PAS 2035: Flawed and by ’PAS’sed

The new framework was brought in to ensure high-quality retrofit projects is already facing cut corners and industry-wide bypassing.

PAS2035 was released as a response to the findings found within the Each Home Counts Review. The review identified current flaws as well as potential long-term problems with energy-efficient construction projects.

As of July 2021, retrofit projects that receive any form of government grant funding must adhere to the new specification.

This new publicly available specification would see the introduction of five new roles; most importantly the implementation of an accredited retrofit coordinator, which would oversee each stage and hold responsibility for the project’s entirety.

Businesses have struggled to adapt to the latest specification, most notably due to the costs that can build up rapidly. Rather than the costs involved within the specification being subsidised, they are instead eating into the funds available.

The new roles brought in require upskilling and training of the workforce to accreditation level in order to be compliant. Course costs to achieve this are unfortunately not cheap, making training a workforce an expensive exercise.

An alternative option some are using is to find accredited retrofit coordinators to sign off on projects without being truly involved within the end to end process.

Furthermore, simple installation of energy efficiency measures in a retrofit project now typically require ventilation upgrades as well as in-depth retrofit assessments.

With the extra steps and drastically increased capital cost, could it be said that businesses are being forced to walk away from helping fuel poor households under the grant schemes as it is no longer viable?

The retrofit industry has also seen the adoption of software systems put in place to help handle the administrative elements. To streamline the process, the use of software has been incorporated into business approaches to retrofit projects.

However, many are finding that projects conducted using certain software could be non-compliant with the PAS2035 standard without realising it. 

This is due to the coordinator not being involved in the project until after the retrofit assessment has taken place. Whereas PAS states, the Risk Assessment (undertaken by the coordinator) determines the Risk Path, the Risk Path determines the type of assessment required.

 How can this be done after the dwelling assessment? 

The Coordinator is responsible for conducting the Risk Assessment and supervising the dwelling assessment. By providing retrospective rubber-stamping of projects for as little as £25, some accredited coordinators are facilitating this #byPASsing approach. Rendering a vital element of PAS2035 is useless!

Given the widespread adoption of such software, is it possible that a large proportion of retrofit projects will be deemed non-compliant? If there is, how will all of these non-compliant projects be policed properly and will Trustmark act?

PAS2035 and the governance processes need to be reviewed to squash these flaws or there could be an industry-wide scandal impacting housing across the nation, with the historic failings of retrofit returning once again.