Trade experts have called on the government to make the Green Homes Grant scheme more accessible to merchants.
Rated People, a website that helps clients find qualified merchants, said the current registration process is alienating some smaller businesses due to the lengthy filing process and associated costs.
To complete jobs under the Green Home Grant, a professional must register as a certified installer with TrustMark and then register as an installer under the scheme once they sign up.
To join TrustMark, merchants will need a scheme company to support their application, say FENSA for a window installer, and they will have to pay for membership – an additional cost for small businesses.
Merchants must pay for TrustMark membership before they can participate in the program
In addition, traders must be certified by a body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.
In addition, to install low-carbon heat measures, such as heat pumps, a professional must be certified with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
They must also be certified to one of the three Publicly Available Specification (PAS) standards.
There are many professionals who are certified according to the PAS standards, but also certified with the MCS, and therefore are competent and able to do jobs.
But they must register with the government-approved scheme and then re-register as a Green Homes Installer before they can help homeowners with their work, which in some cases can be too expensive.
Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, said, “It is critical that merchants are qualified to take on employment covered by the Green Homes Grant.
But even for those with the appropriate certifications, the additional hoops they need to access this work are a real challenge for small businesses and are likely to affect their ability or willingness to participate in the program to take.
This could also affect homeowners as there may be fewer merchants available to complete renovations when they want, unless it is made easier for more skilled merchants to get involved and do work.
“That is why we are urging the government to look at how the scheme can be made more accessible to professionals without compromising the quality or safety of the green home renovations covered by the Green Homes Grant.”
There are also warnings for homeowners to beware of rogue traders looking to make a quick buck.
Households have been advised to stay informed if someone comes to their property claiming to be a legitimate merchant looking for business.
Checkatrade previously told This is Money that households should be wary of booking work, and that all property owners should make sure to carefully check that they are paying a reputable craftsman.
The vouchers are worth up to £ 5,000 towards a variety of energy efficiency and heating measures
Under the Green Homes Grant, the government has provided vouchers for energy efficiency improvements in homes and has set aside a budget of £ 2 billion for households to apply for.
The vouchers are worth up to £ 5,000 for a variety of energy efficiency and heating measures, such as insulation and double glazing, going up to £ 10,000 for fuel-poor homes.
For those who wish to sign up for the scheme, vouchers are valid for three months from the date they were issued or until March 31, 2022.
Homeowners can request a voucher extension at any time before their voucher expires, unless the scheme is closed.
How can I apply?
Click here to find out if you are eligible for funding under the Green Home Grants and how to apply.
The available measures are divided into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ measures. The voucher must be used for at least one primary measure in order for the home owner to receive a secondary measure renovation.
The subsidy for a secondary measure is capped at the value of the subsidy for the primary measure.
For example, if you receive a £ 500 coupon for a primary measure such as insulation, you will receive up to £ 500 for a secondary measure such as an energy efficient replacement door.
The scheme was extended to March 2022 last month after the original March 31, 2021 deadline was criticized, initially giving homeowners only six months to sign up and complete all work.
It is proving to be popular with Rated People as the demand for wall and attic insulation is up 59 percent year over year.
Projects covered by the scheme as ‘secondary measures’ are also proving popular: replacing windows and doors by 12 percent and installing secondary glazing by 4 percent.
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