Alok Sharma inspects insulation on a visit to Wokingham business InstaGroup
Builders, plumbers, and other tradespeople advised to become TrustMark accredited so they can ‘crack on’ and offer grant-funded services under the government’s new energy efficiency scheme
Business Secretary Alok Sharma has called on tradespeople across England to take steps to ensure they are eligible to provide green home improvements under the Green Home Grants scheme, which is set to launch next month.
On a visit to insulation installer InstaGroup in Wokingham yesterday, Sharma emphasised that the energy efficiency subsidy scheme for homeowners would “create new work for many thousands of talented builders, plumbers, and other tradespeople”.
However, he warned some businesses could miss out on the opportunity and said he was “urging businesses to sign up and get TrustMark accredited so they can crack on and offer their services to households across the country when the scheme opens”.
The £2bn Green Homes Grant scheme will see the government fund up to two thirds of the cost of approved green home improvements, with grants capped at either £5,000 or £10,000 for low income households. Earlier this month the government confirmed the range of technologies that are eligible for the scheme, including heat pumps, solar thermal systems, insulation, and double glazing where it replaces single glazing.
The scheme is also designed to support thousands of jobs across the construction and plumbing sectors as the UK enters the deepest recession in its history.
But in order to be able to reap the benefits from a surge of interest expected to be spurred by the government’s subsidy programme, tradespeople must be registered with the government’s TrustMark accreditation scheme.
Tradespeople hoping to install energy efficiency measures must also be certified to installation standards, and those who want to install low carbon heat measures be certified to work on the relevant heating technology through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
Accreditation will take “as few as five working days” for members of a recognised trade body, such as the Federation of Master Builders or the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, according to the government.
Ministers insist the accreditation schemes are essential to guard against ‘cowboy builders’ taking advantage of the grant scheme and undertaking sub-standard work.
Sharma yesterday spoke to a number of business organisations – including Certass, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, Federation of Master Builders, and National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers – who said they would all encourage their members to sign up to the TrustMark certification.