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Home Information Packs

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Government’s estimated gross VAT revenue from home information packs is for the first full year of operation. (85654)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultancy work (a) PA Consulting Group and (b) Xansa UK Ltd. carried out for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in relation to home information packs; and if she will place in the Library copies of the reports they produced. (88397)

PA Consulting Group and Xansa UK Ltd. have been used across a wide range of activities associated with the delivery of home information packs, primarily on the design of the home condition report, and the procurement of the certification scheme and the dry run. Their input has not taken the form of reports.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of people who embarked on Home Improvement Pack inspector training courses; and at what total cost (a) to the public purse and (b) to the trainees. (90250)

The most recent reasonably complete figures are for the end of July when it was estimated that there were 4,637 Home Inspectors in training and 328 who had completed their training. Since then at least a further 142 have completed training.

The amount of training required, and therefore the cost, depends on previous experience. For an experienced surveyor with relevant experience, the cost is estimated to be around £2,300 to £2,600. For a candidate with no relevant experience, training would take longer and is estimated to cost around £8,300 to £10,000.

No public funding has been provided. Trainees are responsible for their own fees.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of how long an inspection for an energy performance certificate will take for an average house. (90311)

Trials are planned to take place during November 2006 to assess the indicative time and costs of producing energy performance certificates. However preliminary estimates suggest that these might take up to an hour on site for an average house.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the maximum expected period of validity is for an energy performance certificate. (90339)

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive stipulates that the validity of the certificate shall not exceed 10 years. To ensure that homebuyers have up to date information, the Home Information Pack Regulations require that an energy performance certificate included in a Home Information Pack is no older than three months when the property is marketed for sale. This issue will be looked at further in the dry run.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of an energy performance certificate is expected to be including VAT; and whether the cost is expected to vary according to the size of the property. (90357)

The price of an energy performance certificate will be set by the market and not by Government. We expect these costs to vary according to the size, type and location of the property. Trials are planned to take place during November 2006 to assess the indicative time and costs of producing energy performance certificates.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to introduce secondary legislation to amend the Home Information Pack Regulations 2006; and whether she plans to consult on that legislation beforehand. (91322)

The amended home information pack regulations will be made in early 2007. These will reflect the decision to make the home condition report an authorised component of the home information pack and the findings of the dry run. There will be consultations with key stakeholders throughout the period of the dry run.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Government intend to compensate those people who incurred costs training as home inspectors. (92156)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration has been given to providing compensation to individuals who have trained to become home inspectors in relation to the delivery of home information packs. (92478)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to compensate those who trained to become home inspectors; and if she will make a statement. (92746)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people studying for the home inspector qualification will receive compensation as a consequence of recently announced changes to the scope of the Home Sellers Pack. (92747)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to introduce compensation for those people who have incurred costs on training as home inspectors. (94291)

The Government’s policy is that mandatory home condition reports (HCRs) remain on the table if the industry fails to make a success of the roll-out of HCRs. We will promote the voluntary take-up of HCRs, and have allocated £4 million to support their take-up and testing of home information packs. Therefore home inspectors will still be needed and job opportunities for home inspectors remain for those who have undertaken training. Moreover, the introduction of energy performance certificates for the private rented properties will further enhance these opportunities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of home inspectors that will be required in the next 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (92250)

We estimate that from 1 June next year between 2,500 and 4,500 properly trained inspectors will be needed to produce Energy Performance Certificates required for packs and voluntary Home Condition Reports.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people have trained to become home inspectors in the last 12 months in (a) England and (b) Beverley and Holderness; and if she will make a statement. (92251)

The number of candidates who have completed training, as provided at 25 August by six of the 11 assessment centres, is 470. Information on the number of Home Inspectors broken down by constituency is not collected. However, the number of candidates who have completed training in Yorkshire and Humber is 36 as at 25 August.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what basis the decision was made that Huddersfield should trial home information packs; what sanctions will be taken against those who fail to use or provide either a home information pack or a home condition report there; and if she will make a statement. (92930)

The towns and cities chosen for the area trials were selected on the basis that they were considered to be discrete areas with a strong housing market, contain a representative mix of housing types, and that they have a strong local media and forward thinking local business community. The area trials will be entirely voluntary and there will be no sanctions for those who do not wish to participate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will provide an opportunity for hon. Members to assess the effectiveness of the home information pack trial in Huddersfield before home information packs become compulsory in England and Wales; what opportunities will be provided for representations to be made between the conclusion of the trial period and the commencement of the packs becoming mandatory; and if she will make a statement. (93775)

The results of the trials will be made public and interested parties given an opportunity to comment before the packs become mandatory on 1 June 2007. The trialling of Home Condition Reports will need to go on beyond 1 June 2007 in order to fully assess their impact which is one of the reasons for the change in approach announced in July.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate she has made of the number of qualified RdSAP energy inspectors; (90508)

(2) what estimate she has made of the number of qualified RdSAP energy inspectors required to ensure the implementation of EU Directive 2002/91/EC.

The Department has estimated that between 2,500 and 4,500 trained inspectors will be needed to produce Energy Performance Certificates for the marketed sales of residential properties when Home Information Packs become mandatory in June 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to change the trigger for the requirement of an energy performance certificate to the point-of-sale rather than first point of marketing. (90514)

We believe it is important that prospective purchasers should have information about the energy performance of homes they are considering buying before they submit offers. In order to raise consumer awareness and choice and environmental standards the information needs to be available at the beginning of the process rather then once prospective buyers have already invested resources and made commitment to the sale.