Rolling on the road to net zero

Dean Fazackerley, Head of Technical Procurement at the LHC Group responds on behalf of the not-for-profit public sector construction framework provider in response to the government’s Net Zero Review. 

The Net Zero Review published in early 2022 set out a clear objective to find a ‘pro-business, pro-growth road to carbon neutral by 2050, calling for suggestions from businesses, local government, and the public on the measures needed for decarbonisation. Led by former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore, the review is a welcome step to finally gather intelligence from our regions on the success of decarbonisation so far and an opportunity to scale this up to a national level.  

As a not-for-profit public sector construction framework provider with regional business hubs, we see many of our frameworks deliver low-carbon projects across the UK. The outcomes of these projects are bringing significant benefits for local authorities and social housing providers in procuring low energy, built environment solutions such as modern methods of construction (MMC) new builds and energy efficiency retrofit.  

Procurement provides the right environment to guarantee high-quality suppliers and the latest technologies are made available to the public sector to meet net zero targets. We have several frameworks in our portfolio doing just that particularly the Energy Efficiency and Associated Works (N8) and here we will speak about some of the recent developments aimed at supporting net zero. 


The next move: Energy Efficiency and Decarbonisation (N9) 

Designed to support the public sector in its journey to net zero, the N9 framework will deliver a range of energy efficiency and decarbonisation works and energy efficiency consultancy services. This replacement to our N8 framework is in the early stages of development and we are engaging with the market throughout August and September to discuss our ideas and gain feedback, which will help us shape the future framework. 

N9 will also help improve asset and stock ratings using a range of specialist energy efficiency measures and works, such as solar PV and heat pumps, as well as combined solutions meeting PAS 2035 requirements for whole house retrofit.  


Building for the future with MMC (NH3)  

Our brand new £1.2 billion NH3 framework has been designed to help boost the speed and quantity of homes delivered to fulfil the housing needs across communities in England, Scotland, and Wales. 

Through NH3, a dedicated and comprehensive Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) framework, we are already supporting social housing providers in addressing some of their new housing challenges around the need for sustainable methods of construction and a greater supply of housing stock that is environmentally fit for the future. 

Our track record for designing innovative frameworks for the public sector is impeccable, providing access to some of the leading manufacturers and contractors right across England, Scotland and Wales. We are also looking to build on the success of our previous framework, NH2, which has so far enabled £93.5m-worth of offsite homes projects with a total forecast value of £277m. 


The role of modernisation 

The Net Zero Review calls for solutions to help ‘lower the cost curve’ for net zero technologies. However, this cannot be a cheap, or quick fix. The built environment accounts for 39% of all global carbon emissions, while UK housing stock produces 20% of the country’s carbon emissions and uses 35% of energy. 

The government’s price cap freeze to reduce household energy bills this autumn, winter, and beyond was predicted to cost £72-140 billion, before Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the freeze would cease in 2023. The necessary support highlights the need for a realistic assessment of the cost of net zero and the long-term rewards for growth.  

Current retrofit measures are welcome in tackling the problem of energy-inefficient properties. However, Climate Change Committee estimates show that £360bn is needed to retrofit UK housing stock by 2050. Our upcoming Refurbishment and Modernisation RM3 framework, which is currently open for tender applications now, will offer social housing providers and public sector organisations the flexibility to procure a range of refurbishment works to meet their asset management and improvement requirements covering multiple workstreams.  


Refurbishment and Modernisation (RM3) framework 

RM3 replaces the Whole House Refurbishment and Associated Works (WH2) framework and includes the refurbishment of non-residential buildings. We have designed the RM3 framework with contractors across the marketplace to ensure the appointment of high-quality expertise with a strong regional base, while also supporting clients and partners in delivering social value and environmental commitments. RM3 will provide clients with access to a range of companies from SMEs to large organisations, as well as the flexibility to deliver a wide variety of refurbishment and associated retrofit works. 

What makes this framework so unique is that whereas WH2 only focused on housing, RM3 goes further and applies to non-residential settings where the same specification applies. It can also be used in conjunction with our supply frameworks, such as Kitchens and Associated Products (K7). 

Quality low-carbon delivery and retrofit are central to a thriving net zero economy and should not be viewed as a regulatory burden hampering progress. Frameworks make competencies and quality assurance part of the assessment process and can progress net zero in a safe and scalable way – which is another important factor in market confidence.  

This is encouraging! Despite a tough 2022 with the lingering effects of a global pandemic, war in Europe, and energy and cost of living crisis, the move to carbon net zero is already happening in local authorities and housing associations. And as we move deeper into 2023, we want to continue with our ambition of progressing towards net zero not just this week but every week! 

LHC’s Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) of New Homes (NH3) framework, which replaces NH2, is now live on our website. The Energy Efficiency and Associated Works (N9) is in development currently and consultation with suppliers and clients is expected to commence in early 2024. To register for the Refurbishment and Modernisation (RM3) framework, which recently opened for tender, click here. 

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