18 suppliers have won spots on a Social Housing Emerging Disruptors (SHED) framework launched by Procurement for Housing so social landlords can compliantly procure cutting edge, innovative services and technologies to support with retrofit, development and fire safety targets. The framework is worth up to £100m over three years.
Challenges posed by Covid, materials and labour shortages, plus surging demand for low carbon, building safety and development works have created an unparalleled environment for housing providers. This is forcing them to search for fresh, non-traditional solutions to deliver competing strategic objectives.
Public sector procurement has traditionally been seen as a barrier to innovation, introducing processes and bureaucracy that make it harder to buy emerging solutions from entrepreneurial SMEs and micro-organisations.
Fledgling suppliers are unable to scale their solutions and invest in further innovation because buying teams can’t procure services compliantly under existing rules.
Procurement for Housing has addressed these issues by creating a framework that is flexible, future-proof and light touch in terms of paperwork and procedure. A dedicated SHED portal will enable housing providers to conduct a simple desk-based supplier selection process. The portal will identify the supplier that can best meet their needs and PfH’s procurement team will provide pricing information and support the contracting process.
Innovators appointed to the SHED framework include Bimdl, a blockchain-backed building information modelling (BIM) solution; Power Circle Projects, which provides democratised, decentralised low carbon smart energy solutions; Chameleon Digitization an organisation using machine learning to spot dangerous gas canisters being taken into high rise buildings; Q-Bot, a robotic underfloor insulation installer and Green Action Trust which supports social landlords to improve the sustainability of their local environment.
PfH worked with the Proptech Innovation Network to find suppliers at the forefront of housing technology, data and software solutions and service design to join the framework.
A second generation SHED2 framework is due to launch in the Autumn of 2022. It will bring to market those innovations developed since the first framework launched.
Neil Butters, head of procurement at PfH said:“Over the past 12 months, our members have been telling us about the perfect storm of challenges they’re facing with global supply chain disruption, a widespread skills crisis and huge pressure to meet fire safety, net zero and house building targets. There is urgent need for innovation that can help them address these problems, but public procurement regulations just haven’t caught up. Housing providers can’t compliantly buy the innovative services they need.”
“The government is currently changing public procurement rules, but that reform might not come into force until 2023. We wanted to be brave and unpick the challenges around procuring innovation which is still a fairly intangible, transient category of goods and services. It was important we did that here and now for the sector, rather than sitting on our hands – no one else is really tackling it.”
“Many of the suppliers we’ve appointed to the framework are small or micro businesses. We wanted to unlock their services for the social housing sector – these are pioneering, future-thinking organisations, many with a focus on sustainability or building safety. The SHED is about PfH supporting social landlords to identify and adopt innovation that will improve the lives of tenants.” For further information about the SHED framework visit https://procurementforhousing.co.uk/shed/