On International Women’s Day, the Simply team are celebrating the achievements and contributions of women within the construction and utility sectors.

Despite being in a male-dominated industry, there is a growing movement to encourage more women to enter these fields and break down barriers.

Our Managing Director, Alex, is a strong advocate for gender diversity and believes that empowering women in this industry is one of the key ways in which we can address the issues that we are facing in our supply chain.

“It’s an absolute honour to be working with such a diverse group of people – across nationalities, ages and gender at Simply.

We are working very hard to increase the supply chain with talented, hardworking, and qualified people and I’m excited to see that there is an increase of women coming through the doors as either a candidate on one of our courses or as a leader gaining certification for their organisation. Which is a fantastic positive move forward within the industry.

I have to pinch myself every so often to make sure it’s all real – that we have come this far and been so successful in such a short space of time. This could not have been achieved without all the hard work, resilience, and loyalty of the brilliant people in the Simply team.”

Just under 50% of Simply employees are women who come from diverse backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience and creativity to the table This has allowed us to approach challenges with a range of innovative solutions. These women are not only dedicated professionals but also strong supporters of gender equality and empowerment in the workplace.

They actively mentor and support each other, fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment. Their unique perspectives and ideas have been instrumental in driving our Simply’s success and growth.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the trailblazing women in the Construction & Utility industry.

A leading construction training provider has been awarded funding to deliver home decarbonisation training across the UK as part of the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Scheme (HDSTC).

Expedient Training has been named as a chosen provider to deliver training to support home decarbonisation ahead of net zero 2050.

The company, based in Jarrow is one of fifteen providers selected to deliver training courses and the only one based in the North East.

The company, which delivers qualifications, training and NVQ’s to low carbon installers across the UK has been awarded £586,000 funding to support installers operating across the various Department for Energy Security and Net Zero retrofit schemes.

The Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition (HDSTC) provides grant awards to a range of training organisations in England to increase the number of retrofit installers to help the UK Government hit its 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation targets.

Expedient Training was acquired by Simply Certification Ltd and UK National in 2023 to support the increase of qualified and competent people and organisations within the supply chain around Retrofit.

As part of the scheme, Expedient Training will deliver

  • NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Building Treatments and Insulation,
  • Level 5 Diploma in Retrofit Coordination and Risk Assessment,
  • Level 3 Certificate for Retrofit Assessors,
  • Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency for Older and Traditional Buildings and
  • Level 2 Award in Understanding Domestic Retrofit.

Training will be delivered using a mix of online and practical training.

Expedient has already confirmed that they will be working with some of the UK’s major construction companies, which includes providing training support to Wates to upskill their employees and supply chain.

£8.85m of grant funding has been made available through the competition, facilitated by the Midlands Net Zero Hub, with an expected 8,000 courses delivered through this second phase of the competition.

Alexandra Gates, MD of Simply Certification and Expedient Training said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be named as a training provider for this vital decarbonisation fund. When we acquired Expedient Training we wanted to focus on increasing green skills across the region and beyond, supporting the UK’s net zero targets but also training the next generation of low carbon installers- and this fund is one step closer to achieving this.

The UK is on a mission to decarbonise, and this will support so many who wish to enter the industry for the first time or upskill in what is set to be a strong and solid career choice for many years to come. We are excited to get started and hope this is the start of many wins for us.”

Ben Williams Head of Zero Carbon Retrofit of Wates states:

“We have enjoyed the support of Simply Certification over this last two years to help us increase our supply chain capacity around energy efficiency retrofit. The fact that they have extended their offering further into training by acquiring Expedient Training and then gone on to be successful in this bid is great news for the industry.

The need for more competent and qualified installers and retrofit professionals is growing dramatically. The end-to-end services that Simply are now delivering through training and certification will certainly help us to achieve this.”

Training courses through Expedient Training are due to launch end of October 2023 and run until March 2023.

Register your interest today.

In this article, Alexandra Gates, managing director of Simply Certification, takes a look at what measures the construction needs to take to meet carbon net zero targets

Let’s not beat around the bush; the UK is nowhere near hitting its carbon net zero targets.

