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Self-Performance and Do-It-Yourself Regulations

Excerpted from Efficiency Kansas Program Manual, Section 3.9

The Efficiency Kansas Loan Program will allow certain materials to be purchased and installed by the customer. Customers interested in performing some of the work items from their custom Energy Conservation Plan must abide by certain rules and regulations. They should inform their partner lender or utility of this interest when making initial arrangements for financing.

Risks to Consider
Before considering any self-performance construction activities, customers should understand that there are inherent risks involved in self-performance. If the proper materials and installation guidelines are not followed, the risk of improper installation is high. Improper installation can negatively impact the estimated savings that were calculated by the audit and factored into the Energy Conservation Plan. Moreover, all work must be done in accordance with all local, state, and federal regulations.

The customer should fully recognize other risks involved in assuming the role of a contractor in self-performing improvement measures as well as impacts on the potential results. Contractors have insurance to cover the risk of liability, product installation, property damage, fire and health dangers; the customer may not be protected against such risks in a do-it-yourself situation.

Customers should keep in mind the following self-performance and DIY guidelines:

  1. Only materials that are purchased and installed will be paid for by the program.
  2. Receipts for installed products may be submitted at the project completion, or intermittently, as allowed by the customer's partner lender or partner utility.
  3. No tools that are needed to complete any improvement measure will be reimbursed through the program.
  4. Labor will not be paid for any portion of the project that is performed by the customer.
  5. Materials purchased must be high quality and have the expected life expectancy specified by auditor.
  6. Any damage done to the structure, items, or possessions while implementing an energy-efficiency measure will not be covered by Efficiency Kansas funds.
  7. Any item required by the manufacturer to be installed by a skilled, trained professional must not be installed by a customer, without proper certifications that have been pre-approved by the Kansas Energy Office.
  8. All work must be done in a professional manner and within a short time-frame.
  9. Pre-purchasing of items is not allowed. Items purchased prior to the approval date for the Efficiency Kansas project will not be reimbursed.
  10. Any item installed in an unapproved manner will not be approved for payment with Efficiency Kansas funds

Allowable Work Items

Any work item that a customer is considering for possible self-performance shall be approved by the Kansas Energy Office during the course of the audit review. Customers must fill out Appendix 11, .Self-Performance Terms and Conditions,. when proposing to self-perform work. While a complete list of allowable work items cannot be provided, the following list provide examples of the types of work items that will be allowed for self-performance:

  1. Install reinforcing mesh and mastic at ductwork splices and connections.
  2. Install weather-stripping and sweeps at exterior doors.
  3. Install insulation in attics and one-side walls (caution knob-and-tube wiring).
  4. Caulking and sealing holes and openings to minimize air infiltration.
  5. Handyman and carpentry items related to sealing and closing the envelope.
  6. Insulating exposed ductwork and installing water heater blankets.
  7. Insulating rim joist cavities and draping insulation on concrete walls.
  8. Insulating foundation walls in crawlspaces and frame-floor assemblies.
  9. Installing vapor barriers over the ground in crawlspaces.

Work Items Requiring Special Consideration

Certain weatherization work activities will not be allowed to be self-performed by the customer, without proper certifications and/or professional training licenses; these certifications and licenses must be reviewed and approved by the Kansas Energy Office. While a complete list of these items cannot be provided, examples of some of these work items are listed below:

  1. Dense packing walls with tube filled insulation equipment.
  2. Installing furnaces, boilers, and air conditioning equipment.
  3. Installing electrical, plumbing, and gas piping.

Impact on Auditors

If customers elect to self-perform some of the work, auditors will have to be receptive to customer wishes and adjust the overall audit accordingly. Customers may want to purchase some of the materials out-of-pocket and not include those costs within the loan. On the other hand, customers may also want to purchase the materials through the loan funds. Auditors will need to work closely with customers to develop these particular lists of information and make sure that all of the other construction work activities have been properly assigned to individual contractors. This information will become an important part of the overall audit that must be reviewed by the Kansas Energy Office.

Bids are required for all items recommended by the auditor in the Energy Conservation Plan. For customers intending to self-perform certain improvement measures, bids will be needed for all materials needed to complete the work. No labor charges will be accepted or paid for with the project funding. Customers are required to prepare a list of materials and the actual costs, including all taxes and fees, to submit to auditors so that they can complete the Energy Conservation Plan using final pricing. Change orders are not allowed. Estimated costs for materials must be adhered to. Customers should plan the material purchases wisely to avoid a shortage of available funds to complete improvement measures.

Auditors are responsible for documenting any safety concerns or improper installation issues in the post-audit report, which is delivered to the customer and Kansas Energy Office with the Certificate of Completion. Auditors should clearly indicate remedies for any safety concerns or improper installation so a customer may correct these. Auditors should indicate that any item that is improperly installed may cause health and safety concerns or result in the measures not producing the anticipated savings.

Impact on Partner Lenders and Utilities

In the event that customers purchase materials (only after Kansas Energy Office approval) with out-of-pocket funds and want to include these costs in the loan, the partner lender or partner utility may require that the customer submit the receipts for these purchases to the partner/lender so that the customer can be reimbursed. There may also be instances where customers may need a joint checking arrangement from the partner lender/utility that would allow customers to work with a lumber yard or supply house and pay for the materials with a check made out jointly to the customer and the vendor. Partner lenders/utilities may implement whatever guidelines they deem necessary to protect their interests.

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