New qualification-based route to MCS certification

In response to growing demand for the installation of domestic renewable energy technologies and as part of a strategy to improve the scheme’s accessibility, MCS is announcing plans to introduce a new streamlined route to installer certification.

MCS recognises that those that have been through formal training and assessment have already been assessed on key technical aspects of their chosen technology and that this should be taken into account when it comes to being able to be certified under the scheme.

This is part of a fundamental change to MCS requirements, in that all MCS certified companies in the future, will need to evidence the qualifications of their Nominated Technical Person (NTP) and ensure that these are maintained and renewed every five years, or the company will risk the loss of its certification.

Questions & Answers

Is this a replacement to the existing certification process?

No. The existing process for achieving MCS certification will remain in place. From the Spring, this new route will also become available, based on the achievement of an MCS approved list of regulated qualifications.

How will this new route work?

Under these new arrangements, installation companies seeking certification, will need to have at least one Nominated Technical Person (NTP) that holds an MCS approved qualification for each technology that the company installs.

An individual installer will need to achieve a qualification in the installation of their chosen technology. Once qualified, an individual installer will have two choices, either to associate themselves with an existing MCS certified company as their NTP, or to proceed with a new application for MCS company certification, either for their own business or the business they work for.

What are the benefits to the installer?

This new route will remove one of the biggest barriers that new installer companies have previously faced, in that they have needed to secure and complete their first installation, before they can be recognised under MCS. It is this first installation that a Certification Body assesses as part of the process of awarding company certification.

In the future, a newly qualified installer, will be able to complete their first installation and it attract an MCS certificate. This installation will need to be independently assessed by a Certification Body to determine the installation’s compliance with MCS standards, before the installer is able to proceed with further installations under MCS.

How can an installer access this new route?

MCS will be making a further announcement in the coming weeks, providing details of an initial Heat Pump installation qualification that will be recognised under this new route to certification. MCS will also provide details of the Certification Bodies that are offering MCS certification via this new route.

A new bite size webinar on core scheme requirements and associated materials, will also be made available to support companies applying for certification.

Why is MCS introducing this new route now?

MCS expects this new route to certification will improve the scheme’s accessibility and therefore respond to growing consumer demand for technologies that can decarbonise a home’s energy, heating and hot water use. Demand for what MCS refers to as ‘home-grown energy’, has been stimulated in part by government policy, including most recently in England through the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.

The Prime Minister’s ‘10-point plan for a green industrial revolution’, incorporates the aim to install 600,000 Heat Pumps a year by 2028. MCS believes this is the clearest signal yet that future government policy will support consumer adoption of renewable energy technologies for homes, creating significant opportunity for the sector’s growth and individual installer companies.

How will MCS maintain quality standards under this new route?

This new route to certification will incorporate a limit on the number of installations that a new installer can perform and a time limit for the undertaking of their first installation, that will then attract an independent assessment via one of the scheme’s UKAS accredited Certification Bodies.

To ensure that this route is robust, MCS has worked with the two market leading Awarding Organisations, BPEC and LCL Awards, to ensure that their Heat Pump installation training materials and assessments are up to date. This work will soon extend to other technologies covered by MCS.

What will happen next?

Closer to launch, MCS will describe how it intends to capture and store individual installer qualifications, that can then be attributed to a certified installation company.