Sub-contractors get slice of green retrofit action
Builders registered to carry out green home refurbishments will be able to sub-contract in a bid to widen the number of tradespeople who can do the work.
The move follows poor take up to register with TrustMark to do energy efficiency retrofits such as insulation, solar panels and heat pumps under the government’s green home grant voucher scheme.
The Federation of Master Builders, FMB, said just three of its 250 members interested in doing the work had registered. This is because few building firms have the microgeneration certification scheme or publicly accessible standards certification, PAS 30, required.
The National Federation of Builders, NFB, housing and planning policy head Rico Wojtulewicz said allowing sub-contractors to do the work was creating another layer of bureaucracy and wouldn’t guarantee high standards.
“It’s illogical to assume having a sub-contractor with a registered firm taking on the liability will ensure quality.”
Mr Wojtulewicz said shell companies could be created to do the work and then close if there was a problem. The NFB said PAS 35 certification, which covers the whole lifetime of a building, would have been a better qualification.
Training and tax cuts needed
He added adopting a retrofit passport where homeowners can have a survey on their property to see what needs to be done would encourage take-up among consumers.
The FMB has said scrapping VAT on home improvements would motivate more people to sign up for the voucher scheme which offers homeowners a £5000 grant to fund the cost of improvements.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “With one in five builders saying clients do not have the cash to go green, the government should temporarily cut VAT on home improvements so that more capital is available for homeowners to do the extension they want while also improving the energy efficiency of their home.
“It is also essential that the government funds and makes available the necessary training courses for builders so that they can get accredited to deliver green home upgrades, and to a quality standard.”
The government launched its green home grant voucher scheme on 30th September 2020 for an initial six months and has extended it to March 2022.
It expects to allocate £2bn to the scheme, although this is looking optimistic because of the obstacles impeding widespread take-up.