Green Homes Grant can boost activity but quality is key says CIOB

The CIOB has today responded to the Government’s announcement of further details on the new Green Homes Grant.

The Government is urging tradespeople to sign up for TrustMark accreditation in a drive to support over 100,000 jobs through a new energy efficiency scheme. Strict accreditation rules for tradespeople involved in the scheme is designed to give households confidence that improvements to their homes will be of the highest quality. The New Green Homes Grant will give over 600,000 homeowners in England up to £10,000 to install insulation, heat pumps, draft proofing and more to help households cut energy bills.

The CIOB is pleased to see that the Government has acknowledged the importance of labour-intensive repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work to drive the economic recovery, while enhancing the existing housing stock to focus on improving energy efficiency and quality.

Additionally, the CIOB is pleased that the Government has urged tradespeople to sign up for the TrustMark accreditation to ensure oversight and enforcement of quality control.

The need for high quality scrutiny and oversight, and for a complete and coherent set of standards in the housing sector is clear. Within the domestic RMI market, lack of trust can prove a major challenge. Consumers often lack confidence when seeking to engage builders, and there is fear of falling victim to scams, poorly executed work or being overcharged. This points to a need for clear, well-enforced standards that offer protection to customers carrying out home improvement works and energy efficiency retrofits.

However, it is vital that TrustMark is adequately resourced if it is to ensure that all firms participating in the scheme meet the standards required. With the Green Homes Grant set to go live at the end of September and firms being encouraged to sign up, there is likely to be a significant rise in demand that could lend itself open to abuse and failures.

In the long term, and dependent on the success of the scheme, the CIOB would like to see the Green Homes Grant as part of an ambitious national retrofit strategy. This will provide a clear direction of travel for the construction industry and the certainty that businesses need to create stable, green jobs beyond the 2021.