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MCS launches improved standards and clearer path to certification

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The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has announced two new initiatives designed to help installers get involved with the Scheme, and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the forthcoming domestic RHI.

Changes to Heat Technology Standards
To support next spring’s domestic RHI, MCS has modified the installer standards for the heat technologies biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps. The MCS Working Groups have updated the standards to ensure that MCS heat technology installations can robustly meet all the requirements that will enable government to make MCS the requirement for customers wishing to access the incentive.

The largest change is focussed on the addition of Compliance Certificates. This is designed to be viewed as a checklist for installation companies to complete and confirm the suitability of the installation to the relevant MIS standard.

MCS has published on its website a full list of changes, consultation responses, and the relevant Working Group feedback.

A Clearer Path to Certification
This initiative is aimed at helping installers better understand how to become certified and making it clearer how to up-skill and re-skill in response to changes, such as the introduction of the domestic RHI.

MCS remains a scheme where it is the company that is certified to carry out installations. However, it has always been recognised that a company demonstrates competence mainly through its operatives, whether those operatives have formal training, industry experience or a combination of both. Today MCS is publishing the competency criteria that the experience and training must combine to meet so that the company can be certified.

MCS now has a framework of roles against which the criteria are mapped so that individuals can understand how the criteria are likely to apply to their role within their company. Most roles can be combined or shared as required – the framework is designed for every size and type of installer company.

MCS will also imminently make available for free on the MCS website a Competency Checker Tool to support use of these frameworks. The qualifications checking and ‘Experienced Workers Route’ functions it contains can be used to help identify which roles and criteria the installer believes they already fulfil, and prompt the installer to assemble evidence they can present to their MCS Certification Body for evaluation.

The new Competency Criteria and assessment are being phased in from 16th March 2014, applying initially to new certifications, and with a transition period of up to three surveillance visits for existing installers to work to them. All installation activity under the scheme will at all times have to meet the MCS Standards, giving real confidence to consumers.

The new Competency Criteria, supporting guidance framework, and IT tool will guide installer companies in demonstrating how their staff’s combined industry experience and formal training demonstrates the relevant competence for the company to gain certification. The framework places an equal emphasis on experience and on qualifications, because we know the key is to help installers show Certification Bodies that their company is competent. This is a big step forward in making the whole process more transparent from the installer’s perspective.

For information regarding the revised Standards and the Competency Criteria project, visit http://www.microgenerationcertification.org