Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Green Homes Grant and “Buy to Let” Landlords

buy to let

With the announcement of the impending Green Homes Grant in September, many homeowners and installers are gearing up ready for installations. However, it’s not only homeowners that should be assessing the energy efficiency of their properties but Buy to Let landlords are included and should be planning now to see if their properties need to be improved too.

With only just over one month until the application process opens for the Green Homes Grant scheme, Buy to Let landlords need to be assessing their properties now, or in the very near future, as the application process is expected to receive high volumes.

Landlords are urged to focus on the works that can be done with the grant funding.

Online applications made by landlords can only be passed to accredited suppliers or “registered local tradesmen” to carry out the works under the scheme.

The grant scheme will fund at least two-thirds of the cost for energy efficient measures up to a maximum of £5,000 for landlords who need to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. Currently, landlords cannot let their properties out if they have an energy performance rating of F or G (unless they qualify for an exemption).

The Chancellor stated that he hopes 600,000 homes will be improved with the grant. The full details of the grants have not yet been published however the information provided so far suggests that the grants will only last for one year so landlords are urged to review their properties as soon as possible to take advantage of the scheme.

The government also hopes that this will create a further 100,000 jobs in the “Green Sector” – one of the important reasons behind the grant, to boost a ‘green recovery’ as we come out of lockdown.

Image by falco from Pixabay

Positive signs for the home improvement sector as HICS installations soar by over 3000%

home installations

HICS, the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Scheme has seen a huge increase in home improvement installations, up by over 3000% in July as compared to the end of April.

HICS is a leading consumer protection organisation that gives consumers confidence when choosing accredited installers for their home improvement project. The 3000% increase represents over £3m worth of home improvements protected by the scheme.

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director of QASSS, who manages the scheme commented:

“These are really positive signs for companies in the sector as lockdown has eased across the UK. Reputable HICS members demonstrate high standards of COVID-19 safety measures, which helps instil confidence in consumers to allow safe tradespeople in their homes to carry out glazing installations and other home improvements.”

The increase witnessed by HICS is also supported by other research in the home improvement sector, including recent research from Insight DIY which showed 55%% of Brits prioritising plans to update their home as the Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased.

If you’re planning for a new home improvement project, make sure you instruct skilled tradesmen. Ensure they are a member of a consumer protection scheme demonstrating adherence to quality standards and service. Unfortunately, rogue companies are still operating, and scams have been on the increase recently in light of the Government’s Green Homes Grants scheme.

HICS offers real consumer protection, unmatched in the industry, and all of our members have been thoroughly vetted to guarantee exceptional service. Using a HICS member means you receive full protection, including free deposit and stage payment protection, free insurance backed guarantees, free mediation services and free access to an Ombudsman, in the unlikely event we are unable to help resolve a dispute.

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

Over 50% Of Homeowners Want to Apply for the Green Homes Grant

green home grants

Latest research suggests that more than half of homeowners in the UK are planning to apply for the Green Homes Grant, the government’s latest scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the grant in July’s budget as a part of the government’s plans to get the economy moving again. The grant will allow homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion scheme to make their homes more energy-efficient and create local jobs.

MoneySuperMarket surveyed 2,000 people about the Green Homes Grant which revealed that;

  • 51% of homeowners are planning to apply for the scheme and,
  • 26% of homeowners are seriously considering applying for the scheme

The grant will cover at least two-thirds of the cost for energy efficient measures such as insulation and glazing up to £5k. For low income households, the vouchers will cover the full cost up to £10k.

The scheme opens in September and we are awaiting further clarity from the government on what type of energy efficient measures are covered under the scheme and also their definition of ‘accredited suppliers’ to ensure consumers are protected.

The Green Homes Grant scheme is just one part of a wider “green” recovery plan proposed by the Government including £1bn towards making public buildings more energy efficient.

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director of QASSS, who manages the schemes, comments:

“It’s great to see the government putting a focus on energy efficient homes and putting money into the industry to help homeowners and installers at this difficult time. However, more detail on the scheme is urgently needed.”

House photo created by creativeart – www.freepik.com

Brand Ambassador George Clarke joins us in saying a fond farewell to Nick Ross

Brand Ambassador George Clarke

Alongside HICS Brand Ambassador George Clarke, after 12 years representing HICS and the DGCOS and HIES schemes, Nick Ross has decided to retire this July and I’m sure you’ll join us in wishing him a fond farewell and best wishes for the future.

