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Should Irish DEAs fear English invasion?

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 28-Jun-08 02:32:47 PM

The Shamrock - Ireland's emblemYou better make sure the private jet is fuelled because, from Monday (30th June 08), if the phone goes you may well hear an Irish accent asking you to conduct an Energy Performance Certificate, in Belfast... or Londonderry... or possibly anywhere in Northern Ireland for that matter!

Prompted by a posting from Home Inspector Forum member, Maverick, who wrote in a thread called Northern Ireland Sewn Up!:

I see a lot of English DEAs have registered on the Northern Ireland EPC Landmark Register. Looks like we're going to have an over supply of DEAs from kick off! .....Madness!

I thought I'd wander-on over to the Northern Ireland Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register - set-up and operated on behalf of the Government by Landmark, which also looks after the mainland equivalent, the HCRRegister - and take a peek.

On first assumption, it would seem he is right.

Seven Irish DEAs - Thirteen English

A search on Belfast postcodes [BT*] offered just seven Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) with a Northern Ireland registered-address out of twenty randomised results. The remaining thirteen were registered at just two company addresses in England: one belonging to Countrywide the other Energy Reports and Surveys Limited (ERS), respectively.

Being national players, that might not be too surprising. But do a browser refresh (F5), and little changes (a few DEAs registered to the Halifax bank, in Yorkshire, popped-up).

It wasn't until I changed the search to the [SE*] postcode area that things began to look a little out of place. Unschooled in the Northern Ireland postal code system, I chose [SE] purely because I noticed it listed as an extended area covered by a previous Belfast DEA.

When I glanced at the results (which returned eleven DEAs in total, even when refreshed), my initial thought was that chancers had performed some kind of scam: none of the listed DEAs are registered at N. Ireland addresses; and all of them are Elmhurst-accredited.

Clicking on names (to reveal more details) I discovered that several of the DEAs also share the same website - In fact, there is more than one occurrence of this.

Clicking-through to the websites only served to heighten my suspicions further (forgive me if you're reading this but I'm sure even you can empathise). However, leaving aside first impressions, nothing I could see convinced me they had anything to do with N. Ireland at all; nor intending to, either - They were clearly marketing to their own localities.

Scam of the decade

But thinking I was about to uncover the scam of the decade, I pursued other possible leads. But nothing connected.

So, opening another browser tab, I blasted over to the UK mainland's HCRRegister, and, using accreditation numbers gleaned from the [SE*] postcode search in N. Ireland, pasted them into the mainland search box.

And there they were!


Exactly the same details, with exactly the same listed postcodes (bar a single difference in my sample), in both databases.

It now occurred to me that N. Ireland doesn't have a SE postcode (it's London)! Which begs the question: why are London postcodes listed in the N. Ireland register then?

So I tab-back and searched again for the Belfast results [BT*], pasting the returned accreditation numbers into the mainland database too.

And again, there they were!

So Belfast DEAs are listed over on the mainland too.

(Incidentally, searching against the [BT*] postcode in the mainland database actually returns a much higher ratio of DEAs with N. Ireland addresses!)

So you might be thinking: 'OK, but N. Ireland is part of the UK!'

Which is fine but don't forget, my first search using the Belfast postcode was overwhelmed by English results. Why?

And why two separate databases for each country, if the same info is seemingly in both?

[Edit: it is here I notice another oddity during the writing of this post]

Here are the postcode areas for a "Belfast-listed" DEA registered at a company address in England:

BT, LE16, LE17, LE18, LE2, LE8

(LE = Leicester)


BT, DY12, DY14, DY7, WV1, WV10, WV11, WV12, WV13, WV14, WV15, WV16, WV2, WV3, WV4, WV5, WV6, WV7, WV8, WV9

(DY = Dudley; WV = Wolverhampton - both West Mids)

Ha! Have you noticed?

In the course of double-checking this to ensure everything is correct, I've just noticed a pattern emerging: it would appear that a mainland company might be seeding Belfast postcodes into their DEAs' listings to ensure they are returned within Northern Ireland postcode searches.

LOLs - Every single one of their listings I've clicked bears the same hallmark. Another:

BT, EN8 <- Enfield to Belfast?!

I've gone off on a slight tangent now but you can have a rummage and see for yourself.

Ghosts in the machine

So it would seem that if you are a Northern Irelander wondering why you can't be found, or why you might be receiving few sales enquiries from the register, it may be your area is saturated with seeded entries; and because search results are randomised, your chances of appearing are diminished quite considerably, at least in Belfast, anyway.

I wonder if those DEAs in Leicester, the West Midlands, Enfield and beyond know where they might be called out to tomorrow!

Of course, we should be mindful of the few days left before EPCs are mandated in Northern Ireland. It's feasible, therefore, that this may be a dummy database for testing purposes.

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Posts: 2
Re: Should Irish DEAs fear English invasion?
Reply #1 on : Mon June 30, 2008, 09:34:27
I'm not surprised as I recall that when the England/Wales site started it was possible to find DEA's listed as covering AB (Aberdeen) EH (Edinburgh) and various other Scots postcodes including Shetland! There was also a mystery ZZ postcode to which many DEA's were registered

I'm more concerned that on the Non domestic EPC Register it is NOT possible to search by postcode,town or county.So for example if I need an Assessor in the Peterborough area I have to search everyone on the the randomised display in the hope that a Peterborough assessor appears. According to Landmark they have no brief from DCLG for such search criteria!

Have beeen trying to get DCLG to provide info as to how many Non Dom Assessors are likely to be needed come October, are in training, passed exams and are accredited. A month down the road and I have not having received any answers to these questions. I now wonder if sufficient people will be Accredited in time.

It seems to me DCLG have learnt nothing from the mistakes made when launching the Domestic EPC.
Posts: 1
Re: Should Irish DEAs fear English invasion?
Reply #2 on : Mon June 30, 2008, 17:21:25
I didn't know about the non-searchability of NDEAs - odd!

Posts: 2
Re: Should Irish DEAs fear English invasion?
Reply #3 on : Tue July 01, 2008, 12:24:08
Been thinking about this a bit more. Why have a separate NI Domestic DEA Register (and presumably Scots register in due course}?

As you can search by postcode, name and accreditation number surely only one domestic register is needed to cover all the countries that make up the UK. Seems to me wasteful maintaining separate websites & registers. I can see the need for a separate Non Domestic site as the skills of an NDEA are different however this only needs to be one site to cover the UK.

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