18 Jan 2023
Architects | Retrofit specialists
What is Retrofit?
We are sure you are aware that retrofitting is the much-needed process of improving the energy efficiency of a building. This is not solely for our dwellings but needs to be applied to public buildings, offices, factories, schools if we have any hope of reaching net zero carbon reduction targets.
Achieving net zero carbon has been widely promoted in the press, often referring to the use of air source heat pumps and solar panels but we would argue, and the latest government guidance supports our views that a fabric first approach is required before such technologies are introduced to a building. Fabric First refers to the insulating of a building fabric which includes the walls, floors, roofs, windows. Of course, such technologies will always have a role to play but air source heat pumps work most energy efficiently when integrated into in a well-insulated building. We will cover the reasons behind this in a later blog.
What is LEAF and what do we do?
First and foremost, we are Architects that have been retrofitting buildings for decades. We have a long history of working purely as qualified Architects and as such we saw an urgent need for Architects to become more involved in retrofit because, to make retrofit successful you need to know a lot about buildings.
We have a huge stock of existing properties in this country, both dwellings, commercial premises and public buildings that consume vast quantities of energy. This energy consumption needs to be tackled, not only for reasons of reaching net zero goals but also to tackle the ever-rising fuel poverty.
As Architects we are uniquely positioned to advise on retrofitting, we have a wealth of detailed knowledge about buildings, about the peculiarities of different building types, the ages of building and one size very definitely does not fit all in the world of retrofit. As a result, we think you need someone to look at your property and know instinctively what the most effective means of insulation are, how to identify problem areas, how to overcome problem areas, where your damp issue is likely to be coming from and why you have a draughty building. Some of these answers may be straightforward, but not always and they may need some expert input.
What is PAS2035 and what is a Retrofit Coordinator?
PAS2035 which is the new overarching government document in the retrofit standards framework for domestic buildings. PAS2035 users of the Government Trustmark quality scheme which one is required to comply with when carrying out domestic retrofit work. PAS2035 is not a British Standard but was created to deal with an immediate need to have best practice guidance available for retrofit. Poor retrofit was being carried out up and down the country with very expensive and devastating consequences for householders notably under the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme amongst others, so best practice guidance system was urgently needed to tackle this. It is a changing document and is being updated constantly.
The Retrofit Coordinator is a role highlighted in PAS:2035 and it is essentially akin to a retrofit project manager. The role as defined under PAS2035:2019 covers the following:
Overseeing the retrofit assessment of dwellings
Overseeing the identification, specification and evaluation of energy efficiency measures for installation
Overseeing their subsequent monitoring and evaluation.
There are still modifications being made to this role and its’ involvement in the retrofit process but essentially Coordinators are required to be a safe pair of hands with which to entrust the retrofit of your property portfolio. It is a requirement to use a Retrofit Coordinator if you are a public sector body receiving funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund to install energy efficiency measures.
Why would we choose LEAF over other Retrofit Coordinators?
As Architects firstly and Retrofit Coordinators we are used to overseeing, coordinating and managing building projects so similar rules apply when integrating the role of a Retrofit Coordinator. We also have the enhanced knowledge of how the building industry works, how building contracts are run and how building sites are managed. Being experienced in technical design we have the detailed knowledge to be able to carry out the role of Retrofit Designers too if required in house and to specify and detail retrofit measures. Essentially you are paying for the experience and knowledge of insured, experienced individuals borne out of years of running construction projects.
We are your safe pair of hands.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog introducing LEAF. If we can help you at all on any projects you can reach the team on the below:
t: 01273 916633