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Sutton Council forced into £1.6 million contract for energy efficiency works

Sutton Council was forced to hand out a contract worth more than £1.6 million to the only company that successfully applied.

The authority was looking for a business to upgrade the energy efficiency of 75 properties it owns.

It has awarded the contract to Sustainable Building Solutions Ltd.

The total cost includes £879,879 of grant funding from the government’s  Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

At a meeting of the council’s housing, economy and business committee on Tuesday night (October 18) Nilavra Mukerji, SHP’s director of asset investment and sustainability, admitted it had been difficult to find a company to carry out the energy efficiency works.

Mr Mukerji said: “It has not been an easy procurement. We received eight expressions of interest of which there were two in the running and unfortunately we had one of those two pull out at the 11th hour leaving us with one tender.

“That was unfortunate, so we interviewed the tender again about their capacity to deliver.”

Chair of the committee, Councillor David Bartolucci,  admitted: “I am still a bit nervous, when we get down to that one option we are kind of over a barrel a little bit here.”

Mr Mukerji said if the council did not go with the one contractor available it would face losing the government grant money, which will fund half of the improvements.

He added: “It is not ideal to only have one contractor.

“The choice we face we can either deliver this or lose the grant and the opportunity to do it.

“We will be managing the programme very tightly and inspecting the project at every step.”

The contract was agreed and work is expected to start straight away and get completed on the 75 homes by spring 2023. 

It will include wall and loft insulation as well as triple glazing.

The meeting also heard that the council was due to make £320 million of investment into revamping council houses over the next 30 years.

The council owns 6,500  properties in total and these along with 1,500 leasehold properties in Sutton are managed by the Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP), an arms-length company set up by the council in 2006.

Overall the energy efficiency of council homes in the borough is “below the sector average” with around 40 per cent of homes having a D energy efficiency rating.

The committee also approved a contract of nearly £4 million with Chigwell London Ltd to upgrade bathrooms and kitchens of council homes.

SHP is set to revamp 367 new kitchens and 489 new bathrooms through the contract.

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