SHDF success stories | Trent & Dove - forming a consortium
[24 October 2022] Tony Price, project lead at Trent and Dove, shares the housing association's experience and key learnings from forming a consortium with three other housing associations as part of the £5.8m SHDF Demonstrator project sponsored by Wychavon District Council.
Trent & Dove Housing Association partnered up with three other housing associations, Citizen Housing Group, Rooftop Housing Group, and Trident Group – UK, to retrofit around 185 homes in the West Midlands. The consortium was brought together by Savills in 2020 and sponsored by Wychavon District Council. The housing associations have benefitted a lot from working together.
We spoke to Tony Price at Trent & Dove Housing Ltd, who led on the project for the Association, about how being in the consortium had helped them carry out their retrofit plans.
“It was a good opportunity to work with other partners and we learned a lot from them about just implementing the whole thing.”
Trent & Dove took on retrofitting around 30 of the 185 homes in the project, and Tony said they really benefitted from the economies of scale, with the costs of consultants and legal advice being split four ways. Working with the other housing associations also allowed them to share expertise and problem-solve together.
“The regular project meetings are really good for bouncing ideas round and particularly when we were at the procurement and the mobilization stages where somebody say, oh, we've come across this issue, what are you doing.” “It’s a bit like a small learning community,” Tony added.
“I thought the BEIS learning community was brilliant!”
There are also some clear value-for-money implications. Tony said “As the consortium used different contractors there was learning from the different work streams which could be shared between members. Having one lead consultant overseeing the project also helped with comparing costs and approaches, all adding value to the project.”
Working in a consortium did come with its challenges though, “as you would expect with four housing associations, Savills and a local authority, there’s a whole blizzard of data sharing agreements, contracts etc.”, but they managed to streamline the process, all using the same legal advisor for consistency, and developing simple guides on data reporting for all of the organisations to use.
Tony’s advised people thinking about forming a consortium, “like most things in life, pick the right partners. Pick people you get on with and you can work with, and you can have an adult conversation with.”
"Pick the right partners"
Trent & Dove are now planning to build on their experience with a Wave 2 project, working with new consortium partners and increasing their ambition. “If we all put 50-100 units in then you can get your economies of scale, you can get your big impacts for the money you’re spending.”
Tony was confident that they could bring their expertise to landlords that are new to retrofit. “The advantage we've got now is we've been through once. So we could bring all that learning expertise to the table and for whatever consortium we end up in,” he added, “we’ll be the annoying voice around the table saying, yeah, we've done that!”.
Visit the SHRA website for further retrofit success stories and case studies from recipients of funding in the SHDF Demonstrator and Wave 1.