UK charity and independent think tank Green Alliance has recently published research exploring the conditions required to carry out a successful tower block retrofit. ‘Greening the skyline: The challenges and opportunities of tower block retrofit’ examines the findings of a number of stakeholder interviews and draws on past experience to determine what factors make for a positive outcome. Aimed largely at local authority and housing association stock managers, the report’s recommendations come in the form of five principles for planning a successful retrofit:
1. Start with stock and outcomes
Design retrofit schemes around its needs as opposed to the qualifying criteria for existing funding.
2. Value wider benefits
Explore the additional benefits resulting from the retrofit and surrounding work, such as improvements to resident’s health and wellbeing, and use these to support and strengthen applications to access other types of available funding.
3. Join up the work
Engage the various teams working in the block; capitalising on the overlaps in responsibilities to support retrofit plans.
4. Set realistic timescales
Retrofit can often take in excess of six months to plan before sign-off can be achieved. This should be factored in to the timescale, but should also be seen as an opportunity; ‘having projects on the shelf’ that have gone through planning enables rapid response to new funding opportunities.
5. Value resident engagement
Budgets should factor in ‘generous financing’ for resident engagement; this is essential to keep delivery on track and maximise the benefits of a retrofit scheme.
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