Publication - Minutes

Zero Emission Social Housing technical subgroup minutes: 9 June 2021

Published: 16 Jul 2021
Date of meeting: 9 Jun 2021

Minutes of the Zero Emission Social Housing technical subgroup on 9 June 2021.

Published:
16 Jul 2021
Zero Emission Social Housing technical subgroup minutes: 9 June 2021

Attendees and apologies

  • Aubrey Fawcett – Chief Executive, Inverclyde Council and SOLACE (Chair)
  • Duncan Smith – Renfrewshire Council
  • Bryan Leask – Hjaltland HA and Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum
  • Paul Leask – Hjaltland HA and Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum

SG Secretariat

  • Simon Roberts (For part of the meeting)
  • Tony Cruickshank

SG Officials

  • Matthew Wilson – Housing, Homelessness & Regeneration Analysis Team
  • Craig Frew – Low Carbon Support Unit

Items and actions

Welcome and Aim of Meeting

The chair welcomed attendees and set out what the aim of the meeting was and the application of PAS2035.

General Discussion

Highlighted the impact on local contractors because of PAS2035 over a number of years and highlighting the requirement for money upfront because of the higher specification and resulting cost being passed onto customers. PAS2035 is used as a mitigation tool for insulation failures. The risk assessment at design stage is used to ensure that things are not made worse not making things worse.

Highlighted the administration cost per unit has risen from £300 to £500 per unit, PAS will need more money at the admin stage, recognition of the need for more money for a higher standard and recognition that some contractors accept this. PAS mitigates some of the risk with retrofit. The issue of lower costs will result in higher costs later on.

Concern on the agreement that the non-urban areas will demand for PAS2035 or any other standard registered means imposing coordination numbers of smaller contractors doing new build, any recommendations will have an impact and how easy for smaller contractors to gain PAS2035 status and what they need to do to and could government and LA pay for local person to achieve the accreditation was raised.

Opportunity to access funding, is restrictive based on properties below band B and PAS2035 will reduce availability of funding and the huge timescales and the issue of tradespeople refusing to travel to rural and Island areas due to level of work availability iin the central belt. Highlighted that PAS2035 is not a tick box for SG funding, but rather for achieving and giving landlords a high-end product at the end by having an energy efficient house.

Eco funding £1800 on average, which is dependent on the measures, to access SG funding there is a need to understand the challenges, highlighted that using money through tenants rents and there is the need for this to be value for money. Difference of administration cost likely to be nearer £1000. PAS2035 increase the subsidy for additional expenditure to achieve PAS2035.

The issue of accredited staff was highlighted for specific work and the need of 25% staff to be accredited. Highlighted that potentially it could cost  upto £12k - £15k per staff member, which is made of course costs and lost staff time. Highlighted that this would significantly smaller contractors. The average time for each course is somewhere in the region of 40 hours, with 8 courses available.

Highlighted the lack of uptake in the Islands for specific training and the involvement of Scottish Water in relation to Smart Meters installation. Highlighted the need for flexibility and the need for compromise to ensure the correct people undertake the work. Highlighting the issue of funding streams and the impact on accreditation in England. The need to to have some form of  standardisation for quality levels.

Highlighting the lack of training availability initially, but SQA have now created courses and the need to get contractors on board, but this will impact delivering to timescales. Highlighting that not having an accredited workforce to undertake the work, this will have a direct impact on fuel poverty and also highlighting that the highest levels of fuel poverty are in the highlands and islands.

Highlighting the need for concessions for the rural and island areas as there is recognition that they pay more for HEEPS Abs. PAS2035 complications recognised, and there is difficulties in certain areas such as contractors choosing specific jobs and also recognising the impact of obtaining materials. There are challenges throughout of using local contractors and the retrofit coordinator signing off work, before others get their accreditation.

Suggestion of Federation of Master Builders involvement for quality of work, but not clear of understanding local areas was highlighted. Potential for accredited individual signing of work because of the accreditation, the need to pause which will allow the potential of level of work availability for energy measures to be delivered.

Having the ability in rural areas having the ability for the retrofit coordinator to have sufficient ability to sign-off work in a rural & island context. Highlighting that this would be temporary measure/solution and the likelihood of very little push back in this approach. It was highlighted that PAS2035 was created that Scottish contractors would be able to access jobs in England.

Highlighted the funding levels required to train to RSL/Local Authority to undertake the role. Highlighting an online training course costing £1,000 per person, but could be less if group bookings. Highlighting that PAS2035 is linked to Eco funding and the Trust Mark Scheme. 3 essential roles, designer, coordinator and installer and Trust Mark looks for this. Highlighted the need for subsidy and the commitment for funding, but recognition that there will be a need to access other funding streams.

Actions

Need to understand where the need for PAS2035 came from – Tony Cruickshank to find out.

Recommendations

  • The need to pause implementation of PAS2035 to allow significant level of accredited people to deliver the work
  • Potential for one individual/retrofit coordinator who is accredited to sign-off on others work
  • Provision of SG funding to allow the creation of retrofit co-ordinator by undertaking online course subject to appropriate construction experience/expertise
  • No need to follow eco route and acceptance of retrofit coordinator to sign off work to allow local contractors to undertake work