Some frequently asked questions to assist your understanding:
How does a Local Authority, Landlord or Community Organisation use the RetrofitWorks model?
RetrofitWorks is a cooperative owned by its members, and that membership is built around organisations whose credentials are inspected in advance. Membership agreements and Scheme Design documents set out the way in which members interact to win and deliver works, and and Online Job Portal establishes quality assurance for every single job, accessed by all relevant stakeholders.
You would need to join as an Advocate member, which establishes a commercial relationship. We then work closely together to establish the key components of the scheme needed to achieve the intended aims. For instance, we would help to set up a schedules of work which can either be tendered amongst our members for each job, or establish average price established. We set out the customer journey very clearly and who is responsible for each role. Some Advocate Members like to take a very hands-on role, some just want to feed-in the customers. We are happy to have a chat about your aims at any time.
Is RetrofitWorks just a procurement framework and is it OJEU compliant?
It’s not a framework in the traditional sense, but the commercial structure and online job portal lend itself to that area of the market, but with more sophistication and 100% transparency. Moreover, the organisation is not-for-private-profit so any trading surpluses are redistributed back to members.
Our experience is that expensive procurement is avoided simply by joining as an Advocate Member. As a member, Advocates able to utilise the services but also, since RetrofitWorks has itself mirrored standard procurement processes throughout the member on-boarding process for contractors, Advocates are deemed to have procured themselves. in addition, our online Job Portal in effect tenders each and every client’s work – so the individual job value is very much under OJEU thresholds.
Do you already have practitioner members in my area?
Potentially, but it depends on your location. Currently we have active installer members in London; and in other select areas of England and Scotland, however we plan and hope to expand beyond. If we do not have active member in your area, we would work with you to recruit a local membership base. If you already know a range of trustworthy organisations that would fit into a local scheme, we provided the structure to create a scheme.
How do you ensure quality?
When our Practitioner members join our cooperative, they go through a rigorous vetting process. This process involves amongst other things, checking their credentials & certifications to industry standards, their insurances and general company performance. Where they exist for the work begin carried out, we require competent person scheme certification such as GasSafe, FENSA, MCS and REA amongst others.
Our members also sign up to a Code of Conduct which is based on PAS91 and the Green Deal Code of Conduct, but with a more rounded content. To view this document, click here.
Finally, our software acts as an online project management tool, for which our installers upload GPS-linked site photos, before, during and once the work are completed. Householders, landlords and Local Authorities, can receive e-mail alerts in real time about a new photo uploads, comments or document uploads or edits, and any changes to the online calendar.
In addition to all of this, a Retrofit Coordinator is assigned to every job with responsibility for checking all design decisions and installations. The online Job Portal creates the confidence of data collection on every job, but photos are not relied upon for quality, they simply point towards the jobs that need visiting. The Retrofit Coordinator is built into all of our schemes, for all jobs from the very small to the multi-faceted retrofits.
How are key people kept up to date with the works?
Our online Job Portal has an online calendar to schedule in the works, and adjust them as the project develops. We also have a user role called ‘watchers’, which would allow you to receive e-mail notifications to alert you to any changes made within the software on that particular project.
What are the terms and conditions?
These vary for each scheme but in general the aim is to set a contract up between each householder and the Practitioner Member carrying out the work. For Landlords, RetrofitWorks can act as a Managing Agent using a JCT Term Contract. RetrofitWorks members of staff act as project coordinators, facilitators and mediators if any disputes take place.
How are you governed?
RetrofitWorks Primary Membership ‘Rules’ set down the core functions of the Cooperative and how it manages itself. To view a copy of our rules, click here.
Being a cooperative organisation, we represent and run the co-op for the benefit of its members.
We regularly run member meetings, and have a Board of Directors that oversee the management of the cooperative.
How is RetrofitWorks paid for?
For every job that passes through RetrofitWorks, a small percentage uplift is added to the cost of the work. That percentage is agreed for each scheme by all of the organisations involved and published.
This cost is incorporated into the installer’s prices and experience shows that because Practitioners’ overheads are reduced, they are still competing for work with other members and because they receive regular work opportunities from us, the percentage gets absorbed. RetrofitWorks also takes on some of the administration and customer care services which they no longer have to do, so member costs are further reduced.
Its worth remembering, as there is no tiered approach of sub-contracting, there are no additional layers of profit in the final price.
Being a cooperative, the percentage fee goes back into providing member services for the benefit of the local community. We have no external stakeholders, being a not-for-private-profit organisation.
Do you have access to grants and finance?
Yes, although it depends what schemes we are operating at the time and in which locations. Failing any grants being available, we have access to a charity based loan provider who offers competitive rates specifically for home improvement works. Please note any finance is subject to terms and conditions.
Who have you worked with in the past?
We have worked with various Local Authorities, and Landlords – take a look at our Past Projects.
How do you get local community organisations involved?
Community-based organisations that want to promote energy efficiency simply have to sign up as an Associate (light touch support) or full Advocate Member. Before that, we can of course, have a chat abut your aims, intentions, support needs etc.
As a member, you will have a say in how the co-op is run for the benefit of your community. You can get involved in helping us promote grants and schemes, and feel confident you are referring residents to a one stop shop service that uses quality assured local SME installers.
Can I recommend companies to you?
Yes please! We are always looking to recruit new members.
We would be glad to have a chat with you at any time if the FAQs don’t cover your query. Get in touch here.