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Housing: Inspections

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) energy assessors and (b) home inspectors are qualified and available to produce energy performance certificates; and what estimate she has made of the number who will be qualified and available from 1 June 2007. (128603)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 22 May 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how long it takes to qualify as a (a) home inspector and (b) domestic energy assessor on a Government-approved scheme. (129068)

The time taken for an individual to qualify as a home inspector or domestic energy assessor would depend on their previous experience and the amount of training they require in order to meet the required standards.

Currently advertised training schemes for home inspectors can vary between three and 12 months, depending on the starting competency level of the candidate. Domestic energy assessor courses range between four and 12 weeks, with the duration dependant on the initial level of knowledge and competence of the candidate, although at least one other provider is offering an intensive course lasting one week.

To meet the needs of candidates who are already employed and cannot study full-time, most courses comprise several days of assessed workshops, together with distance learning carried out in the candidates own time. If a candidate wished to undertake their distance learning on a full-time basis, they could complete their course in a shorter period.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the website listing accredited home inspectors at www.hcrregister.com has cost (a) to establish and (b) to run; and what proportion of those costs has been met by her Department. (139043)

There is no cost to the Government on the operation of www.hcrregister.com. The contract to provide this service was let by a concession agreement entirely funded by the successful service provider.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of qualified home inspectors she expects the website www.hcrregister.com to list. (139044)

The register will hold names of all certified Home Inspectors from 1 August 2007. These data are provided by Home Inspector Certification schemes. Due to the Data Protection Act, full contact details of certified Home Inspectors are only available if the individual has consented for these details to be used in this register.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the website listing accredited home inspectors to go back online. (139045)

The Energy Performance Certificate and Home Condition Report Register (www.hcrregister.com) was down for maintenance for 10 minutes at 2.30 pm on Friday 18 May 2007 while the explanatory text for users was updated.

The purpose of this site is to allow users to retrieve existing Energy Performance Certificates and Home Condition Reports, or to verify assessors or inspectors to ensure they are accredited or certificated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether home inspectors registered at www.hcrregister.com will have to hold Criminal Records Bureau clearance. (139080)

All home inspectors must have a standard Criminal Record Bureau check before they are allowed to carry out their duties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to include an assessment of the individual performance of home inspectors on the www.hcrregister.com website. (139081)

There are no plans to include an assessment of each individual Home Inspector on any central database.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how frequently she expects home inspector details to be updated on the website www.hcrregister.com; and how quickly details will be updated once the status of an inspector listed changes. (139082)

From 1 August 2007, Home Inspector Certification Schemes are required to provide a daily update on the status of Home Inspectors, which is run by the Register Operator at the end of each day. The details on the website will reflect the status of Home Inspectors at the close of business the previous day.