With the Green Deal set to begin in October, and the government’s plans now finalised, the BWF attended a Green Deal Shadow Group Meeting hosted by the Construction Products Association in order to better understand progress on the deal and get an indication of how it might work for industry.
The workshop included a presentation from Paul Roche of the Grafton Group, the 3rd largest builders and plumbers merchant group in the UK, with 80% of their customer base consisting of SMEs. The company, whose other brands include Buildbase, Selco and Jackson Building Centres, were one of 22 who signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to become the first Green Deal providers.
Paul sent a message to DECC that the scheme would have less chance of succeeding if the certification requirements were too costly, and that they would need to work hard to ensure that SME’s were given the opportunity. It would be vital for the brokerage scheme to be robust and well funded.
With the business models for companies involved in the Green Deal so far untested, three possible models were suggested at the meeting:
• A ‘one stop shop’ Green Deal Provider offering in-house assessor, installer, finance
• A national brand who would market, manage contracts and provide finance for Green Deal measures, with local SME’s contracted to carry out the installation.
• Local SMEs marketing the Green Deal through existing customer networks (or while carrying out other work on a property), with a trade body/national brand acting as the Green Deal Provider.
BWF Policy Executive Matt Mahony, who attended the meeting, commented,
“Green Deal providers are likely to select the products and brands used, so this is clearly a key relationship for manufacturers of Green Deal eligible products to foster. The providers, who in many cases, will be under national brands, hold all the aces and BWF members will have to network if they want to become manufacturers or installers. It is also crucial to ensure that their products meet the requirements in order to have them registered in the product differentiation database. Consumers and providers will be of course be looking for products which are easy to install, cheap and high performance.
We just don’t know how the market will take to the project. DECC are hopeful that the Green Deal will trigger interest in other improvements and are raising the prospect of large scale area based installations and partnership opportunities to offer whole house solutions. Bulk discounts in such cases may enable more products to meet the Golden Rule.
With the launch date looming, there is still a lot to clarify, not least the question of how the business models will work, and how the assessment costs will fit into that, so I suspect that we will see a gradual rise in activity from the launch of the deal, as opposed to the floodgates opening for Green Deal purchases"
With the target date for the Green Deal for residential properties only a few months away, and the deal for business properties set to follow soon after, the BWF has been actively engaging with potential Green Deal providers in order to establish how membership can get the most out of the initiative.