Soft Skills

Report
Soft Skills
Stroma – Soft Skills
© Stroma Development Ltd 2013 | Version 1.1
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DEA Soft Skills
To effectively operate as an Energy Assessors you will have to
acquire and develop a variety of “Soft Skills” that comprise of;
• Communication – keep good written and verbal correspondence
between you and the client.
• Time management – make sure you leave enough time between
appointments for travel and assessing.
• Continuing professional development – complete the needed amount
of CPD to keep up to speed with the latest conventions and products.
• Professional image – try to keep a professional yet practical image.
Stroma – Soft Skills
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Communication
As a DEA you will work with a variety of people, due to this good
communication and correspondence
skills are needed in order to;
• To negotiate and accept an EPC instruction
• To confirm an appointment with the owner/occupier
• To obtain key information about a property to determine whether you are
able to carry out the energy assessment.
• To give your client completion confirmation along with the EPC
• To accurately respond to a client’s queries about any aspects of the EPC or
the assessment process.
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Time management
• As a DEA it is beneficial to accurately time manage your
appointments, ensuring you can make all the appointments
you book in.
• As you carry out more surveys and become more competent
you will have a better idea how long it takes to do an EPC on
different size properties
• Familiarise yourself with the area you cover and travelling
times, don’t forget to factor these into your diary.
• Don’t forget to also factor in rush hour traffic into your
journey times
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What is CPD?
CPD - Continued Professional Development refers to activities
undertaken by scheme members to maintain and build upon their skills
and knowledge within the energy assessing environment.
This enables you to keep well informed about the industry and to
continuously improve your techniques when carrying out assessments
and communicating with clients
Stroma is obligated by the Department for Communities and Local
Government (DCLG) to ensure that all members meet their annual CPD
requirements.
To aid assessors with this we have a CPD Channel, which has videos to
watch and learn from.
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How much CPD is required?
As a DEA, you are required to complete 10 hours of CPD a year.
If you hold more than one qualification, such as OCDEA you will be
required to complete the required ten hours for DEA and a further 5
hours for any additional qualification held. In this case, fifteen hours of
CPD would need to be fulfilled.
To aid assessors with obtaining the required amount of CPD Stroma
have a CPD Channel, the CPD channel is comprised videos on various
different aspects of energy assessing .
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What is Acceptable?
The following are all considered acceptable forms of CPD:
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New product ranges
Particular property types in an individual’s area of work (e.g. system build,
thatch)
Any certificated lecture/ presentation on products and services
New innovations that are not fundamental to the role they are undertaking
Renewable Technologies
Improvement in the use of IT skills and/ or written records
You will need to supply satisfactory evidence of your CPD such as a
certificate of CPD, attendance of events or email with dates etc.
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What isn’t Acceptable?
The following are not acceptable forms of CPD:
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Training courses (leading to certification)
Software changes
Changes in building regulations
Changes in DCLG guidance
These are all considered fundamental learning in order to practice as a DEA,
and therefore do not count as further development
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Professionalism
Part of your “Soft Skills” require you to work in a professional and
ethical manner.
As a DEA and a lone worker you can easily be put in compromising
positions and it is important you deal with these appropriately.
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Professionalism
Study the details in the following scenarios and as a group outline how
you think an Energy Assessor should deal with the situation.
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Scenario One
1. You have been asked to produce an EPC on a recently refurbished
Property. The owner (a property developer) is on site during your
inspection.
He mentions that he needs a high energy rating to help the house sell
quickly.
As you are completing the data form, he offers you a cash ‘bonus’ if
you enter a more efficient heating system than the one that is installed.
Stroma – Soft Skills
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Scenario One Answer
What would you do?
— Reject his offer in clear terms and explain your duties and responsibilities
as an accredited Energy Assessor
“If the discussion ends, consider completing the survey”
— If he persists, politely withdraw from the situation
— Make a clear notes in your site notes and/or property file
— Contact your accreditation scheme and report the matter
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Scenario Two
You have been asked to carry out an EPC on a property that has a
heating system of a type you have not come across before
(see next slide)
How would you tackle this situation?
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Scenario Two
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Scenario Two Answer
How would you proceed?
The heating system is a gas central heating system with a pressurised
hot water tank
Take as much information as possible on site (including photos &
manufacturers details) and use this information to try and identify the system
Back in the Office.
If you are totally unfamiliar with the system
• Research on the internet
• Seek advice from your colleagues or Accreditation Scheme
• Consider undertaking additional training to fill any gaps in your
knowledge (CPD)
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Scenario Three
An Estate Agent has asked you to carry out Energy Assessments at
Four properties. He has arranged appointments for 10.30,
11.30, 12.30 and 2pm.
You have been given their addresses and told they are straight forward
to do.
