Recruitment: People Powered Retrofit Assessors

by Blog

We are recruiting a bank of consultant People Powered Retrofit Assessors to assist us in the delivery of the People Powered Retrofit programme. 

  • Deadline: rolling, first review date 5pm, Thursday 10th September 2020
  • Location: GreaterManchester, UK
  • Start date: ASAP
  • Status: Self-employed consultant contracted directly by URBED
  • How to apply: email info@carbon.coop with a CV and maximum two-page letter outlining how you meet the requirements set out below, including two professional references.
  • Fees: assessments are paid at £260-£450 (exc VAT) depending on the size and complexity of the home.

Introduction

Carbon Co-op (https://carbon.coop) is a fast growing not-for-profit, social enterprise based in Greater Manchester, UK. Carbon Co-op pilots innovative low carbon projects and provides support services to householder co-operative members and the wider community.

URBED (http://urbed.coop) is an award-winning research and design practice with a national reputation for high quality, deep retrofit design and specification. URBED has extensive experience of work with contractors in specification, site inspection and quality assurance of retrofit works.

People Powered Retrofit is an unincorporated partnership between URBED and Carbon Co-op, funded under the BEIS Retrofit Supply Chain pilot programme. It is a unique, community-focussed service to assist Greater Manchester domestic owner occupiers in retrofitting and refurbishing their homes to high environmental standards. The end-to-end service incorporates advice, assessment, design development, specialist investigation, retrofit co-ordination to assist with procurement and QA, and evaluation. The service does not currently aim to work with housing providers.

We are recruiting a bank of Retrofit Assessors for People Powered Retrofit to meet the needs of our existing householder clients. You will be contracted at a pre-agreed rate for a pre-agreed number of assessments.

My Home Energy Planner

Household energy assessors deliver Carbon Co-op and URBED’s Whole House Energy Assessments using the open source online platform: My Home Energy Planner. The assessment calculation is based on an augmented version of full SAP. 

Assessments are sold and administered by Carbon Co-op as part of the People Powered Retrofit service, with assessments carried out by staff and/or sub-contractors. 

This document outlines the skills and competencies that assessors require. We have identified a set of essential and preferable attributes with a balance between qualifications, job-related experiences and personal aptitudes as well as the requirement to possess values and motivations that match those of the commissioning organisation. 

Retrofit Assessor role

Assessors are the public face of People Powered Retrofit , they meet householders and spend a number of hours in their homes, asking them personal questions and investigating every room in their house. 

As well as collecting quantitative data on home energy and fabric, they also collect qualitative  data on householders’ energy related behaviours, preferences and future plans for their homes. They then use this hard and soft data to formulate a high quality report tailored to householders’ individual plans and preferences. Assessors need to be able to put householders at their ease and appropriately answer any questions posed. 

The role is analogous to the Retrofit Assessor role in PAS2035 but with an emphasis on real world experience of retrofit. 

Tasks

  • Communication with Carbon Co-op in advance of an assessment to identify availability and coordinate a booking time with householders. 
  • Physical  data collection: measuring and identifying elements in a home including walls, windows, doors, floors, roofs, heating and ventilation systems etc. Including estimating construction type, material, age and any issues that may require further investigation or rectification before retrofit. Also collection of energy use data. 
  • Qualitative data collection: 30+ minute interview with householders exploring occupation patterns, preferences and future plans for their home. 
  • Population of the tool with qualitative and quantitative data, running the energy model to accurately establish current  performance.
  • Creation of three retrofit scenarios, outlining potential retrofit measures from a library and modelling the impact of these scenarios on energy performance. 
  • Providing a short written commentary on constraints and opportunities for retrofit, to complete a report generated by the tool. 
  • Passing the report on to Carbon Co-op checking and  issue. 

iv) Qualifications

Essential skills

Undergraduate Qualification in Built Environment (building surveying, architecture or architectural technology, engineering), or equivalent demonstrable experience in industry.

Desirable

  • Domestic Energy Assessor accreditation
  • Chartered status, or working towards RICS chartered status (building surveyors only).
  • Academic or professional qualification in a built environment discipline that demonstrates good understanding of building physics
  • Academic or professional qualification in a built environment discipline that demonstrates good understanding of building services
  • Retrofit specific qualification – e.g. AECB CarbonLite Retrofit, Retrofit Coordinator, Retrofit Assessor. 

v) Skills and experience

Essential

  • Experience of energy assessment tools and models: SAP (full version),
  • Experience of carrying out accurate measured surveys of existing buildings
  • Experience of use of spreadsheets for data input and management
  • Excellent arithmetic and mathematical skills – to be able to check for errors and assumptions in spreadsheet tools. 
  • Understanding of building physics, including the thermal and moisture performance of different materials and construction assemblies.
  • Understanding of building services including the different heating and ventilation systems available and likely to be present in domestic settings, how they operate and how they are controlled. 
  • Understanding of the whole house and fabric first approaches to domestic retrofit. .
  • Understanding and experience within the construction sector
  • Experience of customer-facing roles, in particular dealing with private households/owner occupiers clients. 

