LHC issues call for net zero retrofit specialists

Image credit: Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock

A public sector procurement body has put out a call for specialist contractors for a multi-million-pound retrofit framework to decarbonise Britain’s social housing stock.

The not-for-profit LHC Procurement Group is developing its initial proposals for its Decarbonisation & Retrofit (N9) framework, and it is looking for specialist to take part in market engagement as will as provide feedback of proposals.

As well as seeking to retrofit energy efficiency measures to the UK’s social housing stock, it will also take works to public sector buildings.

LHC is hosting a pre-tender engagement (PTE) webinar on 20 September for contractor and consultancy organisations interested in shaping the new framework.

Some of the key areas that LHC aims to explore during PTE include the PAS requirements, emerging technologies, and SME inclusion to identify any changes required to ensure a more balanced and inclusive framework.

Dean Fazackerley, LHC’s head of technical procurement, said: “At this stage, we are focusing on ensuring our N9 framework meets needs across the public sector, matches marketplace capability, and works to achieve government targets and future policy requirements.

“It’s clear our selection criteria must align with relevant standards to ensure N9 is robust, meets the expectations of all stakeholders and supports LHC’s drive to becoming a Gold Standard framework provider.

“We’d encourage would-be suppliers for our N9 framework to attend the webinar, as it presents a unique opportunity to work in collaboration with our dedicated technical team to shape the framework in its early stages.”

Set for launch in mid-2024, N9 is the successor to LHC’s Energy Efficiency Measures & Associated Works (N8) framework, and builds on the provider’s 30-year heritage of delivering energy efficiency procurement solutions.

It intends to offer public sector clients more access to suppliers offering a wider range of technologies and services, while targeting EPC improvements for housing stock.

Scale of the task

The UK’s public sector is faced with the challenge of retrofitting housing and other buildings to make vital energy-efficient fabric improvements.

The exact scale of the task is unknown, but the social housing sector owns 4.4 million properties in the UK, while – according to the Climate Change Committee – there are another 1.9 million non-domestic public buildings.

LHC says N9 is currently divided into seven work-streams, each containing multiple lots. The work-streams include Building Insulation & Performance; Heating Systems; Control & Management Systems; Electrical, Servicing & Maintenance of Renewable Systems; Multi-Disciplinary Works; and Consultancy.

All bidders will be required to meet relevant industry standards, such as PAS 2035 and 2038, and there will be specific requirements for each lot.

Fazackerley added: “In the coming months we will be working with suppliers and clients to set out individual requirements for each lot, as different standards will be necessary depending on the nature of the work.

“N9 will be operating within a highly competitive market, with the potential for changes in government policy and the rapid evolution of the energy sector during its four-year term. That’s why pre-tender engagement is so important for us in helping to identify opportunities to futureproof the framework as much as possible for the years to come.”

The framework will be available nationwide through LHC’s five business units: London and South East (LSE); Consortium Procurement Construction (CPC); South West Procurement Alliance (SWPA); Welsh Procurement Alliance (WPA); and Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA).

Biggest challenge

LHC has been developing frameworks specifically dedicated to energy efficiency and net zero construction via retrofit and new build for 30 years, when discussions around the topic were still in their infancy.

Clive Feeney, LHC group director, said: “In the early days of our energy efficiency frameworks, there were other issues that were more pressing for public sector organisations. These included economic recession, regulatory changes, and technology adoption. While those all remain relevant today, the journey to net zero is now the biggest challenge facing our industry.

“LHC frameworks are underpinned by 57 years’ experience, and we are here to support local authorities, housing associations, schools and a range of other public sector organisations in delivering a range of energy efficiency and decarbonisation works. We are passionate about improving lives and places through quality procurement solutions, as well as awarding grants for community projects and schemes through our Community Benefit Fund.”

The organisation says prospective suppliers can register early interest on LHC’s eTendering portal.

Image credit: Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock


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