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New requirements for microgeneration installers proposed

Firms that install microgeneration systems could be suspended from an accreditation scheme if they fail to notify it of a change in the person responsible for ensuring their company meets its requirements, a consultation has proposed.

The consultation on the competence requirements of companies certified through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) said every firm must have a nominated staff member responsible for ensuring the company adheres to the scheme’s requirements.

The consultation said companies must notify the MCS within 45 days if this nominated person changes.

The scheme covers firms installing small-scale energy generation equipment such as solar photovoltaic panels and micro-combined heat and power plants.

The paper also proposed that accredited firms have a nominated person responsible for technical issues, someone to ensure the firm’s quality management system works, and people responsible for health and safety and consumer protection. It also laid out the responsibilities of designers, surveyors, structural, civil and electrical engineers, plumbers, roofers, and heating, ventilating, and refrigeration specialists.

One person can take on all the roles if they are competent to do so.

Some of these roles can be subcontracted but there has to be an official agreement between the company and subcontractor.

Firms in the scheme can use suitable training courses in lieu of qualifications for some roles requiring technical competence. A webpage will be set up to help firms check whether courses attended by their staff are suitable substitutes for qualifications and what extra experience they need.

Companies working with innovative technology that they believe is beyond the scope of their skills can apply to be assessed by certification bodies, which are organisations permitted to assess products and installers against MCS standards.

The new system comes into effect from November for both new registrations and for companies already certified, which can have their compliance with the new scheme audited in surveillance visits.

The sector skills council for building services engineering, SummitSkills, wants to get industry views so it can compile a response on behalf of the electrotechnical, heating and ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration and plumbing industries.

Keith Marshall, chief executive of SummitSkills said: “The MCS needs to know what industry thinks so I can’t stress enough how important it is that businesses respond to this consultation before 9 July. We have been working for some time to ensure that competency is at the heart of the MCS and now is the time for the views of those working in the sector to be heard loud and clear.”

The consultation is at http://mcs.online-consultation.co.uk/ and closes on 9 July.

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