Remo Urban Decarbonisation Scheme

Nottingham, England

Project Value: £900,000


In 2017, Sustainable Building Services (UK) Ltd was appointed as principal contractor for a 26-week energy efficiency demonstration project at Newark Crescent in Nottingham.

The Remo Urban Project is a European-funded urban regeneration model, supported by various partners including Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and Nottingham City Council’s Enviroenergy team. It aims to provide a blueprint for industry best practice. Part-funded by the European Union and the Energy Company Obligation, it is part of a broader demonstration project showcasing carbon saving measures across four local sites.

Procured through the Efficiency East Midlands framework, the Newark Crescent scheme involves the refurbishment of seven 3-storey No-Fines concrete blocks – home to a mix of social housing residents and private leaseholders.

The specified energy efficiency measures included the installation of new external wall insulation, new glazing and doors, replacement central heating boilers and new LED lighting. Some properties would also have energy monitors fitted to gauge the effects of the various energy saving measures.

The project

Prior to the commencement of the project – and as with other projects for Nottingham City homes – SBS and the EWI system designer PermaRock Products devoted considerable effort to producing visualisations and detailing in order to secure planning consent. In total, more than 80 variations were produced. The team worked closely with the client and even NCH’s Chief Executive took a keen interest, contributing ideas to the designs in an effort to make a ‘statement’ with the scheme.

Design approval took several months and entailed many rounds of designs. SBS staff attended a number of planning meetings with the client and, together, they organised various resident events to showcase the designs and solicit local feedback. As a result, the team agreed on a shortlist of five designs and the final design was chosen by the residents themselves.

Working with NCH and PermaRock, SBS began in March 2017 by establishing a local depot and office. It recruited a resident liaison officer from within the local community and developed an appropriate resident engagement plan. Site preparations and installation work began on schedule.

Community engagement is always an important element of any scheme involving occupied properties and this was no exception. As part of its efforts to raise awareness of the scheme, SBS worked with NCH to organise a series of visits to local primary schools. One entailed delivering a talk on site safety to 120 children at William Booth Primary School in Sneinton. Here, aided by ‘Ivor Goodsite’ (pictured), staff explained how to stay safe around building work and invited pupils to design posters promoting site safety.

SBS also worked with children from Southwark Primary School in Old Basford. Over a period of two weeks, SBS staff and members of the Nottingham City Homes ‘Women in Construction’ team showed 25 girls around the Newark Crescent site. Here, they explained the many career opportunities that exist for women in the building industry. SBS’s site manager gave the visitors a full safety induction and, together with the local resident liaison officer, took them on a guided tour of the site.


Work proceeded at a good, steady pace, with robust quality assurance procedures ensuring a high standard of installation. Inspections by SBS site managers and PermaRock staff helped to ensure trouble-free handovers, and effective resident liaison helped minimise no-access issues.

The engagement with local schools helped promote excellent community relations and project staff received positive comments from children and teachers alike. The winning poster designs were subsequently printed on scaffolding banners in order to give visitors and on-site operatives a useful reminder of the importance of site safety.

Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and Nottingham City Council’s Enviroenergy team
No. of Properties
500 x Non-Traditional Properties
PAS 2035:2019 / 2035:2019 Roles (SBS Supplier Network)
Principal Contractor / Retrofit Assessor / Retrofit Designer / Retrofit Coordinator / EEM Installer
PAS Energy Efficiency Measures
External Wall Insulation / Ventilation / Loft Insulation / Window & Doors / Flat Roof Insulation
Associated works
Structural Repairs / Roofline Works
Client Feedback

“During an early meeting, (I became) confident that SBS were capable of performing the task required. But to say “capable” is an understatement. The external support I had was exemplary. The Project team have performed beyond my expectations. It was quickly obvious that their aims were aligned to my aspirations for quality and safety. Our Clerk of Works has commented that he considers the workmanship for this project to be the best he has seen. I concur.

The contract was extended twice to accommodate additional properties, changes in specification, plus a first pilot for Citizen: a zero-carbon renovation. This was processed during some difficult times with the impact of Covid, lockdowns and Brexit. SBS successfully dealt with all these matters, giving us the ability to progress. I now regard SBS as a contractor that I can recommend and I look forward to future collaboration.”

– Harvinder Aouilk, Building Surveyor, Citizen