Carl Dodd of FMB member company, Property Revolutions Limited (PRL), began offering retrofit services to clients back in the 1990s, long before ‘retrofit’ became a buzzword.
Since offering new style retrofit in 2017, Carl Dodd – who sits on the FMB Central Area Board – has seen retrofit enquiries grow year on year. Carl is clear that this signals a massive shift in what clients now expect in remodelling and extension projects.
“Energy efficiency and refurbishment is rooted in our origins, as I was working as a project manager for large scale social programmes. It wasn’t called retrofit in 1992, although the aims were similar, we can see that the public is now very familiar with the retrofit term and that’s proved a great bonus for the types of projects we are invited to work on,” says Carl.
The whole house retrofit process
PRL is on a mission to ‘join the dots’ and make the whole house retrofit process beneficial for everyone: from builders, to designers, surveyors and the clients. Carl explains: “We start with the view that professional builders, such as FMB members, are the key to success. However, because of the more detailed requirements of retrofit, PRL has spent the last four years upskilling and coaching others in retrofit; adding very specific techniques and assistance to trades (and the client) so that the team can deliver success in a much more linear and cohesive way.”
With the PRL approach, builders take part in multiple, complex projects that can be at scale, or larger individual projects with new building materials and sustainable ideas. It’s a forward-looking ethos that PRL is known for.
From its inception in 2007, PRL was envisaged to be revolutionary in the way that it works. Carl believes that retrofitting homes and properties is the next big frontier. More than the simpler refurbishment programs of the 1990s, retrofit is now a new way of thinking. It means understanding not just the house as a whole system (disconnected processes/building techniques have unintended consequences) but as a system of customer care, information flow, on-site quality control and the monitoring of arrangements after the work is done.
An integrated way of working
A 2021 FMB Master Builder Award winner, PRL is continually ‘breaking new ground’ in the way that it works.
“We have an integrated approach to what we do; it’s designed to benefit our clients and the properties they live in because the teams we work with and coach are able to deliver exactly what the client needs,” Carl says.
“Retrofit is maturing into a whole industry. Typically, new ideas have teething problems, but we find that with our in-depth knowledge and competency of the whole team, we are the trusted partner in any project. All of the people that we coach in retrofit work alongside us, and know we are very proud to be a professional FMB Member. We ensure they are properly vetted and validated, and, if appropriate, we help them also aspire to be members. Being an FMB Member gives a stamp of approval that is so very valued with clients and the rest of the team.”
A shared passion for retrofit projects
Carl Dodd believes that there should be no barrier between the builders and the designers; no ‘wall’ that separates them. The way to do this is to give equal billing to all of the team. PRL retrofit is about taking care of the details and believes in using smart people using smart tools.
Carl Dodd clarifies: “PRL is passionate about retrofit; that’s our focus. Every project we are involved with benefits from our conscientious approach. We enjoy working in Joint Ventures with SME builders and collaborate on many of our projects, because we champion the ‘collaborative-win-win’ way of working. We are reaching out to FMB builders so that they can get up to speed with retrofit and be specialist professionals with enhanced services they can offer to clients. After all, we have over 20 million properties to get down to Net Zero Carbon by 2050. We have to pull together and get it done, for the sake of our kids and the planet.”
PRL’s varied and interesting portfolio of projects are always greener, but, more importantly, the team share what they do with like-minded professionals and trades to expand the remit of quality builders. A sample of case studies can be seen on the PRL website.
How are regulations changing?
New regulations coming into force since the tragic events of Grenfell Tower, will mean that not only will the public and clients be more aware of the golden thread of responsibilities, safety and professional duties from start to finish, but it will apply to every project that requires building regulations approval. So, what does this mean for a retrofit project?
The key document that outlines the whole system approach is ‘PAS 2035:2022: Retrofitting Dwellings for Improved Energy Efficiency’ (as sponsored by the UK Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).
The PAS isn’t yet mandatory for private clients in general, but it does reflect where the industry is heading in terms of quality standards on how to conduct effective energy retrofits of existing buildings. It covers how to identify improvements known as Energy Efficiency Measures (EEM), and importantly allows time to monitor retrofit projects performance against the intended design. Essentially, this implies a much greater responsibility on the principal contractor to get it right the first time and put right any errors identified by the Retrofit Co-ordinator. The standard drives the 'whole house as a system approach' including the 'fabric first' methodology.
Achieving carbon neutral status
To show their commitment to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’ PRL will become carbon neutral this year.
“We will reach our next target, which is Net Zero Carbon by 2027. We know we can achieve this goal, too. We have systematically set goals for PRL since it was founded. Our remit then remains the same as now: we made a conscious decision to be fundamentally green from the ground up. We exclusively focus on green and sustainable concepts, techniques, and materials. Being a green company with a purpose means that all of our projects have low carbon as the primary ambition,” says Carl.
The future will only get brighter for Property Revolutions Limited, as it is steered on a clear path to more innovative collaborations into 2022 and beyond. For more information, email [email protected] or visit property-revolutions.com.
Photos supplied of PRL retrofit projects.