May 3rd, 2023
4 mins

A new report has warned that, without a change in board attitudes, the UK could face a building retrofit crisis.

The report shows that fewer than one in four public or private sector organisations is attempting to make their non-domestic premises more environmentally sustainable and just one in ten is assigning any kind of budget to retrofitting buildings to reduce their environmental impact.

According to the 101 property and facilities heads from leading UK organisations questioned for the report, the key problem is the attitude of UK boards, both to their buildings and to those who manage them.

For instance, despite 76% of organisations working towards net zero, 55% of facilities managers say their boards simply do not see retrofitting buildings as part of their net zero strategy. Indeed, 23% of the heads of buildings in the largest companies haven’t been involved in any net zero planning at all. A further 47% say even when they are involved, they are too removed from environmental discussions to be able to make a meaningful contribution.

The vast majority (86%) of organisations also underestimate the need to retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient. Over a third mistakenly believe less than 39% of the UK’s current building stock will still be in use by 2050. Whereas it will be nearer twice this level at 70%.

Beyond board attitudes, the report identifies four further things which need to be addressed to improve the situation:

  • How building estate’s budgets are set needs to change. Over half (54%) of organisations set their building budgets based on the past year’s costs. This approach will never accommodate a major retrofit programme.
  • The government needs to take steps to make retrofitting more attractive. 52% of facilities heads believe VAT on refurbishments should be removed. Almost half (49%) say business rates discourage retrofit while over half call for financial incentives to encourage retrofitting of buildings.
  • Retrofit myths need exploding. For instance, 45% of those in charge of buildings believe if the grid is carbon neutral, they don’t need to worry about getting their buildings to net zero. 24% feel that retrofitting won’t make a big enough difference to their building’s carbon footprint.
  • Organisations also need expert support. 31% fear retrofitting’s disruption, 29% lack the bandwidth for such a project and 25% don’t know how to make a business case for it.

To view the report, visit: here

Premises and Facilities Management
April 2023


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