Does TrustMark’s Updated Quality Assurance Guidance go far enough?

TrustMark has this week issued their updated Quality Assurance Guidance for PAS 2035 public-funded retrofit schemes, but does this guidance go far enough to protect residents, improve buildings, and ensure that public money is being well spent?

The main aim of PAS 2035 was to ensure a clear process for compliance and ensure that past mistakes were not repeated, however, through our work reviewing PAS 2035 compliance over a number of schemes, the reality is that this may turn out to be just another green deal, with poorly planned and designed retrofits and shoddy installations all that will lead to what PAS labels ‘unintended consequences’ but in reality, the risk is much higher.

All of these schemes have been lodged to Trustmark, but how many have been reviewed by the body that is tasked with ensuring compliance?

TrustMark’s updated Quality Assurance Guidance

TrustMark’s updated Quality Assurance Guidance sets out how each lodgement will be allocated a risk factor considering a variety of factors including assessor lodgement, coordinator lodgement, property age and inherent technical risk of the project.

TrustMark will conduct both desktop and on-site audits of up to 10% of lodged projects, but is ‘up to 10%’ enough?

Non–compliant audits will be categorised into 3 categories – High risk, non-compliance or request for evidence, with a process to be followed to remediate. Failure to do so could result in suspension or termination of the TrustMark registration and costs incurred by TrustMark recoverable.

More is needed

The updated Quality Assurance Guidance issued by Trustmark is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to improving our standards for compliance with PAS 2035 and PAS 2030.

To improve compliance with PAS 2035 and PAS 2030, we need to create a more consistent approach to quality assurance monitoring across all retrofit schemes including checks at each stage of the retrofit process, rather than only the ‘possibility’ of a check at completion, when the damage could already be done.

We also need to make sure that a true ‘fabric first’ approach is being undertaken, not just an easy win (such as renewables) which in most cases takes properties out of the eligibility for further funding of measures.

Additionally, it would be beneficial to introduce more stringent checks on installations before signing off any works as complete (and prior to payment) including a final check by an independent assessor or a site inspection prior to completion.

It is essential that we get this right, quickly, in order to deliver efficient retrofit services that meet homeowners’ needs without compromising on safety or workmanship standards. Only then will we be able to deliver successful publicly funded retrofit schemes that are fit for purpose now and into the future.