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Technical Assessment Process for BEH Heat Pump System Grants

Updated: Jan 14



About Technical Assessments

The installation of Heat Pump Systems is grant-aided by SEAI under the Better Energy Homes and Communities programs. One of the requirements for a dwelling to qualify for a grant for Heat Pump Systems is that the energy performance of the dwelling fabric is suitable for Heat Pump System installation. This requirement is in line with SEAI’s aim for installed Heat Pump Systems to be as efficient and effective as is feasible. To make this possible, an independent Technical Advisor, who is registered with SEAI, is engaged by the homeowner as part of the application process. The Technical Advisor guides the homeowner on the energy performance of the dwelling, particularly on the suitability of the dwelling for a heat pump system based on the dwelling’s heat loss. They also provide the homeowner with independent guidance on measures necessary to ensure that the dwelling fabric heat loss is lowered to an acceptable level for a heat pump system to perform effectively and efficiently.

EXTERNAL WALL INSULATION PROPOSAL IS SUBJECT TO SITE-SPECIFIC

SPECIFICATION AND SITE SUITABILITY ASSESSMENT TO BE CARRIED OUT BY SUPPLIERS

BEFORE CONSTRUCTION.


Heat Pump System Grant and Technical Assessment Process Overview

The overall application process for Heat Pump System grants is shown in Figure 1. In summary, it shows the following broad steps:

1) The applicant must carry out a Technical Assessment of the dwelling using a Registered Technical Advisor. More details in Figure 2 below.

2) The applicant should get quotations from BEH Registered Contractors for Heat Pump Systems and must appoint a Registered Contractor, who is responsible for carrying out the design and sizing of the heat pump system.

3) The homeowner/Energy Partner applies for the Heat Pump System grant, uploading the Technical Assessment report.

4) If energy upgrades are identified in the technical assessment, works must be carried out to bring the dwelling heat loss down to the required level. Details of how to obtain any applicable fabric upgrade grants are available on SEAI’s website.

5) Heat pump installation is carried out, and the Registered Contractor signs off on the design, installation, and commissioning of the Heat Pump System. The required documentation is handed over to the homeowner and/or the BER Assessor carrying out the post-BER.

6) The BER Assessor carries out post-works BER assessment and enters the HLI and Heat Pump System efficiencies post-works on the BER Declaration Of Works (DOW).

7) The grant cannot be paid if the requirements of the Heat Pump System grant are not met. To receive the grant payment, the homeowner will need to carry out the work required to remedy the shortcomings.


Figure 1: Overall Heat Pump System Grant Process


The Technical Assessment process referenced in Figure 1 is detailed further in Figure 2. The Technical Advisor carries out the following steps once engaged by the homeowner:


Figure 2: Technical Assessment Process


Product and Installation Requirements

To avail of the grant, heat pumps must:

  • Fully comply with the EU Energy Label and Ecodesign regulations.

  • Provide the data required for the Domestic BER assessment (Ecodesign datasheets). These must be based on EN14825 and EN16147 testing standards.

  • Be CE marked and have the EC declaration of conformity.

  • Be listed on the SEAI Triple E register2.

  • Satisfy the minimum Seasonal Performance Factor (Main Space Heating Efficiency) calculated according to the DEAP methodology as specified in the Table below. To ensure that this requirement is met, the heat pump system should be assessed in DEAP during the design phase and before installation.


Table 1: Minimum heat pump efficiency requirements



Heat Pump

Heat Pumps operate by transforming energy from the outside air into heat, meaning every 1kW of electricity used to power heat pump can provide up to 3kW or more of energy in a well-insulated home – helping to reduce heating bills by up to 60% and cutting CO2 emissions by 50% compared to traditional boiler-led heating systems.

Air source heat pumps extract heat from the outside ambient air all year round, even at temperatures as low as - 10°C.

The heat pump system may need a different heat distribution system than the current one. The homeowner should contact a heat pump contractor and request a detailed heating system survey. The heat pump contractor must carry out a whole system design.


Heat Pump Installer Competence

Heat pump systems must be installed by suitably qualified personnel. Personnel nominated to supervise and inspect the works, and to sign off the Declaration of Works must be competent in the different aspects of the works. This includes the design, sizing, and installation of the whole heat pump system. The minimum qualification and training requirements that must be met by personnel nominated to sign off the Declaration of Works for grant purposes are:

  • Fetac/QQI Level 6 Advanced Craft in Plumbing, including a module on minor electrical works, or equivalent

  • Certificate of competence from the specific manufacturer of the heat pumps installed, based on an adequate training program

  • Fetac/QQI Level 6 Heat Pump Systems (Course Code C30263) and supplemental

Domestic Heat Pump Installation (Code 700606) or equivalent2 Manufacturer’s training programs must be available for SEAI to examine and verify. Training outcomes must include the ability to complete a heat pump system installation of the heat pump products from the specific manufacturer and to carry out the correct heat distribution and emitters design and sizing. Installers must attend any refresher training that may be required to update their competence about changes to products and technologies.

Manufacturer’s training programs must be available for SEAI to examine and verify. Training outcomes must include the ability to complete a heat pump system installation of the heat pump products from the specific manufacturer and to carry out the correct heat distribution and emitters design and sizing. Installers must attend any refresher training that may be required to update their competence about changes to products and technologies.

