Client: Knowsley Council / Wetherby Building Systems
Approx. Value: £4.5 million
Working with Wetherby Building Systems as part of the government’s Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), Knowsley Council sought to provide free energy efficiency measures to private home owners within specific parts of its catchment area. These included a wide range of works such as loft and cavity wall insulation, draught proofing and the installation of new energy efficient central heating systems.
Some of these properties had no cavity wall, so conventional insulation systems would not always be appropriate and Knowsley Council therefore required a contractor with significant experience of fitting external wall insulation (EWI) and associated adaptations, as well as more traditional insulation and energy efficiency systems.
In addition to the physical element of the programme, the Council set demanding delivery schedules, requiring that at least 30 properties be completed every week, and it required active collaboration with regard to promoting the benefits of the scheme to local residents.
As a specialist in the field of external wall insulation (EWI) Sustainable Building Services (UK) was confident of its ability to deliver the required outputs. Its principal challenges were therefore to publicise the scheme effectively so as to ensure a high level of adoption, and to meet the delivery schedule whilst also maintaining the highest quality standards.
Operating as main contractor, it began by putting in place a very experienced on-site team that included contracts managers and site managers. Conscious of its obligation to create local employment opportunities, it also supplemented these positions with new assistant site managers, foremen, operatives and resident liaison officers, recruited from within the local communities.
Local subcontractors were also actively engaged: the company held a number of ‘meet the buyer’ events for local SME suppliers, all of whom were evaluated in order to ensure compliance with its existing schemes for quality, safety and environmental management. These various community engagement measures played a useful role in building trust and local enthusiasm for the scheme.
With the necessary structures and managerial controls in place, the works themselves proceeded smoothly. They entailed a comprehensive external upgrade that included external wall insulation and the renewal of rainwater goods, together with internal works including loft insulation and the fitting of new A-rated central heating boilers.
Although the initial works package was for only 200 properties, such was the success of the collaborative marketing effort by the company, by Wetherby Building Systems and by the Council that the number of treated properties continued to rise and far exceeded the 800 mark within six months. This makes it what is believed to be the single largest CESP funded scheme for private housing in the whole of the UK. The weekly target of 30 completed properties was consistently met and thousands of local residents now enjoy better living conditions, improved energy efficiency levels and appreciable annual savings on their energy bills.
Moreover, the work created opportunities for individuals and small businesses; new operatives were trained via building colleges and the Knowsley Training Initiative, and more than 35% of the workforce on this scheme was based within 10 miles of the sites.
“Sustainable Building Services (UK) has been a highly regarded external wall insulation contractor for Wetherby Building Systems for a number of years now. We enjoy an excellent working relationship with their senior and site based management. They recently exceeded 2,000 EWI installations on behalf of Wetherby. A particularly challenging project, included in this number, was installing over 800 Wetherby EWI systems within a six month time frame in Kirkby... The quality of workmanship has been excellent and they met their contracted timeframe of November 16th.”
Sales Director, Wetherby Building Systems