Heat in Buildings strategy - quality assurance: policy statement

Quality assurance is critical to our heat decarbonisation aims. This policy statement focuses on the standards, skills and certifications required for installers on SG schemes, proposed ways to tackle scams and mis-selling and how to improve public engagement.

1. Ministerial Foreword

Our Heat in Buildings Strategy sets out our vision for decarbonising heat and the actions Scotland is taking in the buildings sector to deliver our climate change commitments, maximise economic opportunities, and tackle fuel poverty. This will necessitate significant improvements in energy efficiency and massively increased installation rates of zero emissions heating in buildings. Public buy-in is critical to this and consumers must be assured that any work carried out is done to a high standard, represents good value for money and achieves the necessary savings – both financial and carbon – whilst maintaining or raising

high comfort levels. Achieving this will require strong quality assurance, ensuring that all work is carried out by skilled operatives, in accordance with enforceable industry standards with adequate redress in place to protect consumers.

This policy statement focuses on the actions we will to take to develop a quality assurance scheme that meets the needs of people and communities in Scotland. The measures outlined in this statement will encourage the high standards that we seek, while also increasing consumer confidence in the quality of work done and the level of consumer support and redress available.

Implementing these actions will ensure that installation work undertaken under the proposed TrustMark scheme and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme will be carried out by competent individuals, with appropriate warranties and guarantees backed up by independent inspections with appropriate enforcement where required. There will also be a single point of contact to support consumers with any issues or complaints to ensure these are resolved as effectively as possible.

In developing this policy statement we have considered responses to the Heat in Buildings Strategy consultation and accompanying skills consultation This statement also forms our response to the March 2021 consultation on Scottish skills requirements for energy efficiency, zero emissions and low carbon heating systems, microgeneration and heat networks for homes.

This statement will serve as the foundation for any future domestic householder support, and the actions taken, such as requiring TrustMark approval, will initially apply as a requirement for our upcoming Home Energy Scotland loans and cashback scheme, which will provide financial assistance directly to householders or private landlords. For non-domestic buildings ongoing work is required to establish the best quality assurance requirements, and we have also included our approach to developing these.

By requiring improved standards for our own schemes, creating opportunities for Scottish specific concerns to be raised with BSI and approval bodies, and by supporting consumers to access trusted suppliers while avoiding bad actors, we hope to encourage a greater level of skills and competence in the industry more generally and foster a more secure sector that customers can be confident in regardless of how their work is funded.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the good work that installers and others in the supply chain are currently doing, and we hope that by taking the steps set out in this document, we can ensure that every business that is committed to producing high-quality work can benefit from our programmes, regardless of their size or location. We will continue to work with industry and other stakeholders to implement these actions and develop ways to support transformational change for the industry through our forthcoming Supply Chain Delivery Plan.

Overall, it is my intention that by taking the steps outlined in this policy statement, we will be able to make the process of retrofitting our homes as simple as possible while maintaining excellent quality. In addition, we can provide clarity to the supply chain about our goals for standards, skills, and quality assurance, allowing them to engage effectively in our burgeoning retrofit market, one that Scotland can be truly proud of.

Patrick Harvie MSP

Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights


Email: heatinbuildings@gov.scot

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