Making Sense of the Clean Growth Strategy

Clean Growth Strategy

INCA Executive Chairman, Mitch Gee

Government’s Clean Growth Strategy

The government published its Clean Growth Strategy on the 12th October 2017. An exciting and ambitious document, it sets out plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions without impacting on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – in fact, contributing to growth in GDP whilst ensuring affordable energy.

The Climate Change Act committed the country to reduce greenhouse gasses by at least 80% by 2015 when compared to 1990. The government has good reason to be pleased with itself as we have managed to cut emissions by 42% since 1990, while the economy has grown by 67%. It may be argued that the low hanging fruit has been plucked, with 21% of these reductions from the power industry, which has benefited from the switch of solid fuel to gas. With further enhancement from renewable energy this looks set to continue.

There has been a contribution from household energy where carbon emissions have fallen by 17%. This is reasonably impressive considering the number of homes has increased by approximately a quarter. Unfortunately so far, this has only contributed to a 3% reduction in carbon emissions since 1990, but it is important to remember the emissions created by heating our homes is 13% of all emissions. Focusing on homes gives a triple blessing in reducing emissions, lowering bills and creating healthier homes. The Government recognises there is a direct link between cold, damp homes and ill health. The Building Research Establishment has estimated that these homes cost the NHS £760 million per year. We can already count the financial benefit of the policy in this area. In 2016 the costs per household of the current policy was £147, with the average household benefit being £161.

How will the Clean Growth Strategy drive the market for external wall insulation (EWI)?

There are a number of elements of the strategy that will have a positive impact on our industry:

  • The UK has led the way in developing green finance. The strategy includes working with mortgage providers to develop green mortgage products that take account of lower lending risk and enhanced repayment associated with more energy efficient properties.
  • There is £3.6 billion of investment to improve the efficiency of a million homes and extend support for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) until 2028.
  • It is the governments’ ambition to up-grade all fuel poor homes to a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of C by 2030, and where practical, all homes by 2035.

Looking further ahead, the government identifies a need to consult on strengthening energy performance standards for new and existing homes under building regulations. The strategy will continue to develop, and one of the next steps will be making the private rented sectors’ energy efficiency regulations more effective, setting longer long-term energy performance standards. Claire Perry, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has stated that the government were looking at a ‘carrots and sticks’ approach and may be considering linking stamp duty with the energy efficiency of homes.

The Clean Growth Strategy will have a positive impact on the macro economy, influencing the uptake of solid wall insulation. However, without greater incentives and an increased focus on the hard to treat homes within ECO, it may remain a slow burner. EWI may not be impacted until late in the cycle.

If you have an opinion on the strategy then we would be pleased to hear it.

INCA Awards Dinner 2017

Mitch Gee INCA Awards 2017

INCA Executive Chairman, Mitch Gee

INCA Awards Dinner

It was great to see so many familiar faces turn out at the recent INCA Awards Dinner, many of whom have been in the industry for over 25 years. It was a great night, and one which I hope everyone enjoyed.

At the awards, I tried to make the point that with EWI we are not dealing with a new technology. It is tried and tested, and has been successfully insulating homes in both low-rise and high-rise applications for over 25 years. That said, we should not be complacent and we will learn from recent events.

It is important to remember that we have only insulated 4% of the solid wall properties in the UK, so despite being a well-established industry, the potential for growth is enormous. Also, we must not forget that we are so much more than just insulation! The awards demonstrated this by showcasing such an array of projects, and EWI encompasses many types of construction in both the new build and retrofit sector.

Please give us your feedback on how we can improve the event for next year. I think we have ‘done’ rugby, so any suggestions for a headline speaker will be appreciated. It would be nice to receive an award from someone less than 6’ 5’’. How much is Frankie Dettori?

INCA promoted the winning and shortlisted projects, as well as the sponsors on the Construction Enquirer and Architects Journal websites. RCI Magazine also sent two solus e-blasts to approximately 30,000 building professionals. The reach of the INCA Awards means that it is worth considering what you will enter next year!

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Architects Journal Advert

Training and Skills: Introducing Bridge into Construction

Bridge into Construction

INCA Executive Chairman, Mitch Gee

Bridge into Construction Launches at Sheffield College

On the 28th September 2017, I attended the launch of a new education programme, Bridge into Construction at Sheffield College. The programme is the result of a partnership between Build UK and Collab Group, which represent leading colleges. The objective is to increase the number of young people entering the construction industry. Ian Pretty, CEO of Collab Group, clearly expressed how important the construction industry is to the UK economy. It is worth a staggering £90 billion and employs 2.93 million people. Therefore, it is vital to get our training right!

With skills shortages, Brexit looming and the reduction in the availability of migrant labour (combined with the ticking time bomb that is the aging demographic of our industry), construction has been ‘crying out’ for a solution! Bridge into Construction is a course that will produce college leavers with a holistic knowledge of construction. This will allow them to make an informed decision about whether it’s for them and which element they wish to pursue.

The course provides an opportunity to get a basic understanding of all aspects of construction, including design, trade skills and facility management. Not only will college leavers gain an appreciation of the industry, they will also get the opportunity to develop their numeracy and literacy skills. Furthermore, the course aims to make students ‘work ready’, with a view to gaining an apprenticeship or job.

At the launch, Susannah Nichol, Chief Executive of build UK, passionately communicated the need for the best young people to enter construction, and come out of college “oven ready” for the work place. The current construction opportunities are fragmented and confusing for the potential employer, which the Bridge into Construction programme addresses. It is important that we open up the doors of our companies to young people, so they are able to sample what is required of them when they enter the work place.

The pilot scheme starts in October 2017 at Sheffield College and South Thames College and is set to roll out across the country to over 300 colleges. If you require further information or wish to get involved please contact INCA.