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Navigating the Construction Industry – a Guide for Householders (Routes to Retrofit) – May 2019

13/05/2019, 5:30 pm20/05/2019, 8:30 pm

Building a new home, extending or retrofitting an existing one? Taught by industry professionals, this course helps you navigate the construction industry, make the most of your budget and gaining the skills to select and manage quality contractors.

A two-part evening seminar (formerly known as ‘Routes to Retrofit’), this will help you turn your home improvement and construction plans into reality.

Excellent course, gave me a lot of info I needed… made me think about how important the planning phase is and has spurred me on to learn more.” – Participant 2017


Householders aware of what works and improvements they require, seeking to commission architects, builders and contractors. Ideal next step after a My Home Energy Planner retrofit assessment.


Gain an understanding of the importance of planning phase and common problems. Helps you find the right contractor at the right price. Useful for anyone undertaking a home contruction, self-build projects as well as those seeking to commission an eco-retrofit. 

What you will learn

  • Considering objectives, priorities and getting the best result.

  • Balancing time, cost and quality

  • Regulations, approvals, and consents

  • Which ‘professionals’ are needed – selection and appointment

  • Selecting and appointing builders and using contracts

  • Examining common pitfalls and avoiding them

  • Getting the most for the resources you have available

  • Exchanging ideas and energy with like-minded people – & sharing the pain!

Knowledge required

Understanding of retrofit basics, an understanding of your retrofit improvements*


Marianne Heaslip, URBED and Bill Taylor, Taylor Armitt Consulting. (Bio’s below)


***Limited number of discounted tickets available on a first come first serve basis. Use code 10OFFR2R***

Budgets for home construction and improvement works vary, so we are trialing a sliding scale pricing structure based on your renovation budget. Members will receive an additional 15% discount by using code MEMOFF15

  • You can book an additional place for your partners or housemates on a pay as you feel basis if space is available.

  • We accept payments in installments. 

  • Email info@carbon.coop to discuss. 

Routes To Retrofit is a part of Carbon Co-op’s Home Energy Training Programme, see more here: carbon.coop/training



Session 1

  • Your brief: Understanding and clarifying your aims, priorities, budget, programme and scope of works and expectations.

  • Your team: Overview of who might be involved in your project and when, and importance of clear communication.

  • Importance of the existing condition: Understanding where you’re starting from.

  • Funding Options: What’s available, possible combinations and restrictions.

  • Time, Cost and Quality: Getting the balance right and understanding the risks, and mitigating the energy efficiency ‘performance gap’.

  • Regulations and approvals: What you need to consider – planning, building regulations, party walls, health and safety etc. – and where responsibility lies.   

Session 2 

  • Appointing Professionals:

    • understanding what advice you need

    • range of different building professionals and their differing roles and responsibilities

    • examining quotes

    • forms of agreement

    • quality control

    • communications

  • Choosing and appointing builders and contractors:

    • Appropriateness for scope and type of work

    • culture and communication – information required

    • tender and selection processes

    • aftercare

  • Scheduling works: Whole house vs step-by-step, thinking about packages of works.

  • Contracts:

    • Forms of contract including overview of ‘traditional’ vs ‘contractor design’

    • Risk management – dealing with ‘unforeseen extras’

    • Defects, warranties and aftercare


Trainer biographies

Marianne Heaslip, URBED

Marianne is a chartered architect with interests in urban design, sustainability and participative design. She holds an MSc in Advanced Environment and Energy Studies from the Centre for Alternative Technology, and is a Certified Passive House Designer. Marianne has experience in both new build and retrofit projects at a range of scales, with a particular focus on low-energy and sustainable design. She worked on two of the pioneering TSB ‘Retrofit for the Future’ projects with the lessons learned through this work applied in her role on the Carbon Coop’s retrofit ‘Community Green Deal’ programme. She is currently working on a number of retrofit and refurbishment projects across the North West – including as a member of Terrace 21 cooperative in Granby, Liverpool, where she plans to live.

Bill Taylor – MD of Taylor Armitt Consulting

Bill is the MD of Taylor Armitt Consulting and has been working in affordable housing for over 30 years. With qualifications in Town & Country Planning and Housing Policy, he has held development and asset management roles to Director level in several housing associations, where he developed an interest in co-operative housing and social enterprise. He formed his own consultancy in 2009. Bill focuses on enabling energy efficient improvement of housing, advising companies on business strategy and tendering, issues around Corporate and Social Responsibility, and adding and demonstrating Social Value. Bill has worked extensively with Fusion21 (a social enterprise he helped to establish in 2001), developing of their ‘retrofit’ offer for social housing and the wider market. This provides procurement frameworks and client advice on funding, energy efficiency and resident involvement. It adopts Fusion21’s proven training and employment model to encourage clients and the supply chain to develop the workforce that will deliver retrofit into the future. Bill is a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor and a Green Deal Advisor. Bill also advises housing associations on development issues, from strategy and policy though to processes and delivery. He also assists housing associations, consultants and contractors with procurement issues. His work in social audit involves advising on delivering, measuring and reporting on ‘social value added’ and he is a Social Accountant and Auditor with the Social Audit Network.

Carbon Co-op

Carbon Co-op is a community benefit society made up of householder members seeking to make radical reductions in their household energy usage.

Membership costs £35/year, for more details and to apply visit: 


*NB If you are unsure of what needs to be done to make your house energy efficient you may want to consider commissioning a Carbon Co-op whole house assessment. Equally, these seminars are not for suppliers or contractors or professionals who offer services in retrofit design and delivery – householders are attending these seminars in order to receive impartial advice not sales pitches and we are happy to separately offer CPD services for professionals. 


10 Little Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1HR
Manchester, M1 1HR GB
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