Covid Stories – Retrofit Works

We’ve been incredibly impressed with the way so many Co-ops and Community businesses have managed through the Covid-19 situation and lockdown. The commitment to serving their communities and the resilience and ingenuity they have shown has been amazing!

We’ve spoken to a number of our clients about how they have managed – here we share the story of Retrofit Works, after speaking to Soren Nellegaard.

What was your immediate challenge?

The key bit was really that we depend a lot on going on site into people’s homes, both for the home assessment we do and the installations our contractor members do. So, we asked ourselves, how are we going to get into people’s homes? We also had a challenge with employees getting to the office. But we all have laptops and use cloud software, so we’ve been able to work relatively easily from home.

What did you do?

We made thorough risk assessments and reviewed what information and guidelines were available to make visits to homes COVID-19 safe. Government guidance at the time was pretty much non-existent so our MD, Russel Smith really dug into it. He thought really carefully and made a risk assessment and method for going into homes under various scenarios – considering how can we do it in a safe way, when is it impossible, when can it be ok, when does somebody need to be out of the house when we are there, for example.

Another thing we did was to create an online survey to start the process –the survey we need to design for a Whole House Plan requires an on-site survey but sometimes we can do quite a lot by starting with a remote survey. We offered it at a discounted price to get started and then when things got better then we could come and do the actual survey – this was an entirely new service which meant that we could build a pipeline of business.

What are you doing now?

We’re using our risk assessment and are pretty much back to normal – we’ve got our security protocols sorted out and so we’re back into homes doing surveys and helping people. A key thing we do before visiting is to send information to households before we go, which outline things the householders needs to do. There are differences depending on whether the person is shielding, the size of home, if there are multiple doors to gain access to the property, etc. Most typically, we ask people to ventilate their home properly before and after we are there, but now that winter is here it might be more difficult to get people to comply.

What are your plans moving forward?

We are very busy with delivering Green Home Grant installation in the Local Authority Delivery scheme. We have contracts in both East Sussex, Richmond and Wandsworth, which needs to be completed by the end of March. At the same time, our operations are normalising due to the precautions and risk assessments we do.