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The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has said it is “optimistic” about the government’s Green Homes Grant programme, launching today (30 September), which aims to encourage homeowners to retrofit their homes to make them more environmentally friendly.
The new Green Homes Grant will help fund 600,000 homeowners – via a £2bn pot – in England to install insulation, heat pumps, draft proofing and other measures to help households cut energy bills.
The government will fund up to two-thirds of the cost of
home improvements up to £5,000. Those homeowners with low incomes, including
those on certain benefits, are eligible for a grant covering up to 100% of the
cost of works up to £10,000.
The CIOB said that while it had previously been supportive
of the initiative, which has the potential to boost construction by delivering
a pipeline of labour-intensive repair, maintenance and improvement work, it has
also been clear in its calls for improvements in quality.
Amid concerns raised by industry bodies including the CIOB,
the government will require contractors carrying out work under the scheme to
be signed up for TrustMark accreditation.
The CIOB has also commented that it is vital for TrustMark
to be adequately resourced if it is to ensure that all firms participating in
the scheme meet the standards required.
Eddie Tuttle, director of public policy, research and public affairs at CIOB, was optimistic in his overall view of the scheme: “There is an opportunity here to do good in the short-term and in the longer term – we at the CIOB would like to see the Green Homes Grant as one part of an ambitious, long-term national retrofit strategy. As well as helping to drive towards greener homes and energy efficiency, this would provide a clear and much needed boost for the construction industry and the provide some of the certainty that businesses need to create stable, green jobs, this year and beyond.
“We are pleased that the government has recognised concerns about the possibilities of poor-quality workmanship and rogue traders and has sent a clear signal with the need for TrustMark accreditation.”