Government rhetoric, reticence to act and miscommunication have resulted in ‘the UK failing to make progress on the net zero transition on nearly every measure’ according to the 2023 Progress Report issued by the Climate Change Committee.

24 million houses need to be retrofitted by 2050

This equates to 71,500 domestic retrofits delivered every month.

The number of homes receiving energy efficiency improvements under the government’s Energy Company Obligation scheme more than halved, from 383,700 in 2021 to 159,600 in 2022, despite the target now equating to between 1-2 million home upgrades per year. Something doesn’t add up.

If we are to tackle the retrofit targets in the UK, then the industry needs to create a consortium of forward-thinking businesses, ready to take on the challenges of carbon net zero within the built environment.

It is only by seeing beyond the immediate and the tactical that we will get anywhere near where we need to be.

Why is a business approach to carbon net zero needed?

If we do not hit the targets set, irreparable damage may be done to our environment- which will cost us more than money.

Let’s first tackle the elephant in the room- the cost-of-living crisis.

If we are to tackle this, then investing in future technology and retrofit may seem counter-intuitive; but this is a long-game. Healthier and more energy-efficient homes will negate much of the cost of heating, ventilating and maintaining a home.

The issue then, is not one of the cost-of-living but the cost to improve living- and who is willing to pay for it.

In my mind- and as is often the case, the private sector needs to lead the charge. A robust understanding of the shortfalls and gaps in the market is needed. The retrofit targets aren’t being met on two fronts, one is economic, one is supply.

There is currently a shortfall of 150,000 retrofit professionals

It is estimated that there is currently a shortfall of 150,000 retrofit professionals, 3000 retrofit co-ordinators and only 5% of the plumbing and heating workforce trained on installing heat pumps.

‘Retrofit’ standards and registrations include MCS, PAS 2030, PAS 2035, PAS 2038 and TrustMark. These standards have been developed to ensure installation does what it should and helps to achieve energy efficiency targets, reduce energy bills, make buildings healthier and positively impact people’s personal budgets.

With the upcoming changes to Awaab’s Law later this year following his tragic death, there has never been a more important time to focus on healthier homes. But there is a huge shortfall of energy efficient installers – and it’s only through partnerships that that we will convince companies to act in time.

The foundations have been laid for working partnerships already – to a high degree of success. Larger contractors are upgrading void stock to well above the government EPC rating of C and manufacturers are releasing products that will tackle the damp, mould and cost-of-living crisis in one go.

But to make this work, it requires an end-to-end training, certification, installation and re-training programme. This will ensure that future installs are compliant and installer businesses are training the next generation of fitters.

A Blueprint for success: From certification to a decarbonised nation

As an industry, we need to be lobbying the government to incentivise existing companies to upskill, encourage new entrants to the burgeoning market and open up supply chain opportunities for smaller contractors with sustainability at their heart.

We need to be educating these companies on a regular basis – through a national network of events designed to demystify the compliance and certification process and collaborating with larger construction players to open up opportunities for new build and retrofit installations.

Improving clarity around certification

Compliance and certification companies are working to demystify the certification process. At the coal face we see reticence to go through certification as it is deemed too hard or too compliance heavy.

A lot of our enquiries are from companies that are not yet ready for certification, so we have worked hard to build up a network of reliable partners to help de-complicate the process.

Usually, compliance issues arise with insurance backed guarantees, training and qualifications, process or procedures – issues that can be solved with a straight-forward, step-by-step approach.

Once we have all the factors in place, the timeline to gain certification can be reduced from six months to six weeks – creating flow at the top of the funnel. But as well as breaking down the barriers, we must be looking to build bridges. If we are to meet these numbers, we need to develop watertight supply chains from the certification company to the end user.

Manufacturers, housing providers, and contractors need to amplify communication with the public

Not enough has been done at the top to communicate the opportunity, and the urgency of it, for the retrofit market, so compliance auditors, certification companies, manufacturers, contractors and housing providers need to be working together to amplify this through engagement and education.

