Orbit, a major housing association managing 47,000 homes, has announced its search for a contractor to carry out a substantial £48m retrofit initiative aimed at decarbonising a significant portion of its housing stock.

This move comes as part of the association’s commitment to meeting the standards set by PAS 2035, a comprehensive specification tailored for whole-house retrofitting. The initiative’s primary phase, backed in part by the government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF), is set to be valued at approximately £16m. This phase will focus on the retrofit of 410 properties over a span of two years. However, based on tender documents, the overall contract’s value might escalate to a whopping £48m.

A detailed breakdown reveals that retrofitting costs for 160 of these homes will be met through funds from wave 2.1 of the SHDF. Additional retrofitting projects may either be financed through ECO 4 or be entirely footed by Orbit.

The housing association has laid out an initial plan spanning two years. However, there’s potential for extension, allowing for two additional periods of 24 months, contingent upon the programme’s progress and available funds. The retrofitting endeavours are slated to kick off in March 2024 and are expected to wrap up by September 2025.

This contract presents a golden opportunity for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Interested firms are encouraged to submit their bids by 23 November.

In related news, earlier in the year, Orbit bolstered its leadership team by welcoming Phil Andrew as its new group chief executive. Phil, formerly at the helm of the debt advice charity StepChange, joined the Orbit family in July.