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Delivery / post-retrofit

4. Installation


Once you have completed your detailed design and procurement process, you should have a suitably qualified contractor on board for the project and be ready to start working on site.


    Why it matters

    Getting the installation right is key to ensuring your project delivers what you expect and avoiding any harm to residents or buildings. A robust detailed design phase means that you will have thought about all foreseeable details and that these are included in your contractor’s price (reducing the risk of budget overruns). The quality of the installation will be key in reducing the performance gap and ensuring that the building performs as expected.

    Key steps to take

    1. Check PAS 2030 requirements: if the project is being funded through SDHF, ECO or other government funding mechanisms then it will need to comply with PAS 2030 for the installation. The contractor must be Trustmark registered and capable of achieving compliance. A retrofit coordinator should also be on board to ensure compliance with PAS 2035 and should be overseeing the installation phase.

    2. Confirm your project timeframes: The contractor should have proposed an installation method statement and timeframe for the installation within their tender. Make sure that everyone is aware of this, including residents whose homes are being retrofitted.

    3. Check Health and Safety compliance: You will need to check your role under the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015, and ensure the contractor is capable of fulfilling their role as principal contractor.

    4. Ensure there is a suitable building contract in place: The building contract used will depend upon the procurement route and the complexity of the project. Your contract will need to set out roles and responsibilities, scope of works, cost, timeframe, disputes procedure and unforeseeable circumstances.

    5. Ensure there is suitable access to the homes to be retrofitted: Access requirements will depend upon which retrofit measures are being carried out. This should be agreed with the contractor and in collaboration with residents. With deep retrofit, residents are likely to need to be relocated for the duration of the works.

    6. Set up weekly meetings/site visits: Weekly meetings are beneficial to discuss project progress, check quality and highlight any issues that arise. These meetings should also include the project manager and/or retrofit coordinator.

    Success factors

    Resident engagement: Hopefully by now your residents will already be engaged and will have come along with you on the retrofit journey. For the installation stage, resident engagement is paramount for ensuring access is granted at appropriate times and managing expectations as to the level of disruption that will take place. Residents should know the purpose of the works, when access should be granted and exactly when to expect disruption.

    Set up toolbox talks with the retrofit team: Toolbox talks (short meetings on site) are invaluable for ensuring that all team members have the correct information and that everybody knows what to expect throughout the work. If you have a retrofit coordinator on board then they will be responsible for arranging the pre-start toolbox talk. You may want to speak with the installers about how they should behave around residents, what their hours of work should be, who the key contact is. All of these elements should also be included in a building contract, but it’s good practice to talk through the expectations with the installer and their wider team.

    Keep communicating and collaborating: Setting up a good line of communication between your organisation, the retrofit coordinator and the installer will make the installation phase much less stressful. Let’s face it: things may go wrong during the installation phase but its important not to set up a culture of blame. Try and collaborate with the contractor and encourage an open dialogue about any issues that do arise.

    Get your contract right: If things do go wrong, a good building contract will offer you the protection you need. You will need somebody who is well versed in contract management within your organisation or appoint an external consultant if you don’t have the skills internally.

    Have a contingency sum in place: Working with existing buildings is always higher risk than new build, and there will likely be unexpected circumstances that arise during the installation. Having a contingency sum in place to cover these is essential; talk to your quantity surveyor to ensure there is a sufficient sum within the project budget.

    Deep dive

    PAS 2035

    Below is a brief outline of the requirements of PAS 2035 for the installation phase:

    • The installation must comply with PAS 2030 and the installer should be Trustmark registered.

    • The retrofit coordinator is recommended to visit the site once a week.

    • Appropriate testing should be carried out to ensure that building elements are in accordance with the design - this can be before, during and after installation. An example of this might be thermal imaging to check whether new external wall insulation has any thermal bridges.

    • All energy efficiency measures should be commissioned together at the same time at the end of the installation to ensure that they work well together. Elements may also be pre-commissioned by installers.

    • Where low and zero carbon technologies have been used, such as heat pumps, these should be commissioned in accordance with Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) standards.

    PAS 2030

    Below is a brief outline of the requirements of PAS 2030:

    • The installer should provide an installation method statement which should be location-specific to the project.

    • Equipment and tools should be suitably maintained and calibrated.

    • There should be adequate provision and instructions for handling and storing equipment.

    • Adequate instructions, training, work assignment and supervision should be provided by the installer to all site operatives.

    • A preinstallation building inspection should take place to include a “suitability and completeness of the installation” method statement and suitability of the retrofit design.

    • Suitable installation documentation should be kept, including photographs during different stages of the installation.

    • An appropriate quality control system should be in place to ensure the installation is in accordance with the design and manufacturers warranties.

    • Any variations to the installation should be submitted to and approved by the retrofit coordinator.

    • Processes should be in place to deal with unforeseen circumstances and control of the works.

    • Appropriate testing and commissioning should take place for all energy efficiency measures and building services.

    • The installer should have procedures in place for complaints and interaction with residents.

    • The correct handover procedure should be followed, including visual inspection, documentation and appropriate training for the safe use and maintenance of all energy efficiency measures and services.

    • The installer should demonstrate financial stability and have the correct contract documents in place for the project.

    Administration of building contracts

    There are several building contracts that can be used depending upon the procurement route and size/complexity of the project. Some contracts can be administered by the client and others need an independent contract administrator in place. You should seek advice from a suitably qualified person to know which contract is best for the project – an architect or project manager will usually be able to help with this.

    The contract should include the following information:

    • Contract parties – with key contacts

    • Site address

    • Cost of the works

    • Control of the works and possession of the site

    • Procedure for carrying out the works

    • The design documentation, including any contractor’s design portion (design work that will be carried out by the contractor / installer)

    • The programme for the works

    • Payment schedule and protocol for payments

    • Provision for variations to the works

    • Provision for extensions of time, setting out reasons for when this is allowed

    • Dispute procedure

    • Defects procedure and liability period

    • Handover procedure

    • Injury and damage procedure and insurance for the works

    • Warranties/guarantees

    • Termination

    Further resources

    How can I find a certified installer?

    Trustmark holds a database of all certified retrofit coordinators, assessors and installers:

    Visit Website

    Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS): MSC is a quality mark for low and zero carbon technologies, such as solar PV and heat pumps, and holds a database of certified installers:

    Visit Website

    What type of building contracts are there?

    JCT Building Contracts: JCT offers a suite of widely-used building contracts for different procurement routes and project complexities:

    Visit Website

    Get in touch

    If you would like to discuss monitoring and evaluation strategies for your retrofit project, please contact the SHRA Support team.

    We would love to hear about your experiences. What has worked for your housing association? What lessons have you learned? What documents, reports or tools have you found most helpful? Please contact us if you would like to share your experiences.

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