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What happens during a Property Retrofit Assessment?

Retrofit Assessment inside house

A Property Retrofit Assessment evaluates the existing conditions and energy performance of a building to identify opportunities for improvement and recommend appropriate retrofit measures. At APSL Group we have recently delivered over 500 Retrofit Assessments for social housing and charitable organisations. Delivered by our team of qualified assessors, our retrofit solutions are delivered in accordance with PAS 2035 and PAS 2038 guidance. 

Each Property Retrofit Assessment follows a structured approach with the key steps including:

  • Data Collection: Our assessor gathers information about the building, including its construction, insulation, heating systems, ventilation, and energy consumption data. This may involve reviewing existing documentation, conducting interviews with occupants, and performing on-site inspections.
  • Building Inspection: Our assessor conducts a visual inspection of the property, examining various components such as walls, roof, windows, doors, and heating systems. They assess the condition, insulation, and potential areas of heat loss or energy inefficiency.
  • Energy Performance Assessment: Using our analysis tool we calculate the building’s energy performance. This typically includes assessing energy consumption, carbon emissions, and calculating energy efficiency ratings such as Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) or other relevant metrics.
  • Occupant Behaviour and Comfort: Our assessor may gather information about the occupants’ behaviour and comfort levels to understand how they use the building and their requirements for a comfortable living or working environment. This helps in identifying potential areas for improvement and addressing occupant needs. This will always be discussed with our client to ensure they are happy with the approach and engagement with residents or building users.
  • Recommendations: Based on the data collected and analysis performed, we will provides recommendations for retrofit measures that can improve the building’s energy efficiency. This may include suggestions for insulation upgrades, heating system improvements, ventilation enhancements, renewable energy integration, or other energy-saving measures. The recommendations are tailored to the specific building and the occupants’ needs.
  • Cost and Benefit Analysis: We will provide estimates of the costs involved in implementing the recommended retrofit measures and the potential energy and cost savings that can be achieved. This analysis helps building owners or occupants make informed decisions regarding the feasibility and financial viability of the proposed retrofits.
  • Reporting: Compiling all the findings, recommendations, and analysis into a comprehensive report, the current energy performance, areas for improvement, and  a roadmap for the retrofit project will be detailed. The report may include a prioritized list of retrofit measures, estimated costs, potential energy savings, and any other relevant information.

Once completed APSL Group continues to support our customers continue with their Retrofit activities, developing detailed solutions and accessing funding required to implement the recommendations.

Contact APSL to discuss your properties and how we can support you manage your retrofit activities.

What’s the difference between PAS 2035 and PAS 2038?

Difference PAS 2035 and PAS 2038 houses on the street

PAS 2035 and PAS 2038 are both British standards that relate to energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment. The two British Standards share some similarities, but they each have their own distinct focus and objectives.

PAS 2035: Specification for the energy retrofitting of domestic buildings

PAS 2035 provides guidance for improving the energy efficiency and performance of existing domestic buildings, establishing a structured approach to assess, plan, and implement retrofit measures.

  • PAS 2035 focuses on the holistic improvement of building performance, considering factors such as thermal efficiency, heating systems, ventilation, and renewable energy sources.
  • It outlines a process for identifying retrofit opportunities, undertaking assessments, developing retrofit plans, and monitoring the outcomes to ensure the desired energy performance improvements are achieved.
  • PAS 2035 includes requirements for competency and accreditation of professionals involved in retrofit projects to ensure high-quality workmanship.

PAS 2038: Specification for managing the retrofitting of buildings for improved energy efficiency

PAS 2038, focusses on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with building operations by establishing a systematic approach to measure, report, and reduce emissions.

  • PAS 2038 covers a broader range of sectors and activities, including energy use, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, compared to the domestic focus of PAS 2035.
  • It provides a framework for organizations to quantify and report their emissions, set reduction targets, and implement measures to achieve those targets.
  • PAS 2038 encourages the consideration of broader environmental impacts, resource efficiency, and sustainable practices beyond energy efficiency alone.

Neither PAS 2035 or PAS 2038 are mandatory, but compliance with certain aspects of each Standard may be required to access specific government schemes, funding programs, or incentives related to energy efficiency and retrofitting. It is therefore recommended to consider both PAS 2035 and PAS 2038 when undertaking a retrofit project, it to ensure a comprehensive and well-managed approach.

As qualified and experienced professionals APSL Group provide guidance tailored to your specific needs, aligning the delivery of your projects with the goals, resources, and the specific requirements or incentives applicable to your organisation and properties.

Contact us today to discuss your property retrofit projects.

What did we learn from the NAO Condition of school buildings Report, and how does it affect your school?

