When Tom McAteer looks at the work CMC is doing with the Community Action Development Commission of Montgomery County (CADCOM), he sees the future.
“Partnering with an organization like CADCOM as an energy-auditing subcontractor has tremendous potential for our company,” says McAteer, an auditor supervisor at CMC. “It’s never really been done before.”
Since early July, CMC has handled all energy audits for CADCOM — an antipoverty community agency funded by Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Typically, audits for entities like CADCOM are performed by nonprofit partner agencies — but CMC is trying to introduce another option.
“We provide a turnkey solution they can bring in as they need to, without having to incur the cost of hiring and training an auditor and support staff. It just makes sense,” says McAteer, who is a former CADCOM energy auditor.
It will make even more sense for CADCOM — and programs like it in other counties — as future certification requirements evolve. Increasingly, states, including Pennsylvania, are requiring oversight on jobs by quality-control inspectors (QCIs). This creates a barrier that few nonprofit agencies currently offering audits will be able to overcome.
“Most agencies don’t have the funding to pay for QCI certification because their training budgets have been cut,” says McAteer, who notes that six of CMC’s staff of 22 energy auditors based in Fort Washington will be QCI certified by the end of the year. “Even if the agencies can afford training for one inspector, they’ll still have to subcontract to someone, because auditors can’t inspect their own work.”
From the state, CMC could also be an attractive option for audit subcontracting because it represents an opportunity to standardize processes and produce repeatable test results.
“Right now each agency has its own paperwork and methodologies,” says McAteer. “The state wants to put best practices in place, and we can help them do that.”
But the most intriguing aspect of the audit subcontracting model, according to McAteer, is the ease with which it can be done on a larger scale. “The work we’re doing for CADCOM can be applied anywhere in Pennsylvania — or anywhere across the country,” says McAteer. “Once you develop the competency, it’s easy to replicate — and that’s pretty exciting for us.”