It’s time to forget the old ideas about CPS

Competent Person Schemes (CPS) have been with us for a while now – 21 years in fact.

It’s time to forget the old ideas about CPS

When they started back in 2002, the individual scheme operators focused on single technologies. For example, HETAS were the CPS for solid fuel heating, while OFTEC’s supported the oil heating sector.

Over time that has gradually changed, with some CPS providers expanding the scopes of registration they offer, while others have kept to their original position. Solid fuel remains the sole focus of HETAS, but other scheme operators, including OFTEC, have expanded their offering. While liquid fuels remain the priority, OFTEC added solid fuel in 2015 and more recently, biomass, heat pump, Part P, MCS, and Trustmark registration.

Competition is good news for heating engineers

This diversification has several benefits for heating engineers. Increased competition means more choice and potentially more competitive pricing. It also means you can stay with a single provider as you or your business diversifies – which could save money and keeps renewals simpler. In the past, this was of only moderate value, but in an industry where decarbonisation is a reality, the potential to diversify and offer a broader range of technologies may become an increasingly popular – even essential – option to ensure businesses to remain competitive.

Spreading the word about CPS changes

While heating engineers have been aware of these changes, the wider world has been slow to wake up to the diversification within the CPS sector. It’s understandable that householders may not realise that a solid fuel heating installer registered with OFTEC is no different to one registered with HETAS when it comes to competence and the ability to self-certify work. Particularly if they’ve used HETAS registered engineers in the past. However, it’s apparent that some industries that should know better have been slow to understand the changes.

One example is insurance. OFTEC was recently made aware of a policy offered by a leading insurance company that stipulated that the homeowner’s solid fuel appliance must be installed by a HETAS engineer or the policy would be invalid. We’ve also been made aware of landlords that make similar stipulations relating to individual technologies, in one case leading to a registered business missing out on a valuable installation contract.

Given that this is obviously wrong as well as being anti-competitive, OFTEC is now taking positive action to make the wider world more aware that a competent person scheme registration is equally valuable, regardless of which scheme provider the business is registered with. If you have any examples of problems of this kind, please contact OFTEC’s marketing team – marketing@oftec.org