In July 2022, The Retrofit Academy (TRA) launched the National Retrofit Clients Group (NRCG). This group consists of social landlords and Local Authorities who are ambitious and impatient to push ahead with the retrofit agenda, and includes well-known national names (eg Clarion, Bromford, LiveWest, Pobl and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive) as well as smaller Housing Associations and Local Authorities (eg Broadacres, Renfrewshire Council and Loreburn HA).
We will work with them to understand what the principal barriers are to moving to retrofit at scale, and enable a collaborative structure that means these barriers can be lifted and unlocked. This includes;
Understanding the capacity and capability requirement, both organisationally and in the supply chain, for their retrofit investment programmes;
Capturing best practice and shared learning so that the planning cycle can be speeded up and draw in lessons and innovation from elsewhere;
Capturing investment information so that we can take credible demand-led signals to the supply chain, creating a business case for them to invest in the skills, training, performance, quality, innovation and capacity we need.
Working with the NRGC
The NRCG will work with the TRA National Retrofit Employers Group, representing the supply chain, so that those partners can see credible client demand for the outcomes from skills and training provision – because unless clients value those outcomes, the supply chain won’t commission the skills and training infrastructure needed for the capability that underpins safe, good quality retrofit. The supply chain will also gain visibility of investment pipeline, providing the business case to recruit and build the capacity we need. And will work with existing TRA programmes, such as Fit for Retrofit, to build organisational capacity for retrofit.
The scale of the challenge
NRCG members manage in total nearly 1m homes; this level of scale is very significant in terms of a transformational voice and activity. This is vital given the size of the decarbonisation challenge; by 2030 we need a programme in place that is bringing some 20,000 homes a week up to a net zero standard, requiring some additional 200,000 retrofit professionals, as well as 230,000 additional retrofit trades, so a group with weight and momentum is needed to address both the challenge and the urgency.
The steps ahead
Between now and July 2023 we will explore retrofit outcomes and how we value these, financial capacity, data, people, the supply chain ecosystem, construction clienting culture, people and engagement, and scaling up. But most of all we want to concentrate on creating the practice and partnerships that builds the retrofit army, transforms homes and brings to life the multiple, fantastic opportunities inherent in safe, good quality retrofit.
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