Supporting the decarbonisation & retrofit of public sector buildings


Dean Fazackerley, head of technical procurement at public sector framework provider LHC Procurement Group (LHC), reflects on the key takeaways in the development of its latest energy efficiency framework, Decarbonisation & Retrofit (N9)

In the race to net zero, while being faced with the pressure to decarbonise its homes and other buildings, the public sector still lacks a long-term funded retrofit strategy from the government.

It is therefore left to the construction industry to work collaboratively, share learnings and pool resources to ensure that positive outcomes can still be delivered for residents.

This was the context in which we hosted our first Retrofit for a Net Zero Future event.

Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Central Birmingham on 28 February, the free-to-attend event united over 160 industry leaders, innovators and experts all committed to paving the way for a sustainable future.

Key industry insights

They shared broad perspectives from across the sector on retrofitting at scale to decarbonise the UK’s existing built environment and deliver a net zero future.

The talks throughout the day focused on everything from the importance of measurement, delivered by Luke Smith, managing director of Build Test Solutions, to the benefits of collaboration with stakeholders – as highlighted by Karen Ashley-Seaman, product manager at Vaillant – and how to simplify the procurement of large-scale retrofit projects, as covered by Simon Kemp, growth and innovation director for Warmworks.

Matt Hickman, bid director for VINCI Facilities, highlighted what his company is doing in the area of retrofit as a responsible main contractor, while Euan Durston, regional director for ECD Architects, talked about a real-life case study which expertly demonstrated retrofitting at scale.

LHC’s own group technical manager Chris Ferguson delivered an insightful presentation about how to address the very evident retrofit skills and knowledge gap in the industry.

Panel discussion

All the speakers gathered for a Q&A-style panel discussion, during which time host Paul Dawson, LHC group technical manager, opened the floor to questions.

Dean wanted to know from Matt about what stops VINCI from bidding for certain projects.

Matt highlighted the importance of early engagement. He said: “‘No’ is always the hardest word in contracting but by working with framework providers, we get the opportunity to engage early and can have some say and influence over the risk profile of the project.

“We can have open and honest conversations. Without that collaborative relationship, we’re unlikely to go for it. We’ve been most successful with customers if we’ve had those conversations early and taken a collective responsibility for the risks.”

Euan was asked how informed clients are on retrofit. He reiterated that everyone in the industry is learning all the time.

“Some are further along the learning curve than others, so it’s about trying to encourage everyone to align and move along the curve together,” he explained. “It’s our job as architects to meet clients where they are and try to elevate them to the next level.”

Our upcoming decarbonisation & retrofit framework

The event formed the conclusion of the pre-tender engagement (PTE) process for our upcoming Decarbonisation & Retrofit (N9) framework.

Designed to support the decarbonisation and retrofit of the UK’s social homes and public sector buildings, N9 will launch in the autumn of 2024.

It will offer suppliers a significant pipeline of public sector work to support local authorities and social housing providers with net zero delivery and energy efficiency compliance.

N9 aims to drive essential retrofitting works across the sector’s 4.4m properties and help local authorities and social housing providers deliver urgent upgrades for warmer, more efficient homes. This will be crucial to meeting net zero objectives and supporting residents grappling with the cost of living.

Meanwhile, local authorities will also be able to use the framework to ensure they meet the government’s target to cut 75% of carbon emissions by 2037 across 1.9m non-domestic public buildings.

N9 will also help to deliver work required by a mix of government and energy company schemes, including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and Home Upgrade Grant (HUG). Together, the schemes are worth £1.4bn, with match funding from local authorities, social housing providers and charities adding £1.1bn. N9 can also support improvements to social housing with an EPC of band D-G under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Experts sought

For the Decarbonisation & Retrofit framework, which will run until 2028, we will be accepting applications from consultants and specialists in energy efficiency, heating and ventilation, renewables, electric vehicles and solar PV from 29 April.

We are keen to hear from and work with hard-to-attract organisations that have never been appointed to public sector projects before and create new opportunities for the market.

Throughout the tender submission period, applicants can ask questions and a full tender response pack, templates and guidance information will be available.

Tender documents are available via www.lhcprocure.org.uk/itt-n9, where you can register your expression of interest today.

 

LHC Procurement Group

https://www.lhcprocure.org.uk/

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