Case studies

The retrofit challenge

Integrated Services helps Cumbria Cohesion deliver £7 million retrofit scheme

08 May 2012

Existing properties have become a key focus for carbon reduction targets because 80 per cent of the homes we will inhabit in 2050 are already standing today*. With around 5.2 million social housing dwellings in the UK, sustainable retrofits are set to become a big challenge for housing associations and local authorities as they seek to make their housing stock more energy efficient.

One local housing partnership is working with its supply partner, Integrated Services (a Wolseley UK company) to tackle this challenge head on by embarking on the single largest insulation retrofit scheme of hard to treat and solid walled properties in Cumbria.

The Cumbria Cohesion Partnership (which includes Cumbria Housing Partners, Cumbria County Council, Westfield Housing, Home Group and Impact Housing) is investing over £7 million of funding over the next three years to improve efficiency and reduce fuel bills for over 850 homes. The programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and includes fitting external and internal wall insulation to low income households.

With such a large project, efficient and local product supply was critical. Using the Procure Plus merchant framework, Integrated Services was selected to supply all of the materials for the scheme, rather than products being delivered from multiple sources. This involved opening a dedicated store in Workington, Cumbria, where Integrated Services employs a local workforce to ensure that products are supplied to contractors where and when they want them, saving time and money.

Grant Richardson, trading director Integrated Services & new channel development director, Wolseley UK, explains: "One of the particular challenges facing Cumbria Cohesion was rolling out a retrofit programme on a large scale. Integrated Services was able to open a dedicated store in Cumbria allowing for products to be delivered to forty to fifty properties a week, removing the need for onsite storage. Products are delivered daily, with the facility for additional deliveries for emergency goods."

In addition to operating as the supply partner for the Cumbria Cohesion Retrofit Programme, Integrated Services was able to use its specialist product knowledge to work with preferred suppliers to develop the right external and internal wall solutions. This ensured Cumbria Cohesion had access to a complete product solution that was ideal both for the contractors and residents.

Harry Drennan, procurement manager for Home Group, believes that the Cumbria Cohesion approach could be a best practice template for other housing associations and local authorities embarking on retrofit programmes. He comments: "It's an excellent demonstration of the multiple community benefits that landlords can deliver with careful planning and liaison with contractors.

"We obviously want to reduce the heating costs for our residents but we also want to capture opportunities for local employment, skills and training. So we're pleased to see Integrated Services setting up a local warehouse and employing apprentices from our communities."

Matt Jarratt, operations manager at Procure Plus, adds: "Cumbria Cohesion is an excellent example of successful collaboration. By combining the resources of several housing organisations in Cumbria with Integrated Services through the Procure Plus framework, the community is set to benefit greatly from the sustainability and regeneration improvements."