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SHDF Wave 3
The Challenge Fund Route

The majority of applicants are expected to access SHDF Wave 3 funding through the Challenge Fund. One of the key principles of this model is that all applications that meet the scheme’s minimum standards will be awarded funding.

Minimum property numbers: 100 eligible social housing properties (EPC band D-G) per application

Smaller social housing landlords (defined here as those that own or manage fewer than 1,000 homes) can apply with fewer than 100 homes but should join a consortium where possible. DESNZ encourages applications from smaller landlords and will set aside £30 million of funding from the Challenge Fund specifically for applications from these landlords.

To support those who are unable to meet the minimum property threshold, support will be offered in forming consortia, with resources available through ‘RISE’ – the Retrofit Information, Support and Expertise service.

The Challenge Fund model will only require detailed information about the homes included within a phase when the applicant is ready to start delivery. Challenge Fund Applicants will not be required to provide information on the specific homes to be upgraded or the specific measures to be installed.

However, applicants will be required to provide a detailed cost breakdown of the project, along with a justification of these costs and how they contribute towards progress towards SHDF Wave 3 objectives in a way that provides value for money.

Assessing Challenge Fund Applications

Initial applications will be judged against the following criteria:

Strategic fit: how well the proposal fits with the aims, outcomes and eligibility criteria of the Challenge Fund

How SBS Can Help

Our size, experience and specialist expertise allow us to offer our clients effective support in meeting all the Challenge Fund criteria.

As one of the UK’s largest turnkey solutions providers, we have delivered under all previous phases of SHDF – from the Demonstrator to Wave 2. We have a thorough understanding of the fund’s aims, outcomes and eligibility criteria, and an excellent record of delivering at scale. We have supported clients with numerous successful bids, all featuring multiple measures and adhering to whole-house, fabric-first principles and taking a multi-tenure, area-based approach.

In addition, to help maximise the benefits of planned works, we have introduced innovative private finance tools to make retrofit decarbonisation measures affordable and accessible to local private households (i.e. ‘infill’ properties).

Delivery forecast: an assessment of the project plan, including proposed costs

How SBS Can Help

We are highly adept at bringing stakeholder partners together from the earliest stages to develop effective plans that ensure effective planning, resourcing, mobilisation and delivery. This includes a nationwide network of comprehensively vetted, well-proven supply chain partners.

Decarbonisation lies at the core of our work so we have robust procedures for ensuring certainty on costs. We are assisted in this by the other companies in our group, which give us tight control over material costs. Being able to order in advance and in bulk yields cost-savings and it protects our clients from costs and delays arising from material shortages.

Commercial assurance: an assessment of the feasibility and credibility of the commercial agreements and procurement strategy

How SBS Can Help

SBS is listed on all major retrofit and decarbonisation frameworks, and we provide a clear, fast and efficient route for procurement. We have long, well-established working relationships with numerous clients. Recognising that we deliver value for money, many of them have worked with us for five or more years and have renewed their contracts with us multiple times.

Delivery assurance: an assessment of the feasibility and credibility of the project including the resource plan, project management strategies, risk management and overall confidence in delivery

How SBS Can Help

Our ability to plan, manage and deliver successful decarbonisation schemes is at the core of our business. We are accredited to PAS 2030 and PAS 2035 and are registered with Trustmark. We provide a robust framework for multi-partner project planning, risk management and delivery.

Importantly, we self-deliver; with around 300 fully trained installers, we have the staff, teams and resources to deliver projects without recourse to subcontractors and without making our schemes vulnerable to the risks and delays that untested subcontractors can sometimes introduce.

Our expertise in the field and the added value we offer have both been recognised in recent industry awards. We were named the Retrofit Academy’s Contractor of the Year in successive years: first in 2023 and again in 2024.

Phased Approaches

The Challenge Fund model will facilitate the phased approach to delivery taken by many organisations. The application process will comprise an Initial Application stage as well as one or more subsequent Phase Request submissions.

A Phase Request will cover some or all of the homes within a project, and should provide further details of the planned retrofit works in that phase. Projects must not have more than 10 phases and they can be delivered concurrently. Phase Requests will be accepted up until September 2027.

Assessment Criteria for Phase Requests

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria.

  • Strategic fit: an assessment of how well the proposal fits with the aims, desired outcomes and eligibility criteria of the SHDF Wave 3 Challenge Fund.
  • Contractor procurement: an assessment of the suitability of the contractors that have been procured for delivery of this phase.
  • Delivery assurance and internal resourcing: an assessment of the feasibility and credibility of the project, including organisational design, fraud management and planning.
  • Delivery forecast: an assessment of the proposed activities and spend to take place each month.
  • Value for money: an assessment of the costs of the proposed measures to be installed, a cost breakdown of the phase and a justification for the cost of the phase.

As noted earlier, our status as a leading decarbonisation and retrofit specialist makes us especially well placed to help our clients to meet these criteria and submit successful phase requests.

Find Out More

For support with planning or preparing an application under the SHDF Wave 3 Challenge Fund route, please contact us.