Choosing and engaging a contractor is a big step in your retrofit journey. It’s important to enter this process with as much information as possible, from initially identifying potential builders and creating tender documents to selecting a contractor and developing a contract.

Tips on choosing a contractor

Are they appropriate?

When you’re choosing a contractor, think carefully about who will be right for your retrofit project. What is their work culture like and their level of communication? Do they have experience of retrofit works and if not, would they be willing to learn?

Do they have experience?

"Many householders engage a contractor who has already delivered some energy efficiency measures. But some people appoint a builder they trust, who may have done an extension or loft conversion for them in the past but who has no retrofit experience. As long as the contractor is open to learning retrofit techniques then this type of appointment can work well. Many builders recognise that retrofit will be in demand going forward and they want to get in early and upskill their workforce."

How can you find contractors?

There are a number of local contractor networks in Greater Manchester, including groups of retrofit specialists. People Powered Retrofit can assist you in identifying potential contractors, involving builders from the network we set up in 2019 to support Greater Manchester-based contractors and consultants working in the energy efficiency sector.

Unfortunately we can’t share details of installers outside of the People Powered Retrofit service, as we have no influence over the work and therefore the outcome.

Click here for more information about how we support retrofit business and professionals.

People Powered Retrofit also organises match-making events where contractors, consultants and householders mingle and discuss potential jobs. This speed-dating style meet-up is always well-attended and regularly ends in a number of retrofit jobs being taken forward.

What about training for contractors?

People Powered Retrofit offers a variety of CPD services for contractors including onsite training and ‘Tool Box Talks’. Click here for more information.

Aneaka Kellay, People Powered Retrofit Supply Chain Engagement Officer shares some advice on the qualities you should look for in a retrofit contractor:

If you can find a builder who is open minded, someone that you trust and respect – that is the most important thing. The attitude of your contractor is so important; it’s about them being receptive to new ideas – even if they don’t have much on-the-job retrofit experience. A builder that has high standards, who cares about their work and has pride in it is a good place to start. If they’ve done energy efficiency works before then great but if they haven’t, but want to learn, then that’s also really positive.

Equally, it’s also about the householder being open-minded. Sometimes clients can be dismissive of a contractor if they don’t have retrofit experience. But many great builders haven’t had the opportunity to deliver a retrofit job as it’s an immature market. If you, as a householder, find yourself thinking, ‘I can’t use the builder who did a good job on my extension because they don’t know anything about airtightness,’ then think again. Builders are often open to developing their knowledge and People Powered Retrofit can help where they have gaps in their experience.

Aneaka Kellay, People Powered Retrofit Supply Chain Engagement Officer

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