Tag Archives: Housing

Technical Risk Assessment for Low Energy Retrofits

Fuel poverty is one of the most important issues facing British households, today. In 2012, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at around 2.28 million, representing approximately 10.5% of all English households (DECC Fuel Poverty Report 2014).With rising fuel costs, it is critical that homes are refurbished to make them more energy efficient to relieve some of the stress on family budgets. The Greater London Authority has committed to supporting low-energy refurbishments on homes owned by local authorities and housing associated in the London boroughs.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) established the RE:NEW Support Team, funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and operated by Capita  to help local authorities and housing associations in London assist their residents by retrofitting homes. As part of this work, Six Cylinder Ltd led a specialist team, including Rickaby Thompson Associates and ArchiMetrics Ltd, to create a risk assessment process to evaluate the technical risks of different retrofit measures used for low-energy domestic retrofits. The process is uniquely aimed at evaluating and addressing the risks when various retrofit measures are combined and explaining the technical risks of retrofit in plain English.

The assessment toolkit includes a triage risk matrix to plot retrofit measures against each other with respect to the degree of their technical risk. Each retrofit measure has its own inherent risk rating and a rating when combined with any other measure. A risk score from 0, indicates measures have little or no impact on one another, whereas 3, indicates measures have inherent vulnerability and require careful design and execution. The matrix also shows which measures should be considered together, and which should never be used in combination.  At the design level, the matrix enables teams to assess which measures work well together and which combinations will have inherently higher risks and may require specialist support to ensure that this risk is mitigated.

For example, a housing association may be planning to upgrade an estate to make it more energy efficient and reduce the tenants risk of living in fuel poverty. The designer or assessor has advised a set of measures including external wall insulation, loft insulation and draught proofing and the installation of solar thermal. Each of these initiatives has inherent risks in isolation. However, in combination, the risks can be amplified. The insulation improvements will mean there is a higher risk of under-ventilation, which could lead to condensation problems and air quality issues. As such, it is vital to ensure that the retrofit account for ventilation which provides adequate air changes to the entire home to manage moisture and air quality. The matrix and risk assessment process allows the client team to progress the project, whilst transparently managing the technical risks with strategic expert advice, from the earliest possible stage of a retrofit. The assessment toolkit also includes Retrofit Watch Points, a list of high-level considerations for the Assessment, Design and Installation and Handover Stages of the project, as well as plain-English tips for key things that need to be considered with each retrofit measure.

For further information on the RE:NEW Support Programme please see GLA’s website  www.london.gov.uk/renew or contact Matt James at [email protected]

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EVENT – Honing Handover

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As part of the the publication of the 2014 Plan of Work, the RIBA has commissioned a series of supporting books on both the various stages as well as the cross-cutting themes that span the various the stages.

Lisa Ann Pasquale (of Six Cylinder Limited) has been commissioned to author the Stage 6 Guide for Handover and Close out. Lisa is a GHA member, and building performance evaluator with experience evaluating domestic, non-domestic and retrofit projects. The aim of the guide is to help drive best practice more deeply through the industry and aid the professions and the industry in delivering fundamentally better buildings and services to their clients.

Handover is a commonly neglected phase of delivery which is often rushed, disorganised, and supported with poorly defined roles on all sides of a project. We’d like to ask the Good Homes Alliance community with help in contributing their expertise and experience to the book to help close the performance gap at Handover. Lisa would like to invite you to participate in a facilitated discussion on Wednesday, 25th February about:

  • best-practice in Handover
  • how the industry can adapt to do a better job at serving clients in this stage of the project
  • what tasks should be who’s responsibility at each stage of the project with respect to handover
  • how should product suppliers fit into the handover process
  • commissioning issues and their management
  • good, bad and ugly experiences with building handovers, from the GHA community’s perspective

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The notes from the discussion will be made available for the GHA community and will contribute to the book’s content. There will be an opportunity to contribute credited 200-300 word case study examples to the book from your own experience.

Wednesday, 25th February 6pm at the 06 St. Chad’s Place – 6 St. Chad’s Place, London, WC1 9HH

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