MCS accreditation can be a fairly complex issue. Our FAQ's below will help you undertsand why, how and when MCS Accreditation is required.
What is the purpose of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme?
Essentially it is there to protect the consumer to ensure the products installed and the installer of any renewable energy solution that feeds back to the national grid meet the approved standards. If an installation is not certified then the home owner will be unable to sell their energy back to the national grid.
Who needs to be certified?
Any company undertaking installation of any form of renewable energy source that is intended to feed back into the national grid will need to be certified. This includes large companies and single installers alike.
Do I need MCS accreditation to be employed as an installer?
No you don’t. As long as your employer is MCS accredited you will not need to have the accreditation yourself. However if you want to work for yourself as a contractor your company will need to be MCS accredited.
How much does certification cost?
Fees vary depending on how many technologies you install. For one technology such as solar PV the annual fee is £390. It costs £100 for initial application which is a non-refundable fee.
How do I achieve accreditation?
This can be broken down into 3 steps:
Get the appropriate training for your chosen technology (i.e . Solar PV)
Prepare for certification
Apply to a certification body and arrange assessment
What do I need to do to get trained?
The first part for a contractor is to get trained doing the installation that they wish to register under the MCS. Providing that they already hold the 2382 and are registered as a competent person under Part P, a Solar PV installation course will enable the trainee to become qualified in Solar PV installation.
What do I need to do to prepare for certification?
There is a lot of ground work to do before you apply for certification and this is really the bulk of the work and time that will be required. You will need to ensure the following things are in order:
Quality Management System (QMS)
Technical reference documents
Client Records / Certificates / Documents
Appropriate equipment & Instrumentation
Record of Complaints and complaints procedure
Evidence of public liability insurance
List of building installation work carried out (So that the assesor can review a live installation)
Who do you need to contact to arrange certification?
You can gain accreditation by contacting NICEIC (http://niceic.com/contractor/microgeneration). Trade Skills 4U will shortly be running a MCS Accreditation course as well as an MCS Accreditation support service.
Do I need to register with REAL?
Yes in order to gain the certification you will need to be registered with the REAL (www.realassurance.org.uk). The cost of membership varies depending on the number of staff you employ.
How long does the process take?
If you are ready for inspection it will usually take between 4-6 weeks from the date of request for an MCS inspector to come out. You should then know if you have been successful with your certification on the day.
However before you can even apply for certification you will need to prepare and this timescale will mainly depend on you and the support you will receive.
What is a QMS? Why do I need it?
QMS stands for Quality Management System. Essentially it is a set of procedures that ensure a company works to the standards expected by the MCS certifier.
In order to become registered under the MCS, a company or contractor needs to develop internal reviews that are compliant with requirements set by the MCS that detail the supply, design and installation, set to work parts of a company. It makes sure there is a ‘nominee’ that will oversee the work completed by the company to make sure all work is done to MCS high standards.
Who can help with certification?
Trade Skills 4U can provide the training you need not just in terms of installation but also to assist you to prepare for certification. We will also be able to support you through the MCS certification process and help you write some of the key documentation (such as your QMS manual) and processes to ensure you pass gain accrediation first time.
How often will I be audited?
Once initially and then annually from then on. However if there are complaints about your work you could find additional ‘surveillance’ is required.