Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Better Energy Homes Scheme Inspections

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide details of the number of inspections that were carried out by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in 2012 to ensure compliance with minimum standards for the installation of external wall insulation; the number of the total inspections carried out which failed to meet minimum standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57556/12]

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Programme. Better Energy: Homes provides financial assistance to private homeowners who wish to improve the energy performance of their homes. Fixed grants are provided towards the cost of a range of measures including attic insulation, wall insulation, heating systems upgrades, solar thermal panels and accompanying Building Energy Rating (BER). From the start of 2012 to the 30 November 2012 the scheme has disbursed over €27million in Exchequer funds and supported the delivery of over 67,000 energy efficiency measures in over 24,000 homes.

In order to ensure that the works delivered under the scheme have been completed to an appropriate standard, a proportion of properties are inspected by suitably qualified personnel, in accordance with published checklists, to ascertain compliance with relevant aspects of the Technical Specification and Code of Practice. The Code of Practice and quality inspections, combined with contractor sanctions and contractor technical bulletins comprise an integrated approach to quality which ensures that measures are implemented to a high standard, where works are not up to standard that defects are remedied and that standards of workmanship among contractors are continuously improving.

Up to mid December 2012, SEAI paid out 5,515 grants to home owners for external wall insulation and almost 1,000 (18%) were inspected by SEAI. Of the external wall insulation works inspected, 80% had zero or minor issues to be rectified. In 20% of cases, the standards achieved were not satisfactory, and the contractors were required to revisit the house and rectify the issue. In cases where the installations do not meet the minimum standards, it is practice that grant payment is withheld until resolution of the issue is confirmed.


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