Notices from SEAI relating to COVID-19 crisis

Last updated 18th May

This guidance is informed by the Government's Roadmap for reopening society and business and Return to work safety protocol.

These are unprecedented times for everyone. On foot of the Stay at Home guidance from the Department of Health / HSE, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have put measures into place to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. This also means that SEAI will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your family, your staff and the clients you interact with.

Please read specific notes below regarding SEAI programmes and activities.

18th May 2020

For the moment be assured:

  • Considering the Government’s stay at home instruction, SEAI believes that, in general, grant aided energy retrofit works, BERs for grant aided works and discretionary BERs are all not essential.
  • SEAI will continue to process all new grant applications for future works and grant payment requests for works already completed.
  • To ensure no additional impact on our valued suppliers, our accounts team will continue to process all invoices speedily, and in accordance with standard payment terms. Likewise, our procurement team will continue to issue purchase orders for all required services to facilitate ultimate payment.
  • SEAI’s Building Energy Rating administration system is fully available for assessors to upload ratings and for persons to check specific property ratings online.
  • Other regulatory aspects of our work as administration of Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme and Market Surveillance Authority continues.
  • SEAI’s call centre remains open to answer any additional queries you may have.
  • In some instances, our client advocacy programmes and network supports are affected as a result of social distancing. However, we remain available and have already introduced alternative approaches to meet demand.
  • SEAI is not able to advise any service provider in respect of special or additional precautions to take in conducting their own business, beyond those available from the HSE.

In this current exceptional environment, we are continually reviewing our programmes to see if there are other ways by which we can assist our customers and the public in general.

Like any organisation, SEAI anticipates some reduction in capacity in the coming weeks arising from illness, isolation / quarantine requirements or other consequences of COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, this may result in some delays in responding to enquiries or processing transactions. Our dedicated teams will do their very best to minimise the impact for our clients and suppliers.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your family and loved ones and anyone you interact with.

From the CEO and team at SEAI.

18th May 2020

This guidance is informed by the Government's Roadmap for reopening society and business and Return to work safety protocol.

This information is for contractors, installers, suppliers and service providers undertaking activities within SEAI funded or administered schemes. This includes:

  • Home energy grants*
  • Solar PV grants
  • Deep retrofit pilot scheme
  • BER assessments**
  • Community energy grants

*Separate guidance has issued to contractors completing works under Warmer Homes and Warmth and Wellbeing schemes.

**Separate guidance has also issued to BER assessors

On foot of Government guidance in respect of the COVID-19 emergency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is fully implementing measures to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. All SEAI staff are now working from home and we will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

While noting the Government’s roadmap permits a phased return of outdoor workers in Phase 1 (18 May 2020), SEAI believes that grant aided home upgrade works cannot be successfully undertaken without contravening these guidelines.

  • Whereas the Government’s instruction allows for services to businesses and homes on an emergency call-out basis in areas such as electrical, plumbing, glazing and roofing, this is solely a matter for homeowners and contractors to separately decide. SEAI cannot adjudicate on such situations.
  • SEAI will continue to process all new grant applications for future works and grant payment requests for works already completed.
  • In the situation that retrofit works have commenced then it is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the property is left in a safe and habitable state.
  • SEAI is not able to advise any service provider in respect of special or additional precautions to take in conducting their own business, beyond those available from the HSE.

18th May 2020

SEAI will accommodate the potential impact on the solar PV scheme as follows:

2019 Applications
These installations were due to be completed by 28 February and the documentation submitted to SEAI by 31 March. We recognise that the requisite Building Energy Rating (BER) may not be completed by the end of March and so will make the following changes:

  • Please submit all installation documentation (NC6, REC Certificate 3, Commissioning documents, photos, etc.) by the 31 March
  • The BER should be submitted as soon as practicable after 31 March

2020 Applications
SEAI remains open for applications; letters of offer are valid for eight (8) months and currently do not anticipate that they will be impacted by the restrictions.

We will continue to monitor the situation and advice from the government and keep you up to date on the scheme.

If anyone has any queries, please contact us at 01-808-2100 or solarpv@seai.ie

18th May 2020

 

This guidance is informed by the Government's Roadmap for reopening society and business and Return to work safety protocol.

On foot Government guidance in respect of the COVID-19 emergency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is fully implementing measures to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. All SEAI staff are now working from home and we will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

While noting the Government’s roadmap permits a phased return of outdoor workers in Phase 1 (18 May 2020), SEAI believes that Building Energy Ratings cannot be successfully undertaken without contravening these guidelines. This opinion is expressed in respect of BERs for grant aided works or discretionary BERs commissioned by property owners.

BER Assessments for Grant Claims

In response to the restrictions in place, SEAI has already temporarily suspended previous requirements to furnish a valid BER at time of grant claim. SEAI has considered the implications of this on a programme by programme basis and has put in place appropriate alternative governance controls. These include requirements for subsequent provision of BERs once restrictions are lifted, withholding a proportion of the grant amount due (including a BER grant where applicable) or a combination of both these measures. These decisions will be communicated directly to affected applicants and stakeholders. These new arrangements will facilitate appropriate grant payments to homeowners and contractors while also maintaining appropriate BER obligations. These provisions will continue until 8 June 2020 (Roadmap phase 2) at least, in accordance with Government guidance.