NAO Condition of school buildings

In June 2023 the National Audit Office (NAO) released the Conditions of school buildings report. Covering the state schools in England, the report paints a concerning picture about the declining state school infrastructure.

In this article we discuss explain the main issues affecting the condition of schools across England and what this means for your school.

Concern 1: 38% of school buildings are beyond their design life

Across England the NAO found some 38% of schools to be beyond their estimated design life. 10,000 school buildings were constructed in 1940 and a further 13,800 buildings were constructed pre 1980 using a ‘system-built’ method, with a design life of 40 years. 3,600 of these system-built blocks have been identified as particularly susceptible to deterioration. While a building at the end of its design life can continue to be used, it typically is more expensive to maintain, and will suffer from poor energy efficiency, leading to higher operational costs. 

Concern 2: 700,000 pupils are learning in buildings requiring major rebuild or refurbishment

Research consistently demonstrates the impact physical learning environments has on  student performance and well-being. However the NAO report finds that 700,000 pupils are attending schools that suffer from inadequate heating, poor ventilation, and outdated facilities.  80% of schools are also known to have identified asbestos in their buildings. When carefully maintained, asbestos does not pose a significant health risk, but serious diseases can occur if asbestos is disturbed or damaged, meaning rebuild and refurbishment works must be planned carefully.

Concern 3: 14,900 schools constructed with concrete susceptible to failure

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) is a lightweight form of concrete. RAAC was identified as a potential issue in 2018 following a school safety incident.  14,900 schools have been identified for RAAC assessment, and 572 schools have so far been identified as potentially containing RAAC. DfE funding is available to schools with RAAC to enable immediate action.

Concern 4: Insufficient funding and ineffective spending

Since 2016/17 the DfE has spent on average £2.3bn on school buildings a year, a far cry from the £5.3bn it said was required. This lack of funding has undoubtably contributed the deterioration of schools across England. The report finds that while the allocation of funding has improved, more work is needed and surprisingly 15% of eligible schools did not apply for maintenance and repair funding between 2016/17 and 2022/23.  Where funding is allocated, the use of funds can be ineffective for example spending on urgent repairs, rather than planned maintenance which is typically less cost effective.

What does this mean for you school?

While the NAO report examines the performance of DfE, there are important learnings and actions for schools too.  As a matter of urgency schools potentially impacted by RAAC or system-built blocks should ensure they have followed up requested actions from either the DfE or local authority. It is also recommended that all school leaders ensure that they have an effective property strategy in place.  Asset management, school capacity planning, space utilisation, health and safety and technological improvements should all be captured. Financial planning including budget and funding strategy should also be considered, including funds for ongoing planned maintenance, as well as refurbishments and upgrades.

Help and support It’s important to remember you don’t need to do this alone. APSL Group are experts in built environment, helping schools reduce the cost of property, while ensuring facilities support students and staff needs. Working with school leaders we develop and deliver comprehensive property strategies for schools.  Addressing everything from urgent safety and compliance issues, through to long-term school improvements, and backed by innovative fundings solutions, APSL create environments to support better learning outcomes.

Funding Solution for Local Authority Maintained Schools

What did they need? 

Due to ongoing under investment the schools were poorly maintained and as a result provided a poor learning environment.

What did APSL do? 

Working across 4 schools APSL completed asset reviews for lighting, heating and fabric. Assessing the potential for renewable technology APSL developed decarbonisation plans for the schools. 

APSL then  supported the schools  to implement the plans, obtaining external private finance and funding, procuring contractors and project managing the installation of the identified measures in the schools. APSL also provided an independent construction assessor to ensure compliance.


Following the success at 4 schools, decarbonisation plans are now being rolled-out across 25 schools.  £750k of improvement works have been delivered to date, These ‘as-a-service’ fully funded solutions, have no capital costs for the schools and no ongoing maintenance costs.

A Net Zero Strategy for a Social Housing Provider

What did they need? 

The client had a 30-year asset management strategy, but this focussed on maintenance issues and did not address how they were going to meet the Governments 2050 Net Zero target. 

What did APSL do? 

APSL worked with key stakeholders to develop a net zero strategy. The in-depth review included: 

  • An interview with their Board, CEO and other stakeholders 
  • Engagement with managers to understand the buildings and their operational needs 
  • A review of their current Asset Management Strategy
  • A review of finance and funding routes to support their transition plan


APSL developed an outline business case and strategy, linked to their current asset management plan. This was presented to and approved by the Board and Executives. Through the plan the client now has visibility of suitable funding routes and a strategy to reach net  zero ahead of 2050. 

Emergency Lighting Solution for a School in Birmingham

What did they need? 

With only 2 working units in the school, the client needed a full review of their emergency lighting. 

What did APSL do? 

