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Single competence scheme proposed by APHC

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors has announced its proposal to create a single industry scheme to allow more businesses to engage with the green agenda within the domestic sector.

The proposal is the result of the efforts of the APHC’s Sustainability Group, chaired by Lord O’Neill and comprised of key building services representatives.

The plan includes a four-stage process to move to a single industry-led voluntary scheme, the first stage of which would be to establish discussions with other building services organisations dealing with residential properties.

The APHC states that combining the many schemes under one coordinated, single, industry-led scheme would meet many highly desirable goals, including reducing industry fragmentation and cost of compliance, while simplifying bureaucracy and increasing participation in the sustainability sector in particular.

Standards of installations would be higher, due to higher potential participation levels, it says.

APHC says industry currently has to deal with a plethora of confusing, overlapping, onerous and expensive schemes, all of which are aiming for very similar outcomes, causing industry fragmentation and confusing customers.

“There is a real appetite for an industry-led voluntary scheme aimed at the residential sector,” says Lord O’Neill.

“Combining the plethora of schemes under one co-ordinated single industry approach would give businesses a much more cost-effective method of  participation in the various schemes.

“It would remove the confusion of scheme duplication and would give the industry a wider economical opportunity  for  business participation in the green agendas.

“The Sustainability Group has fully endorsed the single industry-led scheme and believes that the proposals put forward present real opportunities for improvement across the industries.”

Patrick Murray, APHC deputy chief executive officer, says: “We are under no illusions about the complexity of what we’re proposing, however, there is a real appetite for this change now, possibly because people are recognising that when it comes to industry fragmentation and its consequences, things are only going to get worse unless we do something about it.”

A selection of current schemes and government departments involved includes:

·        Water regulations approved contractor scheme - Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

·        Competent persons scheme - Communities & Local Government (CLG)

·        Trustmark - Department for Business Innovation & Skills

·        Microgeneration certification scheme - Department of Energy & Climate Change

·        Green deal installer scheme - Department of Energy & Climate Change