The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is one of the founder supporters backing the National Retrofit Hub (NRH).
The National Retrofit Hub is a newly created not-for-profit organisation backed by over 40 organisations, including Innovate UK, TrustMark, Sustainable Development Foundation, UK Green Building Council and the Federation of Master Builders.
This industry-wide initiative aims to stimulate action to upgrade UK housing stock and promote best practice among builders repairing and upgrading older homes.
It derives from the Construction Leadership Council's second iteration of the National Retrofit Strategy (2021), a twenty-year blueprint for how the construction industry can work with government to retrofit the UK’s 28 million existing homes.
As well as helping to fund core running costs, the BMF will play an active role in NRH working groups, collaborating with other retrofit stakeholders to identify overlaps and gaps in activity, as well as facilitating access to, and dissemination of, knowledge to enable best practice.
John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “Soaring energy bills have focused attention on insulating the nation’s existing homes, which in terms of energy efficiency are amongst the worst in Europe.
“The BMF has consistently advocated a “fabric-first, services second” approach to upgrade them and our supply chain is already providing the materials, products and solutions required to do so.
“Now with over 40 construction industry organisations coming together to support the NRH there is real impetus to drive forward the proposals defined in the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy for a 20-year programme of work to upgrade 29 million UK homes making them warmer, greener, and cheaper to run.”
Lynne Sullivan, Chair of the National Retrofit Hub, said: “The UK has the oldest and leakiest housing stock in Europe. The current energy crisis has shown that most of our existing homes are very expensive to heat because they are poorly insulated. There is now an urgent need to reduce energy consumption and the most effective way to do this is to make our existing homes more energy efficient by ensuring they are retrofitted, to a standard suitable for low carbon heating systems.
“The creation of the National Retrofit Hub is a means to bring clarity to those who work in the retrofit sector by signposting and sharing best practice to speed up the roll out of greener homes. Creating the Hub will cement links with the finance community and the skills providers to enable locally based delivery programmes to be scaled up and deliver significant economic and social benefits.”
Innovate UK’s Senior Innovation Lead, Mat Colmer said: “The National Retrofit Hub is very much aligned to the aims of Innovate UK’s Net Zero Heat programme: to stimulate market demand, unlock finance and deliver whole systems retrofit. It is really important to work with the structures that are establishing in our nations and regions to amplify, not replicate, the work that’s already being done.”
Richard Robinson, CEO Atkins UK and Deputy Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), said: “This is an important moment in the UK’s journey to Net Zero. NRH is an industry response to a very real need. Delivery of retrofit at scale is a fiendishly complex task, and we need to close the knowledge gap and provide sector support to get this off the ground.
“Now is the time for the industry to step up and define the technical solutions, give Government the collateral it needs, help consumers understand their options and identify a combined public and private sector roadmap to fund and regulate our way to healthier, warmer, greener homes. I look forward to the NRH making this a reality.”
Russell Smith, Managing Director of Parity Projects and the National Retrofit Hub’s Interim Director, said: “The key parts of the National Retrofit Hub are the interlocking components from the ‘National Retrofit Strategy’, critical elements that we need in order to make retrofit happen at scale, accurately and quickly.
“Any policy, initiative or new scheme over the past few years has probably tried to do one or two of the components, but not all of them. We want the NRH’s Working Groups to map existing activities and identify gaps, so that we can use resources wisely and make sure we’re moving forwards quickly and accurately.”
Peter Caplehorn, Chief Executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA), said: “The CPA is delighted to be a founding supporter of the National Retrofit Hub. A substantial amount has been written, published, debated and repeated about retrofit, with too little actual progress of robust quality on the ground.
“While increased fuel poverty and poor living conditions continue and the UK’s housing stock is still one of the least efficient in Europe it is hoped the Hub can bring a new focus and drive to reversing this situation.”