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7 lessons learnt from Wave 2.1 and Wave 1


Carrying out a retrofit project at scale involves many different stakeholders and complex processes, of which you may have little or no experience. It’s important to be prepared and know where to begin, both when writing your bid and as you embark on your project.

With the help of Jon Moorhouse, CEO from Construction Thinking, and Tim Freeman, director from Energy Specifics, we’ve put together a list of lessons learnt from previous SHDF waves, to help guide you in delivering Wave 2.2 and future retrofit schemes. 


    Please note: this news article is from an archive, and may now include information, references or terminology that is out of date. Please refer to the main sections of this website for latest information.

    1. Start as early as possible

    Developing a decarbonisation strategy is an iterative process.  You will find yourself adapting and refining your project as you move through, so having enough time to account for any changes you may need to make is key.

    To enable your project to run smoothly, you also need to ensure that you have good communication across your delivery teams. By starting early, you’ll prevent “siloed” thinking, helping to add value to your programme and establish key relationships early.

    2. Know your stock

    Data is power!  Don’t rely on EPC data about your housing stock that you think you may have – instead get to know how many houses have low energy ratings and could qualify for retrofit schemes.  This will save you having to spend time adjusting your strategy if you find your housing data isn’t up to date.

    3. Put together a clear property list

    When developing your property list, consider the following:

    -                 Make sure you understand the geography and archetypes of your housing stock

    -                 Be aware of the opportunities and limitations within your asset software, and the limitations of - EPC ratings i.e. the amount ‘bad data’ these can include

    -                 Imagine schemes from a contractor’s perspective

    -                 A good practice is to describe your choice of properties in a clear paragraph. If this reads well, then your list is likely to be coherent

    4. Engage, engage, engage

    It’s important that you consult experts and delivery teams throughout your retrofit project, including when writing your bid – the more successful schemes include bid writers who have previously delivered projects.  Delivery costs incurred during bid preparation can often be recouped following a successful bid award.

    Contractors are an integral stakeholder.  They may have retrofit delivery experience, and can advise on real-time costs or PAS2035 sub-contractors.  When engaging contractors, be aware that a good retrofit delivery is also an integrated construction project, not just planned maintenance.

    Once you have completed your property list, engage with your tenants, be open about the potential for the bid being unsuccessful and the timing implications if the bid is successful.  Find resident ‘energy champions’ to help spread the word to local residents who may qualify for your retrofit project.

    Continue to engage with the tools that are available to you.  The Social Housing Retrofit Accelerator has tried and tested, tailored support for applicants that will help you to refine your bid to ensure that it is the best it can be. This includes one-to-one support, bid clinics and online masterclasses.

    5. Consider holistic schemes

    Successfully carrying out a retrofit project is key to adding social value to your housing stock and improving local neighbourhoods.

    These properties do not exist in isolation of one another, so don’t think of each house as an individual.

    Consider also where there may be funds that can be aligned with your SHDF bid to ensure maximum social value.

    6. PAS 2035 is part of the plan

    PAS2035 is the British Standard for retrofitting dwellings. In order to carry out a successful retrofit project, you need to have an understanding of the constraints and opportunities of the standard,  and embed PAS2035 good practice into your delivery plan.  Find out more by watching SHRA’s on-demand masterclass.

    When putting together your retrofit strategy, you should understand the clear relationship between PAS consultancy costs and quality, and use specialist designers rather than combining this role with the retrofit coordinator.

    7. Mind the procurement trap

    Set out how you want the project to work and find a procurement route that reflects this.  When engaging with your procurement team, consider: there is little point in developing a relationship with specialists if you are then forced to hand over work to framework partners with little retrofit experience.

    Be aware also that tenders via frameworks will likely return framework pricing.  This can be helpful, but can also cause issues where delivery items or detailed aspects that arise during the retrofit design process are not captured in the framework rates.

    Next steps

    It’s never too early to start developing a retrofit plan – you can engage with all of the tools available on the Social Housing Retrofit Accelerator website.  For those bidding in Wave 2.2, check out critical final resources here.

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