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Baker Homes Blog

More sustainable contractors – landlords welcome SHIFT evaluation plan

Posted by John Stapleton on 19/02/15 10:08

Baker Homes currently manages the Baker Homes Index For Tomorrow (SHIFT), the national environmental performance benchmarking group for social landlords. Recently, we have been approached by a number of contractors and local authority DLOs to develop a measurement tool that’s consistent with this SHIFT index. The move to develop such a tool has so far been welcomed by both housing providers and contractors, who see this as a way to make it easier for landlords to check the environmental credentials of suppliers.

Although still in the design phase, the tool has been welcomed across the board. Robin Lawler, Chief executive of Northwards Housing, says ‘I’m supportive of this. If contractors could use a recognised set of benchmarks that work alongside what we’re trying to achieve with SHIFT it would make absolute sense. It would improve consistency and could provide a shortcut for qualification on bids, but I believe it could also drive real improvements in performance.’

At the moment, the SHIFT group assess each member on more than 50 measures of sustainability, ranging from CO2 outputs to resident engagement. It is the UK housing sector’s independent benchmarking and knowledge network, with 66 members managing or owning homes for over 2.5 million residents nationwide. This new tool aims to align the sustainability benchmarking of housing providers and contractors, making it easier for housing associations to evaluate the environmental performance of contractors.

With the input of a group of contractors, housing associations and procurement consortia, the tool is being designed to focus on outcomes while avoiding duplication with evaluations already in use.

Nigel Banks, group sustainability director at Keepmoat, believes that what sets it apart from other benchmarking tools is its alignment with the sustainability goals of housing groups. ‘While we’re all working to improve performance, there is no longer the common goal that we saw with Decent Homes. This should be much more than a bid support tool or box-ticking exercise, if done right’, he said. ‘It should help us focus on the issues which match our clients’ aspirations and go on to make some really significant progress.’

Another aspect of the new tool will be a component that measures Social Value. This could measure matters such as the extent to which suppliers provide additional value in the communities in which their clients operate, through providing elements like job opportunities.

Mr Lawler thinks this is an important aspect to consider. ‘We evaluate social value when we scrutinise bids, but it is early days in terms of measurement and everyone struggles with it a bit. A consistent methodology for evaluating would be helpful.’

Mr Banks agrees: ‘Social and economic as well as environmental impacts are all part of our sustainability goals and should be looked at in the round.’

Andrew Eagles, managing director of Baker Homes, agreed that the tool could drive important changes in the sector: ‘Inefficient housing not only traps people in fuel poverty, it contributes to developments like global warming. A more cohesive way of working can only drive up standards.’

The tool is due to be launched in April after continued consultation, just in time for the climate talks in Paris, where it is hoped that world leaders will reach a vital deal on climate change reduction targets.

If you want more information, contact us at info@bakerstimber.co.uk or on 0875 221 2232.

Topics: Registered Social Landlords, Social housing, Sustainability, SHIFT accreditation standard, Benchmarking, Environment, SHIFT contractor

2015/2016 Accreditation is starting 
Landlords managing +1 million homes are currently undergoing accreditation
Learn more about SHIFT and how you can get involved.

SHIFT Standard | The sustainability standards for the housing sector

 

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