Work has begun on a £2.8m programme of works to replace inefficient electric storage heating with modern gas combination boiler systems in more than 700 social rented homes across the Scottish Borders.
Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) has commissioned national contractor PH Jones to carry out the works, which should take two years to complete. PH Jones were awarded the contract through a specialist heating services procurement framework designed and managed by PfH Scotland, specialist providers of procurement services to the housing sector.
Expected to generate contract work with a cumulative value of around £600m over four years, the framework was launched in October 2017 to help registered social landlords meet their obligations under the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH). Under the standard, all social housing in Scotland must, as a minimum, meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band D by 2020. Latest available figures show there were around 47,000 units of social housing rated below EPC Band D in 2016, down from 66,000 in 2014, when the 2020 EESSH target was originally launched.
SBHA manages around 5,600 properties throughout the region. The majority of homes now receiving an upgrade as part of the new gas heating installation programme currently do not meet the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing. Many also do not have an active gas supply and Scottish Borders Housing Association will be making a further up-front investment to supply gas to these homes. As part of the works, fire safety measures in these homes will also be significantly enhanced with heat and smoke detectors and smoke alarms upgraded to conform to the latest standards.
Commenting on the launch of the new programme, Henry Coyle, Director of Customer Services at Scottish Borders Housing Association, said: “At Scottish Borders Housing Association, we take very seriously our responsibility to achieve continuous improvements in the energy efficiency of the homes we manage. Running over the next two years, PH Jones’ work will make a major contribution towards ensuring that all of our properties comply with the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing by 2020 — as well as delivering an important upgrade to fire safety measures in these homes. Awarding this contract to PH Jones through PfH Scotland’s specialist framework has also given us complete peace of mind that the works will be carried out to a consistently high standard — and at a suitably competitive price.”
Jonathan Walker, Electrical Contract Delivery Manager at PH Jones, commented: “We are really pleased to start work on this project, helping to make SBHA’s housing stock more energy efficient while also saving tenants money on their heating bills and enhancing their protection against the risk of fire. A lot of these homes are to be found in rural locations where access to a reliable gas supply can be challenging. It’s great that SBHA are making the upfront investment to supply gas to these homes so they can reap the benefits of replacing inefficient electric storage heating with a modern gas combination boiler system.”
Drew Moore, Technical Services Manager at PfH Scotland, added: “As the 2020 deadline for compliance draws closer, there are still a significant number of social rented properties across Scotland that do not yet meet the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing. PfH Scotland launched its specialist heating services procurement framework in October last year with the specific aim of helping registered social landlords meet their obligations under the standard. Covering more than one in eight SBHA properties, the contract with PH Jones will deliver big improvements in energy efficiency and big savings on heating costs for tenants.”
Scottish Borders Housing Association resident Ellen Sanderson said: “The work has made a big difference. The house was quite cold before, now it’s absolutely brilliant — a lot warmer. I’m told it’s a more efficient system, so I’m looking forward to making savings on my bills. It only took a day for all the gas fitting to be done, with a bit of joinery work after that to finish off. We are delighted.”