1. What is a Competent Persons Scheme (CPS)?
The Department for Communities and Local Government licenses all Competent Persons Schemes. Membership of a CPS enables installers to self-certify that installations comply with Building Regulations.
Installers who are not a member of a CPS can still comply with Building Regulations by applying to the Local Authority Building Control department who will then carry out an inspection of the installation.
2. What is changing?
From 6 June 2014 the changes in legislation means that to be a member of a CPS – installation companies must comply with new rules:
a. Installers and surveyors must demonstrate Minimum Technical Competence (MTC) standards for our industry to remain a member of a Competent Persons Scheme (i.e. FENSA or CERTASS).
b. Companies or installers must provide an Insurance Backed Guarantee to domestic customers and include this at no extra cost.
The legislation actually came into effect in June 2012, but there is a 2 year grace period so installers have to comply by June this year.
3. What is a Minimum Technical Competence (MTC)?
Minimum Technical Competencies have been introduced by DCLG. They are a set of criteria that installers and surveyors are required to meet when replacing windows and doors in domestic properties. MTCs have been around for a while in other building skills, for example electricians, gas engineers and plumbers. Once qualified, installers will also be able to install relevant products for the Green Deal.
4. What do I have to do for MTC?
In most cases installation companies must demonstrate that at least one installer in every team and at least one surveyor per company is qualified to do the job under the new CPS regulation.
There are 3 routes to demonstrate qualification under the Competent Persons Scheme:
a. Industry Experience/Minimum Technical Competency (MTC) assessment and testing.
b. Qualification Route (Undertake NVQs).
c. Existing Qualifications /Units completed – for example installer schemes such as BM TRADA Q Mark.
5. What if I already have an NVQ?
Any installer or surveyor who has achieved a relevant, verified NVQ within the last 5 years will be able to apply for an MTC card. An NVQ qualified person will probably take this option in order to demonstrate compliance with the MTCs as it is likely to be the quickest and cheapest route.
6. What’s required to go the MTC test route?
Installers or Surveyors can apply for the MTC route if they can declare a minimum of 2 years’ experience installing windows and doors (some refer to this as Grand Father rights). They will still have to undertake some written knowledge and onsite tests – these will be carried out by the CPS organisation. It will take a minimum of three months to become fully MTC compliant but is likely to take much longer.
7. What are FENSA and Certass doing?
FENSA and Certass have changed their CPS to meet the change in legislation. They are both doing things slightly differently but in practice neither will be able to check all installers in their schemes before June.
FENSA state they are allowing installers and surveyors with a minimum 2 years’ experience to obtain a provisional MTC card until they have been assessed. Once qualified, the FENSA MTC card will have to be renewed every 5 years.
Certass says it will test every scheme member within their current membership year, enabling installation companies to continue to self-certify installations for Building Regulation compliance until their installers and surveyors have been approved.
The Certass MTC Card has the operative photo ID connected to an online register via a QR code printed on the card. The MTC card will have to be renewed periodically.
Both companies offer a joint surveyor and installer minimum technical competencies test for small or one man businesses.
Both companies allow you to apply for your MTC assessment before June.
Network VEKA also has an assessment process in place for its scheme members.
8. Some useful links: