My April 2015 article shared our views on our profession as we see them right now.

    I stated that only a small core group of highly skilled and proficient assessors currently provide their clients with services to the level set by regulation. To us a majority of assessors appear to be producing work that does not always meet these regulations.

    The client is often not getting what they are paying for – a reliable, accurate assessment and compliance rating.


    Maybe it is due to poor initial training undertaken many years ago. Maybe it is due to not being out of touch with the current methods of how the tools are used. Maybe it is due to not being accredited or licenced as the regulations do not demand it except in the ACT and NSW.

    We believe that all of these points are part of the answer.

    The problem arises from the fact that most assessors operate as sole traders, are increasingly not accredited and are not keeping up to date with the myriad of changes that occur in our industry on a regular basis.

    They are “flying blind”.

    We have candidates for the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment who are modelling projects with their chosen NatHERS software rating tool exactly how they were taught 6 – 7 years ago. We are finding that these candidates require retraining in the current version of their preferred NatHERS software tool and that they are surprised with the volume of changes they are required to learn.

    We have recently been involved in a case where an unaccredited assessor issued a certificate for a 7.5 star rating on a project using, we suspect, old and incorrect modelling techniques. The client learnt of this error, engaged 2 other accredited assessors independently to review this outcome and rerate the project. The results of the 2 rerated assessments were within 3.2 MJ/m2.annum and indicated that the correct rating is only 5.4 stars.

    This outcome is not a good one for our industry.

    The assessment of residential buildings is not highly valued by the wider building industry as revealed in the NEEBP report and we need to “raise the bar” and ensure that all assessments are completed to a high standard and can be relied upon by the client.

    The upgrade of the assessor qualification from a short course to a Certificate IV level qualification is achieving the aim of improving the standard of assessors and the work they produce. It will not prevent assessors taking shortcuts and manipulating the results generated by the software tools however.

    This can only be achieved when accreditation or licencing is mandatory across all jurisdictions.

    There are positive signs on this with States like Queensland considering recommendations from the Wallace Report for house energy assessors to be licenced in that State with the Certificate IV in NatHERS Assessment as the minimum qualification required to obtain a licence.

    Other States and Territories need to seriously consider adopting similar regulations if our industry is to improve.

    Michael Plunkett

    CEO - SmartRate

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