The first house you arrive at is a 10 bedroom Mansion house
The second is 15 miles away
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Scenario Three Answers
The Mansion house will take longer than an hour to assess.
You will need to ring ahead and re arrange times for the survey and
confirm that the other houses are of size suitable to be surveyed in
such a short length of time.
The property owners/agents will need contacting as soon as possible
to rearrange inspection times and dates.
You should also point out to the estate agent the appropriate time scales
involved.
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Scenario Three Answers
You should ensure that before accepting an EPC assessment that you have
as much information about the property as possible, this can include;
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Location
Size
Occupancy
Location of keys etc.
Manage your diary appointments
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Scenario Four
A householder has ordered an EPC on his property.
The morning the inspection is due to take place, the owner rings
to say he will have to go out but he will leave his 14 year old
daughter in charge to let you in so you can do the survey.
What would your response be to you client?
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Scenario Four Answer
Under no circumstances should you enter a property where an
unaccompanied minor is left in charge.
You would have to rearrange the survey, ensuring an appropriate
adult will be present and point out there may be a charge for a
cancelled appointment.
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Occupied properties
What would you do in the following situation?
• You discover a scantily clad lady in one of the bedrooms
apologise for the disturbance, then explain who you are and why you are
there, you should then leave and inform your client immediately.
• A group of people in the sitting room with a number of syringes
and substances in front of them.
Abandon the survey and inform your client, also if they are not authorised to
be there inform the police.
• A pile of twenty pound notes on a table in the bedroom and the
owner is downstairs
Take a photo of the money in situ then ask the owner to remove it, this
should also be photographed. For added safety you could ask the
owner to write and sign to say it has been moved by them.
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Documentation
The Domestic Energy Assessor qualification is designed to give
individuals a platform to develop an energy assessment
business.
Therefore you are required to produce a range of documents
and correspondence for before, during and after the survey.
What correspondence and records do you think will be
required?
Stroma – Soft Skills
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Documentation
• Before the survey
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Diary
Contract, including Ts & Cs, and costs
Seller questionnaire
Acceptance form
Complaints procedure
• During the survey
– Site notes
– EPC info sheet for client
• After the survey
– EPC
– Completion letter
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Quality Assurance
All energy assessors are subject to quality assurance checks.
These QA checks or audits are carried out by accredited DEA’s within the
accreditation schemes.
These are minimum checks for all DEA’s of 1% of EPC’s in a quarter or a
minimum of 1 audit per quarter, assuming you lodge in that quarter, plus,
the schemes must audit 2% of all surveys lodged, on the scheme
These audit requirements are imposed by the DCLG and all schemes
must adhere to them.
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Quality Assurance
Energy assessors are required to submit all their
• site notes
• floor plans
• photos and any supporting evidence
when an audit is requested. There is a deadline of 15 working days to submit
documents from the day the request is made.
• There are 3 possible out comes to an audit; Pass, Fail and Re-lodge.
Most audits pass the assessment, but if the audit fails the scheme
will carry out 2 additional audits.
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Quality Assurance
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Insurance
Insurance
Schemes shall ensure DEAs have a minimum professional
indemnity insurance cover
• £50,000 public indemnity for each claim in relation to any
particular EPC,
• £1,000,000 public liability insurance per claim.
Supporting documents can be found at
http://rdsap2009.stroma.com/Home.aspx
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Scheme operating Requirements
Overview of requirements
For Schemes to remain compliant with DCLG requirements, they shall be able to demonstrate that the following provisions are in
place, and are functioning correctly:
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1. Ensure that members of the Scheme are “fit and proper” persons to undertake energy assessments and that they operate
within a code of conduct as defined in Appendix 1.2 which is actively enforced by the Scheme.
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2. Ensure that members of the Scheme are qualified to undertake energy assessments.
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3. Ensure that members of the Scheme have in force suitable indemnity cover.
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4. Ensure that members of the Scheme use operational procedures that ensure consistency and accuracy of energy
assessments.
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5. Maintain active quality assurance procedures that are calculated to ensure so far as is reasonably practical that the other
provisions listed here are delivered.
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6. Facilitate the resolution of complaints against members of the Scheme.
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7. Implement disciplinary procedures in a proportionate and reasonable manner.
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8. Establish and maintain a register of members.
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9. Ensure financial probity, financial stability and operational resilience of the Scheme.
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10. Allow DCLG to monitor the Scheme periodically to ensure that it continues to comply with the terms of its approval and
delivers compliance with the legislation.
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11. Maintain suitable administrative and operational systems that are applied in a consistent, fair and open way that is
compliant with all relevant legislation.
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12. Meet other requirements that DCLG has specified from time to time, and in line with the “Approval Letter”.
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The Legal Context
CONTRACT
What are the seven elements of a simple Contract?
