Finding support to win work under the Green Deal

25th June, 2013

It is clear from the latest Department of Energy and Climate Change data that interest in the Green Deal among householders is on the rise.
But if all 19,000 Green Deal assessments turn into Green Deal plans, demand could start to outstrip supply – especially when it comes to finding a Green Deal-approved installer to carry out the work.
The FMB believes SME builders are ideally placed to carry out Green Deal work for a variety of reasons. Many householders already have an existing relationship with a local building firm, and many enquiries for Green Deal installations are likely to come from clients already planning work or who already have projects under way.
These householders typically want to employ a builder they already know and trust, as opposed to having an installer sent out from a panel of contractors by a nationwide provider.
“Smaller firms are forced to link up with the Green Deal finance providers or find a way of offering the finance to customers themselves”
People are sometimes loath to contract work out to large national firms, or to deal with the extra hassle of getting in an additional contractor when they already have the builders in.
However, there are still significant barriers facing SMEs when it comes to accessing Green Deal work.
Firstly, there still is a lag in terms of knowledge about the Green Deal, while the form-filling, assessment and certification process can be off-putting to smaller firms who do not have offsite admin teams to manage this work while they get on with the actual building.
Secondly, as the Green Deal is essentially a financial framework, large national enterprises such as energy suppliers are already much better placed to deal with requests for finance from potential customers.
Smaller firms are forced to link up with the Green Deal finance providers or find a way of offering the finance to customers themselves.
Supporting small firms to win work
To address this, the FMB is supporting the development of Retrofit Works, a Green Deal co-operative that will help small firms to win work collectively.
So what is the FMB doing to help its members gain access to more Green Deal work? We offer tailored training and business support to all our members, either free or at discounted rates.
In conjunction with NAPIT Registration, the FMB has also developed a single route to building and certification and registration services, including Green Deal Installer Certification, exclusively for FMB members (see www.fmb.org.uk for further information).
This FMB route to certification is designed to help business owners train staff, save money and grow, with particular emphasis on winning new work in the low-carbon and energy-efficiency retrofitting markets.
The scheme was recently expanded to give access to Competent Person Scheme registration for work, including double-glazed windows and doors, retrofitting insulation and roofing.
In addition, the FMB continues to lobby government at all levels regarding how uptake of the Green Deal can be widened, and also provide feedback to government, stakeholders and the media regarding how the scheme is currently performing in terms of SME installer participation.
Together with SME support, the Green Deal can yet be an environmental and economic success.
Brian Berry is the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders

This article first appeared in Construction News

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