Important notes:

  • A Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) is required to supervise and sign off the electrical installation of a heat pump system, by the definition of “Controlled Works and Restricted Works” by the CRU. A copy of the RECI certificate must be left with the homeowner and available for inspection.

  • An F-Gas engineer is required to carry out and certify heat pump system installations involving refrigerant pipework and charging as per the F-Gas Regulation

It is also recommended that all personnel working on the installation of heat pumps:

  • Are competent or training to be competent to the level specified above,

  • Are competent in carrying out minor electrical works and in electrical safety, and

  • Are experienced in heat pump installation and heating systems design. SEAI reserves the right to amend the training and certification requirements above. SEAI may require nominated personnel to attend additional training by the QADP and the Programme’s Terms and Conditions as applicable.


Documents required before a Technical Assessment can commence

Having all your documents and paperwork prepared before your assessment will significantly reduce the time it takes to receive your BER Certificate and Advisory Report.

Our checklist will help you prepare for your BER assessment to ensure you have all the required documents.

  • Your MPRN number - found on a recent electricity bill, and your Eircode.

  • Proof of the year the house was built, any drawings, plans, or specifications of the house, and the age of any extensions added to the house (e.g., legal documents indicating the age of the dwelling extension(s) and relevant planning permissions).

  • Planning application or construction drawings and specifications.

  • The engineer's signoff letter should state that the works were carried out according to the current building regulations and state the relevant TGD Part L

  • Details of any upgrade works done to the house (if applicable) including any documentation, certifications, receipts, invoices, and/or specifications documents from the architect, engineer, or contractor who managed the works, that indicate the address of the dwelling, the works carried out, and the products used (e.g., for wall insulation this would include the wall area covered in m2, the insulation Manufacturer, product type, specification and the thickness used, issued on headed paper from one of the above parties together with any accompanying NSAI agreement certificates for insulation conductivity or other CE marked the declaration of performance or certified accredited test data).

  • Information on the make and model of your boiler and/or other heat sources (e.g., you should be able to find this information on the side of your boiler, for heat pumps, you will need the SEAI designer/installer sign-off form and heat pump product fiche & Eco-design datasheet).

  • For underfloor heating, the construction drawing or a Sign-off letter from the installer will be required.

  • Heat recovery unit (ventilation system) data sheet or manual (if available

  • Certification information for windows and doors (e.g., for windows, certification information should include the relevant test standard, make, model, glazing description, u-value and solar transmittance values, also any delivery documentation showing the delivery address). Windows WEP or CE certificates shall be accompanied by a Sign-off letter stating the customer name, dwelling address, type, and location of windows used with installer information included

  • Results of any air tightness tests completed Ensure that the test was carried out by a registered air tightness tester, an individual or organization competent to do so (NSAI or INAB accreditation for example).

  • You should send an email to SEAI (info@ber.seai.ie) requesting them to release the XML file (this is not the BER certificate available online) for your BER Assessor. Your email shall include:

    1. An electricity bill.

    2. The Assessor number (Our Assessor number is 108717)

    3. Previous BER Assessment number

    4. A request to release the XML file

*If you’re having work done on your home, it’s important to request documentation


Previous Building Energy Ratings (BER)

In some cases, the previous BER will indicate a better energy rating than the one obtained in your current BER. A few reasons for this happening are listed below:

  • Only a provisional BER was published. Provisional BERs are not an accurate reflection of the actual house built. In most cases, the Existing BER published after the house is finalized will indicate a lower BER than originally considered in the Provisional BER.

  • For houses that changed ownership, the previous owner could have had additional documentation that was used during the previous BER assessment.

  • Previous errors or typos (e.g. The previous BER Assessor has used a different year of construction than the actual year of construction).

  • Wrong interpretation of documents provided.


SEAI Audits

SEAI, as the Issuing Authority for the BER/DEC scheme, might select your building for audit as part of our Quality Assurance System.

The quality assurance programme is to ensure that there is a quality assessment service in the marketplace, by continuously monitoring assessment quality and ensuring widespread operational compliance by BER/DEC assessors. The system will thus assist BER/DEC assessors in the effective discharge of their duties and ensure the accuracy of assessments.

The audit will take 1 to 3 hours depending on the complexity of your building.

A BER auditor who is representing SEAI will carry out an independent assessment of your building, which will involve measuring dimensions, reviewing your heating, hot water, and lighting systems, and looking at the fabric within the building. The BER auditor will then check the accuracy of your BER rating based on the findings on-site.


How do I Know The Individual Present is a BER Auditor?

All BER auditors are issued with a Warrant of Appointment by SEAI and must have it with them at the time of audit. You may request to view this warrant of appointment before giving the auditor access to the property.


What if I Don’t Want to Give Access to The Audit?

As the BER Assessor should have highlighted at the time of engagement, SEAI may request to carry out a site survey of the building. If you decide not to facilitate the request, SEAI may decide to revoke the BER certificate. Our Quality Assurance and Disciplinary Procedure is available at; https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Quality-Assurance-System-and-Disciplinary-Procedure-New.pdf


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