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Building a business case – secure the buy-in you need for your retrofit project


[1 July 2022] Developing and delivering a successful retrofit project requires a clear and convincing business case. The SHRA will help you create a solid case that will explain the project’s goals, the project’s importance, and how you plan to deliver it.


    In social housing, there are always important but competing demands for financial and staff resources – and these resources are often limited. Therefore, a great business case is vital for a successful retrofit project. 

    Your business case will help to secure buy-in from the senior management, support applications for funding and provide stakeholders with a clear explanation of the project, its expected outcomes and how these fit into the strategic priorities of your organisation.

    Your organisation may have its own requirements for a business case, so you should work with colleagues to establish how best to shape and present the case for your retrofit project. 

    Here are some helpful tips to help you build a strong business case:

    • Understand your organisation’s approval processes – which boards, directors or management committees need to sign off a business case? How often do they meet? When would you need to provide your business case for them to review? 
    • Understand your audiences – different teams and departments will have different roles to play in developing or signing off your business case. Which teams/departments will need to be involved and consulted? What strategies do they already have in place? What language do they use? How and how often do they set their budgets? 
    • Align to the organisation – the business case will need to be grounded in your organisation’s existing strategies including Asset Management, Sustainability and Resident Satisfaction.
    • Understand your housing stock – analyse your organisation’s stock energy data and current position in terms of energy efficiency improvements to meet your project objectives (for example, meeting EPC Band C or net zero carbon).
    • Understand the costs and benefits – you should also research the likely impacts of the project, including carbon reductions, energy bill savings for residents and maintenance savings for your organisation. Think also about the wider benefits that the project may bring (see Co-benefits below). You will also need to set out the total costs and how these will be met, including the size of the grant contribution and how much will be required from internal budgets.
    • Build confidence in the project – find case studies from similar organisations in terms of size, scale and geography to reassure senior management that it has been ‘done before’. Very few housing associations like to be risk-taking pioneers in this space so it is helpful to demonstrate approaches and technologies are already being delivered in the sector.
    • Get your message across – use the language of your organisation, explain acronyms clearly and remove jargon so the business case can be easily understood by a wide range of non-expert stakeholders.

    Finally, make sure to check out the SHRA on-demand masterclass on gaining senior level buy-in – you can watch it on YouTube here.


    More information on business cases

    A wealth of additional information and handy tools can be found in the SHRA Knowledge Hub and by using the business case toolkit.

    If you have any questions, please get in touch. We have a dedicated team ready to help.  You can email us at

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