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Elements of a Contract
1.
Agreement
An Agreement is formed when one party accepts the offer of another
and involves a “meeting of the minds”
2.
Consideration
Both parties must have provided consideration, i.e, each side must
promise to give or do something for each other
3.
Intention
The parties must have intended their agreement to have legal
consequences. The law will not concern itself with purely domestic or
social agreements.
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Elements of a Contract
4.
Form
In some cases, certain formalities (that is, writing) must be observed
5.
Capacity
The parties must be legally capable of entering into a contract
6.
Consent
The agreement must have been entered into freely. Consent may be
vitiated by duress or undue influence
7.
Legality
The purpose of the agreement must not be illegal or contrary to public
policy
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EPC Contract
In a standard contract for an EPC, what is likely to be included in
the Conditions (or Terms) of engagement?
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Conditions of Engagement
These will vary depending on the nature of the organization or
individual but will usually include:
― The description of the EPC service
― The level of inspection
― What will happen if the EA is unable to complete the service (i.e. no
access to premises)
― What the EA will charge for the service
― What charges will be made where the EPC cannot be completed
― Customer services issues (e.g. response times, delivery of the EPC,
complaints scheme, etc.)
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Vicarious responsibility
Vicarious liability: is the principle by which one person can be held liable
for the actions of another. The person held vicariously liable need not
necessarily be a person who carried out the act – she/he may in some
circumstances be completely blameless.
A Typical example would be the employee who carries out a negligent act and
the employer is held responsible.
• There must usually be some sense in which the employer has authorized
the acts of the party who is at fault.
• Who would be at fault if you’re a practicing DEA?
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Conflicts of Interest
Any circumstance that might lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest
must be explored by the EA with the seller and/or the person from whom
instructions are received
― EA’s must identify and disclose any financial relationships with others
involved in the transaction
― This is particularly important for organizations like estate agents who must
understand the objective role of the EA
― A statement about relationships should be made in site notes.
― A Related Party Disclosure appears on the printed EPC.
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Security of Information
Energy Assessors may come across personal or business information about
the various parties, in particular the owner, occupier/s or sellers of the
property, which has no relevance to the EPC
― Such information must not be recorded in the site notes or divulged to
third parties save that the EA must not treat this provision as a reason to
ignore their common law duties and responsibilities
― Energy Assessors must not use any information about the property in any
other context without first obtaining the owner and/or seller’s written
permission
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Security of Information
Energy Assessors must keep all information & records safe and secure
You must keep all your information relating to a survey for 15 years, it is
therefore important that you:
― Protect your premises/offices with alarm systems and don’t keep computers
in public view
― Restrict computer access to those needing it for business purposes
― Ensure you have up-to-date antivirus software
― Protect your network from hackers with a firewall
― Backup information regularly
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Data Protection Act
The Data Protection Act requires all organizations which handle personal
information to comply with a number of important principles regarding
privacy and disclosure
― The Act states that anyone who processes personal information must
comply with eight principles.
― These state that information must be:-
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Data Protection Act
1.
Fairly and lawfully processed
2.
Processed for limited purpose
3.
Adequate, relevant and not excessive
4.
Accurate and up to date
5.
Not kept for longer than necessary
6.
Processed in line with individuals’ rights
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Secure
8.
Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
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Fit & Proper
Stroma will ensure that a person is ‘fit and proper’ for membership with the
scheme by checking a person’s basic criminal disclosure
— This is required by all new members and has to be dated within 1 years
— Stroma will notify member’s one month prior to their certificate expiring
— On going a new disclosure will be required every 3 Years
Further information can be found at;
http://disclosurescotland.co.uk/what-is-disclosure/
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Fit & Proper
An application for Certification will not be successful if a
person has been convicted or cautioned for a serious offence
including (but not necessarily restricted to):
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Murder
Manslaughter
Death by reckless driving
Rape
Kidnapping
Firearms offences
Hostage taking
Hijacking or torture
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Fit & Proper
An application for Certification will be rejected or membership
revoked if a person has committed an offence as listed below
(which resulted in a prison sentence within the last 5 years)
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Offences against a person
Offences against a property
Acts of dishonesty
Acts of corruption
Substantial Financial Gain
Serious Loss to Anyone (including theft, fraud and deception)
All other cases will be assessed on an individual basis
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Data Gathering
A ‘Data Gatherer’ is somebody who collects the property data on
behalf of a qualified DEA who then lodges the report
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A domestic EPC can only be produced by a qualified DEA,
therefore the use of data gatherers is strictly prohibited
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Before lodging the final report, you are required to confirm
“I have been to site to gather data for this EPC”
(Data Gatherer’s Declaration)
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This policy is in place to ensure that the DEA who visits the
property is the person who lodges the final report.
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Any Questions?
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