumer And supply chain certainty And confidence.

Consequently, heat networks in Scotland are expected to create new demands on the supply chains needed to design, install, commission And maintain these networks. To understand this better we commissioned research through Energy Saving Trust to identify skills gaps And training needs within the sector. The report was complete And published on Energy Saving Trust website in May 2020[7].

The research reviewed existing teaching provision of heat network skills in Scottish colleges And universities; identified the skills gaps in the Scottish heat network supply chain And compiled a list of colleges And universities with an interest And the potential to expAnd their curriculum content on heat networks to begin to address skills gaps which were identified as follows:

  • project management of heat networks, delivery And operation (e.g. understanding of heat network design, how to procure contractors, stakeholder engagement)
  • heat network design (e.g. most efficient design of pipe routes, low temperature networks, design for retrofit of networks into older buildings)
  • installation And optimisations of heat networks (e.g. extrusion welding for steel pipes, ability to install heat interface units, training on understanding design principles).
  • technical operation And maintenance (e.g. maintaining heat interface units, understanding of building energy management systems, calibrating internals with flow return requirements with different pressures).

Six institutions were recommended in the report as having potential to host courses due to their existing course content on heat networks, as well as opportunities to deliver practical teaching due to existing heat network connections on the college campus or proximity to a heat network. The institutions were Glasgow Kelvin, Edinburgh, South Lanarkshire And West Scotland colleges, And Glasgow Caledonian And Heriot-Watt Universities. Other colleges with proximity to heat networks may also offer potential And should be explored as part of the project brief.

In addition, there is ongoing work to develop technical standards for heat networks which will form a core part of the regulatory regime so that we can design out early on any inefficiencies And consumer detriment arising when networks are poorly specified. Technical standards are also expected to help develop new supply chains in Scotland And drive down costs.

In partnership with the UK Department for Business, Energy And Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Scottish Government have commissioned the British StAndards Institute (BSI) to scope out the possibility of developing a common standard that would apply across Great Britain. Our long term intention is to develop technical standards which can be certified against which will provide further opportunities for further qualifications in Scotland.

Q5 – What are your views on our plans for developing heat network skills? For example are there any gaps in heat network skills that we haven't identified?

3.4 General considerations for all skills requirements

We are also seeking views to further develop our partial Business And Regulatory Impact Assessment, in particular the impact our proposals will have on the energy efficiency, microgeneration And heat networks sector, particularly for remote rural And island areas. Relating to this we are also keen to get views on the use of digital technologies for training provision And more generally views on what support (if any) is required to support our ambitions for a highly skilled workforce. These points are summarised in the following consultation questions which apply to all the skills requirements featured in this consultation.

Q6a – What impact do you think our skills requirements will have on the energy efficiency, microgeneration And heat networks sector in remote rural And island communities?

Q6b – What impact do you think our skills requirements will have on the energy efficiency, microgeneration And heat networks sector in Scotland more generally?

Q7 – What impact do you think our skills requirements will have on competition including training provision, quality, availability or price of any goods or services in a market?

Q8 – What suggestions do you have for how digital technology could be used effectively to meet our skills requirements?

Q9 – Are there any areas of skills we have not covered in this consultation that you think we should consider?

Q10 – What support you think would help the sector achieve these skills requirements?



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