Desirable

  • Good understanding of household energy assessment policy and regulatory environment
  • Experience of other energy assessment tools: PHPP, BREDEM, rdSAP 
  • Experience of working within set systems and processes and adhering to QA protocols. 
  • Experience of developing tools databases and information management, particularly in relation to construction. 

vi) Person specification

Essential

  • Excellent risk awareness: you will be required to follow appropriate health and safety procedures as part of this work to protect you and the householders and this must be taken seriously. A commitment to following measures outlined in risk assessments, H&S etc.
  • Excellent attention to detail: for the accuracy and efficiency of the work you will need to collect lots of pieces of data with minimal or no errors.
  • Efficient use of time: bearing in mind attention to detail, you must work efficiently and effectively, without cutting corners, but without spending excessive amounts of time checking and rechecking measurements 
  • Good with people, an excellent communicator: you will be in peoples’ homes, explaining elements of your work to them and eliciting information from them.You must be polite and considerate at all times. 

Desirable

  • Flexible: as much as possible assessments will be in regular work hours but someone who is flexible in their availability may be needed to accommodate householder availability. 
  • Feedback: You need to be able to deliver the tool as designed but also input in to its future development, providing feedback on the method and tools and conveying any issues raised by householders, so that you can contribute to its future development and use.

Use of car ability to travel

Use of a car is not a prerequisite for this role though there must be the ability to get to domestic dwellings ie via public transport, cycling etc.

Travel to assessments in the Greater Manchester area is normally included in the standard fee – visits further afield will benefit from a travel uplift payment. 

Safe working policy

Survey  visits are subject to our People Powered Retrofit safe working policy to mitigate against the risks of Covid-19. A pre-assessment video call is made in lieu of an in person interview and a risk assessment carried out to inform appropriate mitigations for physical visits.  

If you have any questions about the role then please email us: info@carbon.coop

Appendix – My Home Energy Planner workflow

The assessment is suitable for domestic properties of 250m2 and smaller. Additional time and fees are allocated for larger properties, more complex form and proposed extensions. 

  1. Firstly, a Retrofit Advisor conducts a pre-assessment screening of the home by sending the householder a simple questionnaire.. We also ask for energy bills, an Energy Performance Certificate if completed, any construction drawings there may be, plus planning and building approvals or certificates. Based on this information, we assign an assessor. 
  2. The assessor gets in touch with the householder to arrange a time to speak before they visit, and also a time for the survey. 
  3. In a pre-visit video call, the assessor asks the householder about motivations, priorities, preferences and perceptions. They also ask about future plans, timescales and budget.
  4. During the survey the assessor takes measurements of the home and carries out a visual inspection of its condition. They assess the existing ventilation system and construction materials. In doing this they take photographs as a record, as well as making notes and sketches. 
  5. Where appropriate and depending on weather conditions, the assessor may also carry out a sketch thermal imaging survey (only possible on cold days) to help visualise heat loss. They may also use tools like a borescope or a moisture meter to be able to understand more about the construction of the home. As an optional extra, we may also arrange an air-pressure test or more detailed thermography to assess the leakiness of the home. 
  6. After the assessment visit, the assessor creates an energy model of the home as it is now using our online platform. They use this to develop three potential retrofit scenarios based on low, medium and high intervention measures, tailored to what the householder told us about their priorities and future plans, so that these are integrated with any non-retrofit works they might be planning, or are aligned with their biggest concerns or budget. Our tool allows assessors to use their knowledge and judgement to develop suggestions that are more likely to be suited to the householder and the home.   
  7. The tool enables the assessor to generate a detailed report, providing key information on the suggested scenarios and how they meet their project brief. The report is generated by the tool using the data inputted. The  three retrofit scenarios are provided with approximate performance outcomes and budgets. Recommendations will range from ‘quick wins’ to deep retrofit measures, usually targeted at making the home ‘zero carbon ready’ in the third and final scenario. The report also highlights any issues the householder might need to address alongside their planned retrofit, and some of the risks they need to be aware of in making more detailed plans for the work.   
  8. To clarify the report findings and help householders understand what their next steps might be, we’ll offer a 30-minute follow up video consultation where the householder can ask any questions of the assessor and a member of the People Powered Retrofit team.