Response to Green Homes Grant Email Issued over Christmas

EEA clarifications of the GHG voucher issues sent out by Scheme Administrator over Christmas

Published 3 months ago (30th Dec 2020 00:00)
by Kenneth Campbell

It has been brought to our attention, by a number of installers, that nearly a thousand homeowners have received emails over Christmas telling them that there are issues with their voucher application which are delaying the issuing of their voucher.

In the majority of, but not all, cases the email goes on to tell them that the amount they have put in the quote section of their application, appears to be higher than average prices expected for that kind of work and that as there could be good reasons for this they need to get additional written detail from their installer.

Installers are right to be concerned at this communication.
Ideally, these emails should have gone to the installer, not the customer.

However, as it was the customer that made the grant application, they are the ones that get these emails.

In the first instance, installers should check that what the customer has entered in the relevant fields on their voucher application matches the amounts on the full quote they provided.

There is unfortunately a reason for the majority of these emails going out though, and it is simply that some cowboys have been "trying it on" and are hiding non-energy efficiency measures within their quotes.

The scheme is hyper sensitive to fraud; when it is suspected, it is over-reacting and affecting everyone.

All installers are now being required to be more transparent with what is included in their quotations.

If your customer has received one of these emails in the last few days it usually means that there is a lack of some specific detail about the measures being installed.

So for example, if you are installing Loft insulation you cannot just put a single line item on the quote saying

   Qty 1  x Loft Insulation =£xxxx

as there are several types of insulation that could be used (eg Mineral wool, Thermal Fleece, Spray Foam etc) which all  cost different amounts. It needs to be clear on the quotations what it is that you are using, because BEIS will base their quotation values off the lowest cost materials and reject quotes too much above that price.

You should instead have line items more like this

   118 m2 of loft insulation consisting of
          20 rolls of 200mm thick Rockwool  mineral wool insulation (5.93m2 per roll)
or if you are installing smart heating systems controls you can't just say

   Qty 1 x Hive Smart Heating System = £xxxx

you should say something like

    Hive Home Control Smart Heating System consisting of
                1 x Hive Active Main Heating Control Unit
                1 x Hive Active Heating Display Unit
                1 x Hive Hub
                7 x Hive Radiator control valves
                                                                            = £xxxx

This is our advice - not a GHG rule, so only a recommendation from us not from BEIS, TrustMark or the Scheme Administrator.

Where possible, line items should include:

The quantity of product / material to be used (in square meters for insulation coverage)
The type of product / material being used (with appropriate dimensions such as insulation thickness in mm)
The brand of product being used (with model no if appropriate)
If the product is already bundled, break out the bundle to show what is included.
Price (you don't need to price each item in a bundled product; just make it clear what is included in the price.)

To pre-empt any issues on future quotations we suggest adding a line entry or survey note for each measure whenever the installation is more complex, or likely to be slightly higher, or lower, than normal. This should just state the reason for the divergence from the expected norm, and detailing where the additional costs are being incurred

For example
   Survey Note: The loft space is an unusual shape so 2 additional rolls of insulation material have been quoted for in order to complete the job properly
Survey Note: Due to the location of the boiler, wifi signal strength is too low for normal installation of main heating control unit next to it. Customer has requested it is placed in under-stair cupboard instead. An additional 20m of cabling is therefore required and included in the price quoted.

Enabling work should be clearly set out in the quotation already as its own line item, but we suggest adding a note for it

For example
   Survey Note: Restricted access to part of the loft will mean an additional temporary loft hatch will also have to be created,
    Enabling Work:  Creation and Restoration of temporary loft hatch consisting of
             Artex asbestos check
             Cutting of 530 x 700mm loft hatch
             Re-install of generic roofing plasterboard
             Re-texturing of work area
                                                                            = £xxx

As it is clear that there are issues with the guidelines, the EEA is going to try and work with Trustmark and BEIS to give installers a definitive guide with more clarity on how quotes should be structured for each measure to avoid delays when homeowners are applying for vouchers.

We hope this helps provide some insight, so if your customer receives one of these emails from the Scheme you at least know what is going on.