An assessor’s guide to passing your Stroma assessment

By in Installer Week, Stroma Certification on September 18, 2015

Julian Hodgson is one of Stroma’s Technical Advisors, with years of experience working as a heating and plumbing engineer. Julian has installed all manners of heating appliances and renewable technologies and has tutored others in similar trades. Alongside Stroma’s Installer Week promotion, Julian has contributed his best practice advice to this blog, offering hints and tips on what to expect and how to successfully pass installation assessments in order to join Stroma’s certification schemes.

Describe your background and areas of expertise.

I’m a time served, apprentice trained plumbing & heating engineer. I have installed all manner of heating appliances and hold all the necessary qualifications and experience to inspect, train and assess domestic building services installations.

My passion for the environment drew me to the renewables side of the heating industry where I have trained engineers in the correct design, installation and commissioning of renewable energy technologies. I also delivered unvented hot water systems training, water regulations training and energy efficiency training.

What is the purpose of your role as an assessor?

I carry out technical inspections on all aspects of domestic heating systems and deliver advice to applicants or existing members as to how they should meet MCS and GDI scheme requirements.

What guidance and services can you offer installers?

I can offer technical guidance on all domestic heating and hot water systems. As a trained engineer and tutor, I know what makes for a beneficial scheme or training course. I offer this advice and knowledge to installers, as well as having an input on Stroma’s training courses (an example being Stroma’s Legionella Risk Assessment Training).

What are installer assessments and how can they be successfully passed?

Installer assessments assess the technical knowledge and Quality Management Systems (QMS) of installers to prove their competency. They must be able to comply with regulations, guidance documents and their chosen scheme requirements. As assessors, we’re not looking to find fault with installations, quite the opposite in fact.

How can assessments benefit an installer?

Assessments help the installer meet industry and scheme requirements, thereby allowing them to join the certification scheme. Successfully joining a certification scheme enhances an installer’s marketing potential to offer a wider scope of trades.

How should installers prepare for an assessment and what can they expect?

Installers need to have at least one job that covers the full scope of works they are applying for and a QMS in place and ready for assessment. Their assessor will make a comprehensive report which identifies compliance and any shortfalls in the installation or QMS. Shortfalls are then explained and clear guidance is given to rectify these problems.

What support do you offer installers once they are certified?

I always build a relationship with the installer I’m assessing so that they feel confident in approaching me with technical queries should they require. I try my best to resolve any issues with the most efficient and simple resolution.

If you have any questions for Julian or any installer assessment tips of your own, please leave your comments and queries below.

Julian Hodgson

Julian is an experienced plumbing and heating engineer with an environmentalist’s passion for the renewables heating industry. As a trainer, he has taught on all aspects of plumbing, heating and renewable technologies and is looking forward to sharing his tips and advice on these sectors.

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