The rise of the green contractor


A CITB report has estimated that 350,000 new construction jobs will be required in the UK in order to meet the government’s 2050 environmental target which aims at achieving a net zero on emissions.

The target to reduce our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy.

The UK construction industry contributes to approximately 40% of emissions according to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and reducing this to net zero represents a huge challenge for the government and construction industry which will need to move away from traditional construction methods utilising eco-friendly and sustainable materials.

A present there are some 27,000,000 domestic and 2,000,000 commercial properties in the UK. What most people do not realise is that existing properties are also part of the problem. 80% of the buildings that will be in use in 2050 have already been built and these could represent 95% of future built environment emissions.
As such retrofitting has come to the front in recent years as part of the drive to meet government targets and make buildings more thermally efficient and sustainable. Retrofitting is the process of ‘providing something with a component or feature not fitted during the original construction. It is often used in relation to the installation of heating systems, water conversation or solar panels, but it might also refer to the fabric of a building, for example, insulation or double glazing. In urban areas where outdoor space is a highly sort after commodity we could also see a rise in green roofs or walled gardens to help improve biodiversity, thermal performance or improvement air quality.

Most of the 350,000 work force will likely be made up of HVAC and Plumbing Engineers, Insulation Contractors and Renewable Energy Contractors as well as Cladding Contractors, Retro Fit coordinator and Project Managers.
And although the current Green Home Grant was scrapped it is likely that it will return in another format as the only way to tackle this issue will be through similar green initiatives and grants to improve the existing landscape, representing a huge opportunity for contractors looking carve out a niche business in years to come.

Retrofit techniques likely to be used by contractors

The below is brief list of the type of retrofitting activities currently available to property owners that will most likely form part of the retrofit landscape:

• Cavity wall insulation, internal or external insulation, and cladding of external and internal surfaces to reduce heat loss and energy consumption
• Roofs insulation and ventilation systems, roof gardens and green roofs
• Draught proofing
• Installation of photovoltaics, solar thermal heating, passive solar heating, wind energy, wood and organic waste power sourced heating or power plant, micro-hydro power
• Installation of rain water harvesting and purification, low-flow equipment such as water fittings, shower heads, dual flush toilets
• Installation of double or triple glazing, draught proofing of existing glazing
• Installation of insulation under existing flooring and ground source heat pumps
• Lagging of existing pipework and ducting
• Lighting controls, occupancy sensors, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lighting and other low energy technologies
• Infrared heating systems
• Installation of smart home technologies such as controls and building management systems
• Upgrades to air conditioning system or replacement with air or ground source heat pumps or passive cooling
• Energy storage, onsite electricity generation, combined heat and power
• Smart meters
• Draught proofing or replacement high-performance doors

What type of insurance will green and retrofit contractors need?

Unfortunately the insurance industry is rarely up to date and tends to move slowly when it comes to emerging industries or new technologies. A contractor looking for insurance for retro fitting activities is likely to be met with confusion when speaking to your average call centre operative, and many online providers are unlikely to have the trade listed which is why we would recommend speaking to specialist a such as Clarke Williams who can discuss all of your activities and make sure your business is covered for the activities undertaken.

Whether you are self-employed or have a team of employees working for you, it is essential you have adequate cover to protect your business. Below is a brief summary of the basic insurance a contractor would be expected to hold:

Public and Products Liability Insurance covers you for bodily injury to third parties or property damage which arises in the course of your daily activities, for example damage to a client’s premises or neighbouring property whilst you are undertaking work.
Employers Liability Insurance covers you for liability arising from employees who sustain an injury or illness during the course of their employment with you.

Contract Works Insurance covers work in the course of construction before it is handed over to the principal or employer on practical completion. It can pay to repair or to redo the work that is in progress if it is damaged by an insured event like fire, flood, storm, vandalism or theft and includes both the permanent and temporary works.

Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance also known as Design and Construct Professional Indemnity, protects contractors and sub contracted specialists (such as renewable energy contractors ) for allegations relating to errors in their work or incorrect design.

For a no obligation insurance quote call or email our specialists today.



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