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How to overcome the retrofit challenges – Cumber

by: Matthew Cumber, managing director of Countrywide Surveying Services
  • 08/09/2023
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How to overcome the retrofit challenges – Cumber
The fundamentals of the valuation process have proved to be a vital mechanism within the homebuying journey from both a purchase and lending perspective for generations, but that’s not to say we haven’t seen plenty of change and innovation along the way.

This is largely down to the ever-changing demands of homebuyers and lending partners, in addition to a multitude of influencing factors ranging from various economic issues though to a host of serious environmental concerns and obligations. More recently, we’ve also witnessed a growing overlap from a financial and sustainability perspective. 

The term retrofitting forms an interesting link within this conversation, especially with energy efficiency rising further to the forefront of homeowner and landlord agendas.

The potential impact of retrofitting has also been noted at the highest government levels in its bid to help the UK reduce carbon emissions throughout the existing housing stock in the quest to reach net zero.  


Financial assistance 

Earlier in the year, the government announced the allocation of nearly £2bn in funding to help more than 115,000 homes across England – including vulnerable households and off-gas grid homes with an EPC rating of D or below – to upgrade their energy ratings and save money on their bills.  

The scheme will also support around 20,000 jobs in the construction and home retrofit sectors, helping to deliver on the government’s promise to grow the economy and create better paid jobs, whilst supporting families across the country. 

Staying on the employment theme, the government has more recently announced that thousands of people will be trained to retrofit and insulate homes following a cash injection of almost £9m in energy-efficiency courses. Up to 8,000 trainees are expected to take advantage of the new courses, which will be rolled out for free or on a heavily subsidised basis across England. 


Working together 

These represent some highly positive moves and it’s clear that individual businesses across all property sectors also have to do their bit to help bridge environmental and financial gaps for both new and existing homeowners.  

Here at Countrywide Surveying Services, one of our main goals is to provide guidance and information to UK homeowners around the impact of the significant climate change challenge with the aim of helping to reduce emissions. Working closely with our lending partners to deliver innovative retrofit solutions with sustained outcomes also remains a key priority for the business moving forward.  

As such, we have recently appointed a director of retrofit across the business to help facilitate this exploration and delivery, a position which will prove key to the future of the business and the sector.  

There will always be a significant difference between new builds which incorporate modern methods of construction and older housing stock due to the management of air flow and moisture – mainly due to changes in everyday living standards – for example showers, washers, dryers, heating systems etc. However, there are still some relatively simple and cost-effective changes that households can make. 

And, as an industry, we have to continue exploring new and different ways to help more people and more properties to overcome a variety of retrofit challenges. 

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