Built environment sector bodies urge Scottish Government action on retrofitting

14 built environment sector bodies have joined forces to encourage the Scottish Government to take ‘urgent action’ to strategically tackle the country’s draughty homes challenge.

The group has published a document recommending the creation of a ministerial oversight group on retrofit and the development of a delivery plan to ensure the necessary financial and human resources are in place to support wide-scale retrofit across the country.

The bodies say that if the government does not follow advice on adopting a fabric first approach to retrofitting, it will struggle to tackle fuel poverty and net zero targets and households will be left with energy inefficient homes that are expensive to heat.

Jocelyne Fleming, policy and public affairs officer Scotland at CIOB, said, “Scottish Government has accepted meeting our net zero targets will require significant increases to the pace and scale of retrofit projects being undertaken across the country. Our message to Scottish Government is clear: we need joined-up, holistic policymaking to meet the retrofit challenge we’re facing. Developing a long-term Retrofit Delivery Plan that considers how we will adequately resource these projects – both financially and with a sufficient pipeline with the right people and skills – will support both government and industry to achieve these objectives.

“The plan needs to be designed in collaboration with built environment industry partners and address the existing barriers to the complex retrofit challenge, as well as provide long-term targets and measurement tools which are fit-for-purpose and driven by evidence.”

This ongoing collaborative effort comes after the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) hosted a ‘Retrofit Roundtable’ – sponsored by Gordon MacDonald MSP and attended by members from across the chamber – in May 2023 to discuss the retrofit challenge and consider solutions.

Gordon MacDonald commented, “As Scottish Government has recognised through its recent investments in many energy-efficiency programmes and initiatives, tackling retrofit is an important issue as we work towards reaching environmental targets like net zero. I have seen the positive impacts of these investments in my own constituency: council tenants, owner occupiers and private lets in Wester Hailes have benefited from the commitment and funding provided by the Scottish Government to provide energy efficient measures including insulation.

“I am pleased to see the built environment sector is coming together on such a vital topic and I look forward to working closely with representatives from the industry moving forward.”

Following the initial calls for action in May last year, the Retrofit Roundtable group has continued to meet to discuss the challenges retrofit projects create and to identify opportunities to remove any barriers to delivery.

Organisations which contributed to the document include:

  • Built Environment Forum Scotland
  • Built Environment – Smarter Transformation
  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
  • Federation of Master Builders
  • GRAS Architects
  • Procast
  • Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation
  • Scottish Traditional Building Forum
  • Stone Federation Great Britain
  • UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence