Forthcoming changes to RDSAP 9.91 and the mandatory DEA top up qualification


In April 2012 the current version of RDSAP will be superseded by RDSAP 9.91.  DCLG has said that all energy assessors completing RDSAP EPCs in England and Wales will need to complete a mandatory top up exam should they wish to keep lodging post 1 April 2012.

To help DEAs understand the changes and prepare for the top up qualification, NES has put in place a series of RDSAP 9.91 training modules (online and face to face).

What is the top up qualification?

The DEA top up qualification is known as the Level 3 Award in Domestic Energy Assessment Professional Development. The qualification is designed to cover the additional knowledge and understanding that current, qualified, practicing DEAs will need to produce the 2012 version of the Energy Performance Certificate. It will also ensure that all DEAs have an adequate understanding of the role and purpose of the EPC within the wider context of Government policy on improving the energy efficiency of buildings, and generally raise standards in DEA practice.

DCLG has also confirmed that any study or training completed in order to pass the mandatory test falls into the category ‘Changes in Requirements’. This means that it is not in the ‘Other Professional Development’ category, and therefore does not form part of a DEAs annual obligation to undertake a minimum of 10 hours of CPD in relation to DEA activities.

(For members of the NHER Accreditation Scheme the DCLG document explaining the changes can be accessed via NES one.  The relevant information is in the DCLG section of Useful Documents in members NES one accounts – the document is titled ‘New EPC format and developing skills of DEAs – November 2011’) 

DCLG has specified that all DEAs must achieve this qualification in order to continue to practice from 1 April 2012.  The top-up qualification and associated knowledge assessment will no longer be available after October 2012, at which time it will be subsumed into a revised Domestic Energy Assessor qualification based on new National Occupational Standards and QCF units. Any DEA who has not passed the examination by October 2012 will need to start again from scratch and undertake the revised Domestic Energy Assessor qualification.

Gaining the Top Up Qualification

In order to gain the qualification, DEAs will need to pass the Awarding Body’s exam. There is no requirement to submit a portfolio of evidence.

The qualification is being offered by ABBE, City and Guilds and EDI. DEAs cannot register directly with an awarding body. As with any qualification, candidates can only register via an assessment centre approved by the relevant awarding body.  NES will continue to work with ABBE and offer the ABBE version of the qualification.

The ABBE exam will be taken at one of ABBE’s national examination venues and candidates will not need to come to our offices to take the exam. Please click here to locate your local test centre.  You do not need to have qualified with NES originally to book this top up exam through NES.

We will email candidates a code and instructions of how to book the exam via the ABBE website. Candidates will be able to choose their own date, time and location to sit the exam.

Candidates will have 70 minutes to complete the exam.  The format will be ‘multi choice’ and each question will give 4 possible correct answers. ABBE is charging £90 plus VAT to register which includes one attempt at the exam. Subsequent attempts will be charged at the standard ABBE fee of £60 plus VAT.

To register for the exam now, follow this link.

(Please note that to book online you must use Internet Explorer. Add the exam to your shopping list, press ‘proceed to checkout’ and enter your email address and membership number. The email address will be the one that we have sent this email to. Then click on ‘select dates and venues’ and enter how many spaces you would like to book. If you press ‘continue’ you will be asked to enter your payment details and will receive a confirmation email once the booking has been successfully completed.)

What training material is currently available?

 ABBE Qualification Handbook

 The handbook outlines 4 key areas that will be covered in the exam:

  • Understand the professional requirements to operate as an accredited domestic energy assessor

  • Understand the technical knowledge required to meet current domestic energy assessment requirements for the preparation of EPCs

  • Understand the technical knowledge required to meet current domestic energy assessment requirements for energy efficiency recommendations

  • Understand the purpose and content of the current Energy Performance Certificate

For DEA members of the NHER scheme, the qualification handbook and further details of the requirements and their question weighting in the exam can be found in General Documents section of Useful Documents in their NES one account. The document is titled ‘ABBE Level 3 Award in Domestic Energy Assessment Professional Development (QCF).’

Asset Skills (the Sector Skills Council for the built environment with direct responsibility for the Occupational Standards and qualification units) is writing further material to help DEAs prepare for the exam. NES has been advised that the material will be made available in mid January.

In the meantime NES has a series of online CPD modules and face to face training days to cover the technical changes.

RDSAP 9.91 Online Training Modules

NES is developing a range of free online CPD modules that outline the main changes to RDSAP 9.91. Six CPD modules are already available - RDSAP 9.91 Overview CPD Parts 1 and 2, Conventions, Detailed Roof Rooms, DEA Professional Requirements and New Technologies

There is also a competency test available to ensure those who have read the 2 overview modules have understood the content

A construction CPD module will be available shortly.

For those people who are registered with the NHER centre, individual NES Learning accounts can be found here ( (If you are a member and you cannot see the free modules or need a reminder of your log-in details, or if you want to find out more about membership and to have access to this training material please email us at

In addition NES has updated some of the existing online CPD modules. For people who have not already bought these modules and wish to do so, please go to our website where the modules are available to purchase at a cost of £25 plus VAT for members: CPD modules

The updated CPD titles are as follows:

  • Secondary Heating

  • Room in the Roof

  • Room Areas and Exposed Perimeters

  • Flats and Maisonettes

  • Alternative Walls

People who have already purchased one of these titles in the past can see the revised module as they have been placed in the NES Learning accounts at no extra cost.

RDSAP 9.91 Face to Face Training

In addition to the online material, NES will also run a series of face to face training courses. The training costs £75 plus VAT for members and £95 plus VAT for non members.

To book a place on one of our training sessions please click here 


It is not mandatory that you attend the face to face training as any material covered on the day will also be covered in the online CPD modules that we are releasing. The purpose of the day is to give delegates the opportunity to complete worked examples using the new software and ask questions.

RDSAP 9.91 Technical Bulletin and Manual

A special version of the DEA technical bulletin covering the forthcoming RDSAP 9.91 changes is available to all DEA members and a revised RDSAP manual will also follow.