01 December 2021

Our journey in creating a Retrofit Coordinator service right for you

Prior to launching Retrofit Solutions into the marketplace, we partnered with a well-established national contractor with a great reputation for good customer service to run a Retrofit Coordinator Pilot Programme.

Why did we do this?

  • We wanted to test and streamline our processes before launching into larger scale Retrofit Coordination;
  • We wanted to understand the challenges, pinch points and blockages so that we could consider these in future delivery and seek solutions;
  • We wanted to formulate the most effective approach to delivering a Retrofit Coordinator Service.

The pilot taught us a number of key things;

  • You are only as good as the information that is collated by the Assessor in the first instance. If this is incomplete or incorrect it makes the process of coordinating retrofit upgrades much more difficult and leads to costly revisits and delays.
  • Best laid plans… Things change! Or are discovered part way through the installation meaning that alternative solutions often need to be deployed. You need to be dynamic and remember that any significant changes need to be referred back to the designer, who may need to adapt and amend the design (or at least add notes of any deviations to it and approve them).
  • If things do change – Don’t forget to remind the installer to amend the claim! For example, if the original funding submission was for a replacement gas boiler and two associated controls packages, (e.g. a thermostat and TRVs), but then it is subsequently discovered that the TRVs were present and adequate and therefore not installed. These then need to be removed from the design but also from the funding claim. Why? Because otherwise you are likely to receive a non-compliance during any audits or a returned submission from your funder.
  • Ensure the installer conducts a PIBI. Proper checking of the design on site before the installation commences will avoid both unintended deviations and may flag any design errors before work is started. There is a gross underuse of the Pre-Installation Building Inspection (PIBI) by the installer as a key tool to check that the design both meets the PAS2030 requirements and critically is suitable for the property. This may be the last chance that an installer has to flag any concerns or required amends to the Retrofit Designer and Coordinator.
  • Customers are more receptive to change when you take the time to explain to them why certain actions or approaches are necessary. Likewise, highlighting the benefits and what the consequences could be if they don’t are invaluable – particularly with regard to ventilation upgrades.
  • Local Authorities differ greatly with their approach to giving approval for the installation of energy efficiency measures in Conservation Areas. We have found that approvals for non-listed properties in these areas range from a tacit approval once you have submitted some examples (i.e. if it isn’t affecting the visible external façade they aren’t particularly interested) through to some requiring a full application with extensive drawings which can add significant time to the process.
  • It is much more difficult to get customers to complete an Evaluation Questionnaire if you leave it too long after the installation of the final measure.

It’s fair to say there were many important things learnt during the pilot programme, so much more than can be done justice in a short blog. However, we want to continue to share our experiences where we think it may benefit others, so keep your eye out for our up-and-coming blog and case studies. These aim to cover findings of our ventilation assessments and the trends and patterns that we observed in our Retrofit Coordinator Pilot.

Outsource to us today 

In addition to the individual learning points above, it cemented our initial thinking that the approach we want to take moving forward will be to work with clients who want to outsource the Assessment, Coordination and Evaluation functions to us. This approach has also been recommended by the Retrofit Academy and described as MACE (Managed Assessment Coordination and Evaluation Model) in their recently published guide to Local Authorities and Social Housing Providers.

If this approach suits your delivery model and you would like to talk to us about how we could assist you, then hop over to our website www.retrofitsolutions.ltd to find out more and register your interest.