Overhaul home improvement

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell discusses a report released this morning (July 21) which calls for a significant overhaul of the home improvement market. Otherwise, climate change targets won’t be met.

Climate change targets won’t be delivered unless the home improvements market is overhauled, according to a new report ‘Building on our Strengths’ published jointly by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (Creds).

The report calls on the government to work with builders, their supply chains and other groups to transform the £29 billion per year home improvements market so that energy retrofit – the means to cut a building’s energy consumption – is integrated into every appropriate project.

It calls for five key recommendations:

  • Update the Building Regulations to mandate more energy efficient properties.
  • Cut VAT on all home improvement works to 5% to reduce the cost of building works.
  • Introduce a licence to trade for building firms to increase consumer confidence and promote high-quality construction.
  • Incorporate a foundation course on buildings and energy into all construction training.
  • Introduce ‘building renovation passports’ to provide more information to householders about making their homes more energy efficient.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “It is not possible to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 without greening our homes.

“This report places builders’ voices at the heart of solutions to the green homes challenge. Backing builders will help create thousands of jobs in every community, helping us to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the year that the UK hosts the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the government must commit to long-term policy that unlocks energy retrofit at scale and transforms a broken market. That includes bringing forward the rest of the £9.2 billion committed in the manifesto at the forthcoming Spending Review to pump prime the market.”

Nick Eyre, director of Creds, said: “Retrofitting UK homes needs to be done well to gain householder acceptance and confidence, and that means we need a competent workforce with training and supply chains designed to deliver quality at scale.

“We need a much more coordinated approach to policy across multiple domains: energy and climate; industrial strategy; education and training.”