Sadiq Khan has launched a new initiative to help social landlords partner with building contractors to speed up retrofitting and drive down costs as part of a “retrofit revolution”.
The Innovation Partnership scheme will give housing associations access to a “high-quality supply chain of solution providers for deep and whole-house retrofits”, a spokesperson for the London mayor’s office told Inside Housing.
The scheme is open to social housing providers across the UK and could see around £10bn worth of retrofit works carried out, according to the mayor’s office. Around £5bn of this would be spent in the capital.
Documents on the mayor’s website, published last month, said that procurement of contractors was nearly complete, with preferred bidders having been identified following a “rigorous process”.
The spokesperson added: “We are in the process of moving from the procurement phase into delivery of the first tranche of retrofits.”
An announcement this week said it would “dramatically increase the pace of projects that upgrade cold, damp housing stock to homes fit for the future”.
Housing associations themselves have been making efforts to collaborate on addressing the challenges around retrofitting.
In April, five large landlords – including Hyde and Sanctuary – agreed a partnership to improve the energy efficiency of homes and develop decarbonisation solutions.
Mr Khan also revealed plans to create a separate £3.5m national retrofit support programme to help housing associations and councils access funding for “major retrofit projects”.
Funding is being provided by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The initiative is partly aimed at helping housing associations boost their chances of being successful for the next round of the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
The free support will range from open-access information, guidance, tools and workshops, to one-to-one support for organisations, the spokesperson said.
More details of the programme and eligibility criteria for the support will be available “from the summer”.
The initiatives are part of Mr Khan’s Retrofit Accelerator programme, which aims to “support London boroughs and housing associations to kick-start transformative whole-house refurbishments and help build the retrofit supply chain”.
The scheme also aims to build up the supply chain for retrofitting private homes.
Housing associations are currently grappling with the financial implications of retrofitting homes, with the government having set a target for all social homes to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of C or better by 2030.
Mr Khan is also hoping to boost the take-up of solar energy solutions, including panels on rooftops.
A new initiative – Solar Skills London – includes a placement programme to get trainees into solar businesses and
targeted grant schemes to deliver training to staff at a 100 solar installation companies across the capital.
The mayor said: “This transformative approach to retrofit will directly help those living in ageing, energy-inefficient homes and could play a vital role cutting energy bills and tackling fuel poverty.”