Demand for trained, professional heating installers is rising to meet a growing workload created by the availability of grants and energy efficiency offers.
The grant market is growing because of the government's targets aimed at tackling fuel poverty and reducing fuel emissions. The Warm Front grant includes central heating for clients and oil central heating for those not on the gas distribution network. It provides a package of energy efficiency and heating measures up to the value of 2,700 for home owners providing they meet the grant's criteria. Energy suppliers also provide grants for the installation of energy efficient boilers under the Government's Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) scheme. Depending on the local authority, grants for homeowners or private tenants to install heating improvements, according to their incomes, are also available. Some GAIN members install solar panels and wind turbines, which are subject to grants from the government's Low Carbon Building Programme to provide hot water and electricity. Customers applying for a grant for central heating and equipment can look to the Grant Aided Heating Installers' Network (GAIN) set up to serve the grants market, and installers have a lot to gain by joining the network. Since it was formed in 2002, GAIN has grown to serve 30 contractor members throughout England and Wales and is inviting more heating installers to join to take advantage of the benefits it offers. GAIN meets with energy suppliers to discuss the EEC grant and holds quarterly meeting with EAGA, Warm Front's scheme manager and the government to get greater clarity for installers and give them the chance to raise questions about different grant schemes. Those wishing to join GAIN must show they have attained one of six nationally-recognised quality awards: Investors in People, Investors in Excellence, ISO 9001:2000-QA, IS014,001(Environmental), OHSAS 18001(H&S) or the Corgi Certification Scheme. Heating installers must also abide by a code of practice which includes conducting honest dealing with customers and maintaining technical registration and competence. For more details visit www.gainassociation.org.uk.