Parity Projects has been leading on the development of Retrofit Works, for the past three years.
RetrofitWorks is a multi-stakeholder cooperative, owned by its members. It includes three tiers of memberships – governance members on the board who set the standards and ensure quality, lead generators who refer customers to the cooperative and retrofit service providers such as builders, installers, energy advisers, architects and other building professionals who deliver the energy saving retrofit work for local residents. Work includes but is not limited to insulation, boilers, double glazed windows and renewable technologies.
The cooperative will offer its members a web portal tool which will facilitate comprehensive project management for each retrofit job from pricing to work on site to completion, including access to discounted training and marketing tools. For customers it will offer a recognisable brand, provides an appropriate level of support to members, reduces costs through economies of scale and maintains a high quality workmanship and service.
Parity first developed the idea of this delivery model, which was previously known as ‘the conduit’, in response to the Governments Green Deal policy plans. This conduit model, was an alternative model to allow small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate together in order to compete with larger Green Deal Providers who were knew players entering the growing market. By SMEs collaborating together, they can create the economies of scale in order to complete and can use the model to build their own SME delivery teams in order to still offer the ‘one stop shop’ to customers. Parity developed this model, working with the UKs leading Trade Associations who represent over 100,000 SMEs in the UK collectively, and who wanted to explore the conduit model in more detail in order to ensure their members were well represented.
At the end of 2012, Haringey Council were carrying out their own initiative called Haringey 40:20, and Carbon Commission, aiming to save 40% Carbon by 2020 while also increasing prosperity and reducing inequality in the borough. Through this initiative, they identified that a network of SMEs to deliver retrofit work in the borough, both within and outside of the Green Deal to cater for the ‘able to pay’ market, would be the best approach to reach their strategic objectives.
Haringey Council then received a grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and therefore commissioned Parity Projects, as expert in low energy home refurbishment and having already created the delivery concept i.e. the conduit, to develop a pilot Retrofit Works Cooperative in Haringey and a business case for the Cooperative including options for the role that the Council (or in the future, other Local authorities) could play within it. This included a series of workshops with local SMEs, community groups and the Council to influence how RetrofitWorks would operate.
Retrofit Works is now an established organisation, and is due to start trading from April this year, following a further grant from Haringey council to cover the start-up funding required to make the organisation fully operational.
For more information on Retrofit Works, including how to join the mailing list, or sign up as a member, please visit the website.