BERs required for property conveyancing / transactions

A BER is required for all buildings being offered for sale or let, unless the building type is exempted as defined in SI 243 of 2012. The guidance contained in the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business applies to carrying out BERs for property conveyancing/transactions.

BER Assessor Exam

Prometric Test Centres will be staying closed until at least 8th June 2020, unless notified otherwise.  For those who have exams booked for a date prior to 8th June, Prometric will be in contact in due course to advise when you can reschedule your exam free of charge.

As previously communicated, SEAI have extended the exam renewal date to 31th August 2020 for all assessors who currently have an exam renewal date between 1st March and 30th June 2020 and have yet to sit their exam.  All assessors with an exam renewal date within this timeframe should have received an email confirmation that their exam date has been extended.

If you have not received this confirmation email and feel that you should have, please get in touch with the BER helpdesk.

Auditing

All audits will proceed as desk audits until further notice. No documentation and practice site audits will be conducted during this period. Where you have a specific difficulty in completing an audit, you can contact your auditor to discuss alternative arrangements.

BER Systems

SEAI’s online systems will continue to be available to facilitate the publication of BERs by assessors and making them available online for property transaction / conveyancing purposes.

BER queries

We are continuing to operate our helpdesk as usual and can respond to any questions you may have.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your staff and your clients. Should you have any queries on any of the above guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact the BER helpdesk.

 

Best regards,

 

SEAI BER Team

18th May 2020

We are already hearing how the crisis is impacting on the research and innovation community nationally and internationally. We understand that there may be unavoidable impacts and delays to SEAI supported research and innovation projects. In such cases SEAI will try to work pragmatically and practically with you to offer flexibility on a case-by-case basis in relation to the following items:

  • Deadlines for technical and financial progress reporting: The most recent reporting deadline was the end of February 2020. Payments are currently being processed for all awardees based on the technical and financial progress reports submitted. The next financial progress report/claim deadline will be the 31 August 2020. We encourage projects with upcoming project completion deadlines or other concerns to please contact us with any queries. In advance of the next financial progress report/claim deadline, to support organisations that are experiencing cashflow issues SEAI is temporarily facilitating more frequent financial reporting. Please contact us on email below if you wish to avail of this.
  • No-cost Time Extensions: No-cost time extensions will be offered on a flexible case-by-case basis. Please refer to the Grant Amendment Request Form for details of how to request a no-cost time extension – available to download in the Programme Documents section of our website here.
  • Project Cost Category Reallocations: please refer to the above Grant Amendment Request Form for details of how to request a reallocation.
  • Restructuring of project milestones or deliverables and associated timelines: Proposed restructuring can be detailed and requested within your next financial progress report in August 2020.

We are available to answer any queries you may have on the above via email to EnergyResearch@seai.ie or directly with your known project contact point in the SEAI RD&D team. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible and can speak with you over the phone if helpful.

Please also refer to the SEAI website for any further updates.

Best wishes,
The SEAI RD&D Funding Programme Team

18th May 2020

This guidance is informed by the Government's Roadmap for reopening society and business and Return to work safety protocol.

While noting the Government’s roadmap permits a phased return of outdoor workers in Phase 1 (18 May 2020), SEAI believes that grant aided home upgrade works cannot be successfully undertaken without contravening these guidelines.

Guidance relating to Phase 1, effective from 18 May 2020:

Reflecting this position, SEAI’s guidance to contractors working on the SEAI Warmer Homes and Warmth and Wellbeing schemes for Phase 1 only remains unchanged.

ALL works remain postponed on ALL homes allocated to contractors. That includes:

  • Homes where works have not yet commenced, and
  • Homes where works have commenced, are almost complete or are requiring reworks

Homes on both programmes should remain postponed until further guidance is issued by SEAI.

In the situation that retrofit works have commenced, it is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the property is left in a safe and habitable state. SEAI is not able to advise any service provider in respect of special or additional precautions to take in conducting their own business, beyond those available from the HSE.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your staff and your clients. Should you have any queries on any of the above guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Please note, additional contractor guidance, not specific to the above programmes, is also available now on SEAI’s website.

18th May 2020

Dear SEAI ocean prototype development fund awardee,

On foot Government guidance in respect of the COVID-19 emergency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is fully implementing measures to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. All SEAI staff are now working from home and we will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

We understand that there may be unavoidable impacts and delays to SEAI supported ocean energy research projects. In such cases SEAI will try to work pragmatically and practically with you to offer flexibility on a case-by-case basis in relation to the following items:

  • Time Extensions: Time extensions will be offered on a flexible case-by-case basis. The grant amendment request form is available on request. Please email Ocean.Energy@seai.ie if you require a form.
  • Project Cost Category Reallocations: As per above, please request the Grant Amendment Request Form for cost reallocation.
  • Restructuring of project milestones or deliverables and associated timelines: Proposed restructuring can be detailed and requested within your progress report.

Please note that increase in project cost will not be considered as part of this amendment process. All change requests must be within original budget envelope of your project.

We are available to answer any queries you may have on the above via email to Ocean.Energy@seai.ie or directly with your known project contact point in the SEAI Ocean team. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible and can speak with you over the phone if helpful.

Please also refer to the SEAI website for any further updates.

Best wishes,

The SEAI Ocean Team