To ensure the school was fully compliant APSL completed a full re-design of their emergency lighting system. Issues identified in their latest Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) were also incorporated. 

As the works needed to take place during term time APSL worked with the School Business Manager to plan the installation, ensuring disruption to the school and the learning environment was minimised.


The new emergency lighting solution addressed the serious issues identified in the EICR report and means the school is offering a safe, compliant environment for their staff and the pupils. 

Lighting remanufacture in social housing

creating sustainable communities

We’ve just finalised a trial in APSL Group for lighting remanufacture in Social Housing. Reduced operating costs from £22k/annum down to £8,300/annum, saving £13,700, along with 63% Carbon Reduction against a new LED fitting by utilising the remanufacturing process, rather than buying new.

Couple this with our ‘Lighting As A Service’ contract, means Zero Capital Cost for the client and products are fully maintained for 7 years.

Hackitt & how the independent construction assessor role will provide assurance to your projects

Hackitt review and the independent assessor

With the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) due to consult in Spring on its proposals for implementing the findings of the Hackitt Review, APSL Group Managing Director, Chris Hall, gives his views about the likely changes to regulations and their implications.

In Spring 2022, the DLUHC is planning to consult on its proposals for implementing Hackitt.  We understand the department is likely to propose amendments to the CDM regulations for the design and construction phases of a building’s life cycle and a Building Safety Registration System for buildings in occupation.

A new general duty of ‘promoting building safety and the safety of persons in and about buildings’ is likely to apply through design, construction and occupation. This general duty is an evidential test, applying to all those involved in the building before, during and after construction.

Demonstrable support for the general duty is likely to draw incentives and where the regulator can demonstrate the general duty has been undermined, it will have the power to intervene. Interventions will be designed with the objective of securing compliance and ensuring the general duty is promoted through, for example, remediation of a building safety risk.

As a result, dutyholders will need to compile evidence of due diligence to demonstrate to the regulator that they are proactively promoting the general duty. Dutyholders and the

regulator may consider that an Independent Construction Assessor will be one way to: mitigate the risk of the construction of the project falling short of its design; demonstrate to

the regulator that construction has been overseen by a demonstrably competent, independent professional, and receive assurance that the construction meets building regulations and the requirements of the design.

In occupation, the dutyholder may wish to develop their evidence of due diligence to demonstrate to the regulator that they are promoting the general duty by asking an Independent Construction Assessor to sign a statement confirming that any maintenance work undertaken meets professional standards and the requirements set out in the documentation wherein it was instructed and specified.

It is likely that the DLUHC will propose that the dutyholder requirement applies to all types of building.  The Independent Construction Assessor’s role will be to support the client in ensuring continuity of oversight through the life of the project.  Key attributes of the Independent Construction Assessor must be the ability to engage as far as is resonably practicable in a way that it has no conflict of interest. For example, the assessor should not be employed by the contractor.

Ultimately, an Independent Construction Assessor should engaged by the client to:

  • Assemble evidence – on items including design, regulations and maintenance regimes
  • Engage early (from design stage)
  • Act with authority – providing recommendations to the contractor and client regarding best practice improvements
  • Carry professional indemnity insurance which is independent of all other parties
  • Act on any type of project including new build, refurbishment and change of use

To learn more about our Independent Construction Assessor service, please contact us.

New professional services consultancy invests up to 75% of profits to communities

hand coming together for local communities

New professional services consultancy, APSL Group, is to invest up to 75% of its divestible profits into local communities in what is believed to be an unparalleled commitment to the delivery of social value.

Established by an experienced team of industry professionals, APSL Group focuses on the creation of sustainable communities by enabling clients to deliver their carbon reduction targets and reinvesting profits into the communities in which their clients live and work.

Chris Hall, managing director for APSL Group, comments: “Like many professional services consultancies we offer the full range of funding, compliance, asset management, and project delivery solutions but unlike other companies, we take a more innovative approach to service delivery and sustainability. 

“Via the provision of innovative solutions and technologies for project delivery, we can assist clients on their journey to net zero while our decision to reinvest profits into local community projects underlines our commitment to the creation of sustainable communities and the wider values we hold as a team.”

Working with a wide range of public and private sector organisations, APSL Group will operate in sectors including social housing, education, healthcare, manufacturing and commercial properties.

APSL to provide a full service offering

APSL group provide full service offering

APSL Group is to provide a complete range of funding, compliance, asset management, and project delivery solutions for the creation of sustainable built environments and the delivery of net zero.

Core services include: Cost management; programme and project management; independent construction assessor; strategic property asset management; statutory compliance, and a range of integrated solutions and funding options which enable  carbon reduction.

More information can be obtained by contacting our team on 0121 828 5680.