Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, September 21, 2007

Solicitors becoming HIPS inspectors

21.09.07 How to become a HIPs inspector (perhaps there are crime solicitors who may want to make a bit more money?!)

Alternative careers for solicitors in years to come, or perhaps solicitors need to have a think about becoming both a home inspector and a solicitor - certainly looks easy money!

Cost is slightly prohibitive - I have seen courses costing about 7,500 plus VAT, which compare well with the LPC!

The work
As a home inspector you would produce reports on certain types of houses offered for sale on the open market in England and Wales. You would look at the age, condition and energy efficiency of people's homes and produce a Home Condition Report (HCR) and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Your key duties would be to: 
examine the inside and outside of a property
give each part of the building a condition rating based on a set scale
give reasons for each rating
recommend further investigation of defects that could be serious
give the property an A to G rating for energy efficiency and carbon emissions.
The HCR and EPC form part of a Home Information Pack (HIP). HIPs were compulsory for houses with more than three-bedrooms from 10th September 2007. EPCs are a compulsory part of the packs, but HCRs are optional. Visit the Home Information Packs website for more information about the Housing Act, HIPs and HCRs.
EPCs can be produced by both home inspectors and domestic energy assessors (see separate profile for Domestic Energy Assessor).
Entry
To qualify as a home inspector you will need to complete the Level 4 Diploma in Home Inspection (DipHI), which is awarded by ABBE (the Awarding Body for the Built Environment) and C & G (City and Guilds).
The DipHI is an assessment process that shows that you have all the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. It is offered through accredited assessment centres. The assessment centres will help you to compare your existing skills against the DipHI and plan your training around them. You can find full details on the ABBE and City and Guilds websites.
To get the DipHI you will need to complete:
a portfolio of work-based evidence that proves your skills and knowledge in all the units in the DipHI
an exam (for an example see the ABBE website).
The length of time you will need to complete the DipHI, and the amount of training you will need, will depend on how closely you already meet the requirements:
if you are a qualified and experienced residential property surveyor it could only take a few weeks
if you are new to surveying or work in estate agency or property management, but do not carry out surveys, your training will take longer
if you do not have any experience, you may need to gain a property-related qualification, such as a relevant BTEC HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree before starting the DipHI.
You may be able to do an intensive course to complete the DipHI. You do not need to have any surveying knowledge to do one of these, and the courses cover everything you need to complete the final exam and produce the portfolio of evidence for assessment. They last around 12 months.
Domestic Energy Assessor
If you just want to produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), you can qualify as a domestic energy assessor by doing the new Diploma in Domestic Energy Assessment. The diploma is provided by three awarding bodies – the ABBE, City and Guilds (C&G) and the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) (see Further Information for details).
As a home inspector you will be able to carry out both EPCs and Home Condition Reports. Domestic energy assessors will just carry out EPCs, but will have the opportunity to gain a ‘top up’ qualification to become home inspectors. See the separate Domestic Energy Assessor profile for more information.
Training
You must make sure that any training you do to become a Home Inspector is through an accredited course. Some centres offer both training and assessment and others will advise on suitable training.
You may be able to do an intensive course or study full-time, part-time or through distance learning, depending on your circumstances and the amount of training you need. See the ABBE website for a list of accredited training providers able to offer credits towards the Diploma in Home Inspection.

If you do not have surveying qualifications or experience, you will need to get some practical experience (in addition to your classroom-based training). Some training providers may organise this, or you may be able to get experience:
by approaching local surveying practices or larger surveying companies to see if they will offer you some work shadowing
through your current employer if you are involved in relevant fields such as estate agency, construction or housing.
The portfolio you produce for the DipHI must include 10 inspection reports, covering a range of property types. If you already have surveying or inspection experience, some of these could be reports you have already done. At least three reports must be in HCR format – your assessment centre will advise on how to complete your portfolio.
Before you can work as a home inspector you will need:
membership of an approved certification scheme
a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check
personal indemnity insurance.
The organisations running approved certification schemes are:
SAVA
RICS
BRE
After qualifying you will be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date by continuing professional development (CPD).
Further information
National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
Arbon House
21 Jury Street
Warwick
CV34 4EH
http://www.naea.co.uk
City and Guilds
Tel: 020 7294 2800
http://www.cityandguilds.com

Home Inspector Careers
http://www.hicareers.co.uk

Home Information Packs
http://www.homeinformationpacks.gov.uk

Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE)
Tel: 0121 331 5174
http://www.abbeqa.co.uk
Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm

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