Quality Assurance and Auditing
The BER and DEC auditing system protects the integrity of the scheme and the quality of assessments published to the National Register.
Quality assurance overview
The BER Quality Assurance (QA) System is used to continuously monitor the quality of BER assessments published by BER/DEC Assessors. It also ensures widespread operational compliance with the BER Assessor's Code of Practice.
We use the following methods to maintain the quality assurance of BER and DEC.
- Entry /upstream measures such as training, induction module and mentoring
- In-line delivery measures such as NAS validation rules
- Downstream / feedback measures including auditing as detailed in the Quality Assurance System and Disciplinary Procedure (QADP)
All BER assessors are subject to audits. Auditing is a tool used to monitor the technical performance and professional conduct of all assessors. The outcome of the audit also provides feedback and learning to BER assessors. SEAI may also carry out routine follow-up audits to see if findings from previous audits have been adequately resolved.
How BERs are selected
We select a group of BERs to be audited monthly. The selection is done on a random or targeted basis.
A BER may be targeted for audit based on a specific risk, or in some cases, because of a complaint regarding the published BER. If a BER has been selected because of a complaint, this does not mean SEAI automatically presumes an error exists in the BER.
Who conducts the audits?
The selected BERs are allocated to one of SEAI’s registered BER auditors. These are independent contractors engaged by SEAI to carry out BER audits. BER auditor names and contact details are provided on the National Administration Systems, NAS for domestic BERs and NDNAS for non-domestic BERs.
Types of audit
There are 3 BER audit types:
Data review audits
These are targeted desk-based audits used to check compliance with a specific aspect of the technical methodologies or the Code of Practice or both.
The auditor sends an assessor an audit request. The audit request will outline the element of the BER or Code of Practice that you need to respond to. It is important to note that generally, only the data points outlined in the audit request will be reviewed by the auditor. However, if an auditor finds serious non-compliance outside the questions asked, they may include this in the audit findings.
These are medium volume, desk-based audits, carried out on a selection of BER assessments published by an assessor. An auditor will select some of the data points and check them to see that the relevant technical methodologies and/or the Code of Practice have been followed.
Documentation and practice audits
Documentation and practice audits, also known as D&P audits or site audits, are an intensive and detailed review of the BER. They may include a return visit to the building(s) that the BER was carried out on, accompanied by the auditor. D&P audits review compliance with the relevant technical methodologies and the Code of Practice including relevant aspects of the BER assessors activities. The auditor may select multiple assessments to identify if any error patterns exist.
BER Assessors may be requested to participate in mentoring audits. The focus of mentoring audits is on learning outcomes and provides an opportunity for assessors to discuss any areas of misunderstanding with the auditor. These normally include a return site visit to the building(s) that the BER was carried out on, accompanied by the auditor. Mentoring audits may happen where a BER/DEC Assessor:
- has been newly registered
- has not carried out an assessment for more than 12 months
- is subject to suspension
The auditor is allocated BERs to audit. They begin the process by sending you a request for documentation about the selected BER. Once you receive the notification, you have:
3working days to respond to the audit request
21working days to facilitate the audit taking place
Upon allocation of the audit, the auditor will have access to the data and evidence recorded in DEAP. This is for the sole purpose of carrying out the domestic BER audit.
Your auditor will review the BER assessment and the information submitted by you in response to the audit request.
They will send a Preliminary Audit Report to your registered email address detailing the findings of their review. The Preliminary Audit Report will outline any errors made within the BER and offer guidance on how to rectify them. If you need clarification on the guidance contained within your Audit Report, contact the BER Helpdesk.
If you do not appeal the findings in the Preliminary Audit Report, you will receive a Final Audit Report. This confirms the final audit outcome.
How to appeal an outcome
You have the right to appeal the outcome of an audit within 14 days of receiving the Preliminary Audit Report. You will need to:
- complete an Audit Appeal Form
- provide evidence to support the relevant aspects of the appeal
- email the form and evidence to the SEAI QA Team
To find out what happens when penalty points accumulate, or when the Code of Practice is breached read the Quality Assurance System and Disciplinary Procedure.Download the Quality Assurance System and Disciplinary Procedure
SEAI may revoke a BER as a result of an audit outcome. This happens where SEAI has reasonable grounds for believing that the BER was not published in line with technical methodologies and/or the Code of Practice. For example, audits with a Severity 1 or 2 finding or a grade change.
Revoked BERs are removed from the BER Register. They are not available for the building owner or any subsequent BER assessors carrying out a follow-up assessment.
If your BER assessment is revoked, you must:
- Inform the BER client and other affected persons of the error and revocation
- Request your client to destroy all printed copies of the revoked BER certificate and associated advisory report
- Re-submit a BER data file with correct values
- Re-submit the BER for publication
- Provide the BER client with the replacement BER certificate
SEAI can request confirmation that you have carried this out.
Where a BER is revoked, and you are unable to republish the BER, your client can apply to you for reimbursement of the fee paid for that assessment. You must reimburse the fee if you are satisfied that the fee for that assessment was paid by your client.
If a revoked BER is republished within 14 days, you can request a refund of the publication fee from SEAI. Email the BER helpdesk and include:
- the MPRN/BER number
- why you had to republish the BER