The energy efficiency scheme checklist

Energy efficiency schemes can help save energy and money for your home. Many of these schemes are free of charge to residents which meet the qualification criteria.

Where there are genuine energy schemes, there are also, sadly, some scams. Bedford Borough Council Trading Standards Team has received numerous complaints relating to insulation installations. 

Complaints consist of the following:

  • Carrying out poor work/substandard work, with damage to external masonry, mortar, render and plaster work whilst installing and then removing external wall insulation. Damage to internal fixtures and fittings, damp caused by poor air flow due to substandard loft insulation installations.
  • Leaving jobs incomplete.
  • Asking for additional payments which were not agreed in writing before work started.

Before you sign up to any energy efficiency scheme, use our energy scheme checklist to ensure the company you’re dealing with is a genuine company and not a scam or a rogue trader. 

Click on each heading to read our advice.

Our advice to help keep you and your property safe

Avoid signing up to any energy efficiency scheme on the doorstep

Regardless of how genuine the person may appear, ask for a leaflet with the company details. 

Always do a check online, and on the TrustMark website, to ensure the details you’ve been provided with are genuine. 

Any installer offering to complete work of this nature must be licensed with TrustMark for the relevant categories of insulation that they have been approved to do. These include external wall, loft and floor insulation.

Remember any deals that seem to good to be true normally are, don’t be rushed or pressured into signing up to anything or agreeing any works.

Say NO to traders who come to your door without being invited.

Check our website to see if the energy efficiency scheme is legitimate

All current energy schemes supported by Bedford Borough Council are listed on our website. Schemes that say they are supported by Bedford Borough Council but aren’t on the website are not genuine.

See our energy and water advice for residents webpage for supported schemes.

Obtain contact details from the installer company

All installer companies should provide you with their company details. This usually includes a registered company number that you can check with Companies House.


Check reviews

Before signing up to any installer company, always check their reviews online and use sites such as Buy With Confidence and TrustMark.

Get all the improvements to your home in writing before work starts

The installer company should provide in writing a list of the measures they will be installing in your property. 

The majority of these improvements are free of charge. If there are any associated costs, make sure you have this in writing in advance to protect yourself from any installer who attempts to impose further costs after the work is complete.

If they haven’t informed you of any costs in writing, do not pay them and report them to Citizens Advice Contact the consumer helpline.

Be extra vigilant if they request money to paid in cash only or into an individual’s bank account, and not into the company's registered bank account. Do not hand over cash before work has started.

Check the qualifications of the installers

It is important to check and ask for the qualifications of any persons that will be carrying out works at your property.

  • Boiler engineers: check they have a gas safe identification and also check the Gas Safe Register.
  • Insulation teams (loft, cavity wall, external wall, underfloor insulation): they must provide a NVQ level 2 and 3 (NVQ Level 3
  • only for external wall insulation).
  • Any renewable technology installers, such a solar panels and battery storage, should provide MCS certification.

If they to do not provide any qualification that matches with their photo ID, then do not let allow them to carry out any work. Unskilled installers can cause more damage to your property.

If you’re unsure, always check with the council in the first instance.

Check the building regulations

This work is controllable under building regulations, so you will need to check the installer you use is registered with the Competent Persons Scheme.

If the installer is registered through the Competent Persons Scheme, they will issue you a certificate of compliance with building regulations. You will need to keep a copy of this certificate for your records (for any future sale of your property) and the installer should also send a notification to the Building Control team not more than 30 days after the completion of the work.

If they are not registered, then you will need to complete and submit a building regulation application to Bedford Borough Council before the works are undertaken. They will then inspect the works to ensure they are correctly installed and meet the legal requirements. Upon satisfactory completion of the works, a completion certificate will then be sent to the applicant.

You can contact our Building Control team for further advice and assistance. If the works are carried out without prior notification to the local authority (Bedford Borough Council), this is considered as unauthorised building works and you may face legal proceedings for not complying with the Building Act 1984.

Check before you add any cladding or rendering

If you live in a conservation area, you will need to apply for planning permission before cladding the outside of your house with any of the following:

  • insulation
  • stone
  • tiles
  • artificial stone
  • plastic
  • timber
  • render
  • pebble dash

Outside of a conservation area planning permission will be required if the materials used in any exterior work are not of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse.

For example, putting cladding and render on the exterior of a house faced with bricks may require planning permission.

If you live in a flat or listed building the rules are different and planning permission/listed building consent are likely to be required.

You are advised to seek professional advice on this before installing any cladding to the exterior of your property.

If you require formal confirmation from the Council, as to whether planning permission is required, then you should submit a lawful development certificate for a proposed use or development.

To apply please go to: and

Check if a party wall agreement is required

Works which will infringe onto a neighbouring property boundary line require a party wall agreement in place before any works can begin.

Visit the Planning Portal or contact a party wall surveyor to see if the Party Wall Act affects you. 

Check requirements for placing materials on the highway

Building materials must only be placed on the carriageway if there is sufficient room on the verge which wont encroach onto the footpath.

Any building materials placed on the carriageway/verge will need to be safely stored to ensure that this does not harm pedestrians or damage vehicles.

Building materials may only be placed in the carriageway in a suitable location. For example not allowed on junctions, double yellow lines, disabled bays etc.

If scaffolding is placed on the highway the scaffolding contractor must apply for a licence before installation of scaffolding to ensure that insurances, accreditations etc can be verified and a site inspection is carried out by the inspector for the area.

Anything placed / stored on public highway requires a separate licence to be obtained from the Streetworks team.

Details of how to obtain each licence is on our licences and permits webpage.

If you have any complaints

The installer should be the first port of call for any complaints you have.  Please contact TrustMark if you do not receive a suitable response 

If you incur any unexpected costs that were not in writing please contact Citizens Advice on 0808 2231133.

Make sure you get as many details as you can of those undertaking the work such as:

  • name of company
  • company address
  • vehicle registration

If you think a business has broken the law or acted unfairly, you can report them to Trading Standards