As many of you are aware that the team at SmartRate delivers the new Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment qualification for assessors in partnership with Education in Building (RTO 32418).

    Whilst we and other RTO’s have a small number of new entrants to our industry completing the qualification via classroom based training courses, the largest number of participants are existing assessors who seek to obtain the qualification by RPL Assessment and avoid having to undertake this option.

    Having a large number of participants completing the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment by this method gives us a unique opportunity to get a snapshot of the current skill levels that exist in our industry.

    Candidates for RPL Assessment often have significant skills and experience but lack formal qualifications that can be recognised against the performance criteria of the qualification.  A good example of this is the assessor/designer who has run a business for 20 to 30 years. Lots of experience but no formal qualifications that can be recognised. The RPL Assessment pathway requires them to complete a series of tasks or provide evidence that meet the performance criteria of the qualification that fill in the gaps of their formal qualifications.

    Participants who undertake the RPL Assessment pathway to obtain the qualification should possess the required skills and experience and should be able to provide the required evidence or answer the set tasks that are part of the RPL Assessment pathway without resorting to Google or other resources. It is mandatory that all participants demonstrate competence in their chosen NatHERS software tool as well.

    What have we found so far?

    Many assessors need more than one attempt to provide the required evidence or complete the required tasks, particularly demonstrating competence in their chosen NatHERS software tool. Only a small number of candidate’s submissions are assessed as being satisfactory without additional work being required which has surprised us.

    We are required to assess skills and experience in units of competency in Business Management and Home Sustainability that seem to be a challenge to many assessors. Another surprise given that many assessors run their own businesses. Whilst the requirement to demonstrate the ability to undertake the assessment of an existing house is contentious to some, it is a compulsory unit and needs to be completed by all.

    It is often better to admit you do not have experience in these areas and learn the required skills in the classroom.

    Of concern is the work submitted demonstrating competence in a NatHERS software tool.

    We assess the projects submitted against the requirements of the NatHERS Technical Notes and applicable State and Territory regulations. We approach the assessment of this work in a similar manner to that used by AAO’s when an audit is carried out.

    We have had work submitted using old out of date versions of the software e.g. AccuRate and BERS V4.1.

    We have had projects submitted without eaves, with glazing modelled incorrectly, with incorrect zoning, zones not conditioned correctly and adjacent buildings not modelled correctly or not at all.

    This outcome is disappointing.

    Participants completing the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment by RPL Assessment need approach each task seriously and complete it to the best of their ability. It is possible that your work will be found not competent and that you will not pass.

    To conclude I wish to share our views on our industry.

    Over the coming months the number of assessors in our industry will continue to shrink as many existing assessors leave the industry as they decide to not complete the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment. This will provide opportunities for other assessors to grow their businesses.

    We also hold the view that right now there is only a small group of assessors (possibly less than 100) who have the necessary skills and experience and operate as professionals who deliver consistent quality assessments to their clients. This situation must improve.

    The introduction of the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment as the minimum assessor qualification is positive in our view. From what we have seen to date, a group of assessors exists who do not meet the required standards of the qualification, who may struggle to complete it and need to consider undertaking further training to update and improve their skills.

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