British Woodworking Federation calls for a broad focus on sustainable RM & I to fix the existing housing stock

8 February 2017

Released last month, The Bonfield Report: 'Each Home Counts’, called on government to back a quality mark for green home improvements and made recommendations relating to consumer protection, standards and enforcement in the sector.

As part of the initial stage of planning, we fed back to the BEIS Review Team on the review recommendations and related proposals for action that could affect installer and manufacturers of products such as high performance windows and doors.

While the BWF welcomes the increased emphasis on consumer protection in the report, the UK housing stock is still amongst the least energy efficient in Europe, contributing to high energy bills and nearly a quarter of our annual carbon emissions. In our response to the review team, we addressed important elements that should be integrated to ensure that this represents a true step forward:

- Life Cycle Assessments should be considered in line with operational energy savings. When products are manufactured via energy intensive processes and claim to be recyclable, it does not necessary mean that potential savings are fully realised. It would be helpful to look at how policy could support the waste hierarchy, ‘Reduce, Renew, Reuse, Recycle’ clearly showing that renewable options should be considered before dipping into non-renewable natural capital. 

- When considering the financial implications of works we should encourage a whole life costing approach to supporting procurement or it can create false economy – this is possibly where financial support to cover investment in quality would help.

- The review rightly focusses on the design and construction phase, but ensuring specifications are managed and that products can perform as declared is an important element too and should not be overlooked (and is linked to the above point on whole life cost).

- As noted in the report, the Codes of Practice must sit side by side with CDM regulations and current industry best practice initiatives and not try to duplicate them or overcomplicate them, as was happening in the case of the Green Deal. 

- When looking at accreditation of installers, it is vital to link this to existing initiatives rather than adding a tier of bureaucracy and when standards imposed they must be adequately policed.  Too often, good principle policy is policed by inadequately resourced organisations. Better support and a clearer role for Building Control departments should be built in to ensure that the grey market is wiped out

- It is important that a full impact assessment must take place to ensure that product manufacturers and installers from our sector do not have to unnecessarily pay more in certification fees to bear the cost of broader RM & I sector shortcomings. We would also insist on a regular review and reporting after the recommendations are taken forward to ensure that the initiative caters for a ranges of materials and products as well as delivering value to all sizes of business.

BWF has 700 members drawn from manufacturers, distributors and installers of timber doors, windows, conservatories, staircases, furniture, all forms of architectural joinery including shopfitting, timber frame buildings and engineered timber components, as well as suppliers to the industry.

When selecting a supplier for your project, its important to select a company you can have confidence in. Here you can find a member of the BWF to supply your project.

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