Our founder, Tony Pickup, first approached Nick back in 2008 because he was a leading consumer advocate and supporter of consumer protection. Nick joined the schemes because he believed that our complete protection was not only necessary for consumers, members and the wider industry but also a reflection of what he himself has always championed.

“Nick Ross, back in 2008 put his name and reputation on the line to support DGCOS and subsequently HIES and HICS. He didn’t do this lightly and without significant due diligence. He always wants to be sure we are doing the right things to advance consumer protection in the home improvement sector and actually look after people that need help. Since then our group has protected over 900,000 consumer contracts and Nick’s unwavering support will never be forgotten. Thank you so much Nick.”

Tony Pickup, Founder

Nick wanted to update members personally and also share a message of support.

“In my opinion DGCOS, HIES & HICS are the gold standard in consumer protection for home improvements. I’m proud that in the 12 years I’ve worked with them they have protected hundreds of thousands of customers. In all that time I’ve had fewer than two dozen complaints, and all but one of those was happily resolved.

Any industry would be proud of such a record. I’m leaving on the best of terms and only do so because my link with consumer journalism is now too far in the past to have real relevance. I wish you, the members, and the schemes, well for the future.”

Nick Ross

Brand Ambassador George Clarke – A Passionate Advocate Of HICS

George Clarke, architect, TV presenter and home improvement champion, continues to be a passionate consumer advocate and Brand Ambassador of HICS.

Widely known for his recent work on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year and Old House New Home, George joined the schemes in 2019 as an ardent supporter of consumer protection and high standards in the home improvement industry, including promoting the use of accredited installers and tradespeople.

George has made a huge impact appearing at shows and events (pre-COVID) with the team to meet members and installers, including, among others, the FIT show in 2019.

“It has been a pleasure working alongside Nick and I wish him well in his retirement. As the Brand Ambassador for HICS, I truly believe it offers the ‘real deal’ in providing robust consumer protection but, even better, they provide the same level of protection and support for the installer.

I know that HICS is serious about raising standards and ensuring that everybody is treated fairly. HICS offers free protection to consumers meaning they can confidently choose a reputable installer knowing they have the right protection in place.

This is also a major asset in the installer’s tool kit. By offering this complete protection, the schemes have seen installers’ cancellation rates fall meaning it’s a win-win for everyone.”

George Clarke, Brand Ambassador

Up to £5,000 available in the new Green Homes Grants Scheme

green homes grants

What is the Green Homes Grants Scheme?

As part of investment in a ‘green recovery’, homeowners and landlords in England will be able to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme to make their homes more energy-efficient and create local jobs.

Installing energy saving measures will help homeowners with lower energy bills whilst also helping the environment.

How much can I get?

  • The grant will cover up to two-thirds of the cost for energy efficient measures up to £5k.
  • For low income households, the vouchers will cover the full cost up to £10k.

For example, a homeowner of a semi-detached or end-of-terrace house could install cavity wall and floor insulation for about £4,000 – the homeowner would pay £1,320 while the government would contribute £2,680.

How will it work?

The scheme will launch in September, with online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures, along with details of accredited local suppliers.

Once one of these suppliers has provided a quote and the work is approved, the voucher is issued.

When will the Green Homes Grants Scheme start?

The government has confirmed that the scheme will open in September 2020 for online applications.

What will the grant cover?

Full details have not yet been released but the grants are for improvements to make homes more energy efficient, so, for example, they should cover home improvements such as boilers, insulation and double glazing.

We are expecting the Government to provide a complete list of which energy saving measures are included, and to clarify whether the grant can cover upgrades to existing energy saving measures.

 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

HICS welcomes Chancellor’s announcement supporting the Construction Talent Retention Scheme

Construction Talent Retention

HICS welcomes today’s announcement from the Chancellor confirming support for the Construction Talent Retention Scheme. 

Formally launching later this month, the Construction Talent Retention Scheme is a partnership between industry and Government to secure essential talent in the UK’s construction sector. 

Announced by the Chancellor in today’s statement, the scheme is run by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) which is made up of trade and business associations from across the supply chain.

The online portal supports redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy from across the sector, while also enabling temporary employee loans between businesses. It also gives displaced workers from other sectors a route to find new employment in construction, while offering businesses a platform to find the skills they need.  

The not-for-profit programme has funding secured until the end of April 2021, providing a free online platform for any business or organisation looking to hire, while ensuring that candidates’ skills and experience are given a prominent platform within the wider industry. 

The CTR Scheme:

  • Retains talent
  • Retains skills
  • Supports families
  • Supports businesses

Businesses and employers interested in finding out more are encouraged to register their interest at:  www.trs-system.co.uk/construction