Great examples of this include ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and joint awareness sessions with primary contractors and their supply chains, which have been extremely effective in increasing the number of contractors gaining their certification.

Larger contractors need to partner with smaller contractors

The ‘Eco’ industry was driven largely by installers that specialised in energy-efficiency funded work direct with the homeowner. Unfortunately, a few bad apples caused it to be dogged with a poor reputation, which has put off a good proportion of contractors from entering the market.

However, we are now seeing a shift towards new entrants, driven by large primary contractors who are growing their supply chains to include smaller companies.

Having the support of these larger contractors is creating trust and confidence for smaller players, encouraging them to take that leap of faith into retrofit, which is a fantastic stepping – stone into the world of ECO-funded works.

By partnering with agile smaller contractors, large players can deploy the qualified teams necessary to hit lofty targets.

What’s next on the road to carbon net zero?

The supply chain needs many more people and organisations to get involved in Energy Efficiency Retrofit if the UK is to meet its carbon net zero targets.

When contractors have an order book full for a year of their ‘bread and butter’ work, the perceived hassle and cost of gaining the relevant certification and registrations to operate under energy-efficiency funding schemes starts to look less attractive. But to future-proof their business, there is a blueprint and support network available, meaning there are no real barriers to entry.

It’s vital that the larger contractors, housing professionals and mortgage providers help drive the message that the UK needs more contractors to upskill into this market, whilst encouraging future generations. The opportunities are fantastic and future-forward.


‘Compliance’ and ‘certification’: two words that will likely instil dread into most people who are busy building or running a business. Unless you are a die-hard, process-driven detail person, the very idea of analysing your entire business to find holes to plug is probably an exceptionally daunting nice-to-have (but only when you have someone else to do it).

The problem is that big contractors and public sector bodies are increasingly asking businesses to prove that they have the systems and processes in place, not only to conform to operational standards but also to environmental ones. In the run-up to 2050, this won’t just be a nice-to-have; it will be a business survival necessity within many sectors.

We have seen a massive upswing in companies coming to us, triggered by the need to qualify for a contract. Often, certification is seen as a nuisance or a barrier to entry. However, embedding processes to meet recognised best practices can have a huge positive effect on business.

“Embedding processes to meet recognised best practices can have a huge positive effect on business.”

Yes, gaining certification proves to stakeholders that the business operates to international standards and yes, it can open business opportunities through contracts and tender wins. But what companies tend to forget is that, although creating compliance systems can feel like a chore, what they are really doing is creating failsafe procedures for business optimisation – for anybody within the business. Processes literally oil the parts that make the engine run efficiently.

“Processes literally oil the parts that make the engine run efficiently.”

The market is awash with opportunity for those companies that take the time to get this right – and smart companies are doing it now. Currently there is a huge shortage of certifie companies to tackle many of the challenges thrown up by the 2050 Carbon Net Zero deadline.

The opportunity now

It doesn’t matter which industry you operate in; certification is already a badge of quality. But with the 2050 Carbon Net Zero deadline approaching, certification will go from nice-to-have to must-have. From environmentally-sound policies and procedures, to cybersecurity, data processing, healthy buildings and happier workforces – this has gone beyond a certificate gathering dust on a wall. Carbon Net Zero is not just about a company reducing environmental impact; it’s about all parts of a business working together to make it run better for the future.

Go one level deeper and the opportunities within each sector are astonishing. In the residential market alone, over twenty-four million homes need to be retrofitted ahead of the deadline, equating to 71,500 domestic retrofits every month. The government has announced that nineteen million of those will be complete by 2035, which is a rate of 131,000 a month. That means a knock-on opportunity for any business involved with the recruitment, training, supply chain or marketing of those businesses.

In short – the opportunity is massive.

The opportunity for the future

By putting processes in places that are auditable, you can scale up, perform better, reduce risk and train the next generation of team members in both the operational standards and mindset of continuous improvement – which builds vital business longevity.

It is easier to grow a business that has procedures in place – any good accountant will tell you that. Processes and procedures allow you to spot improvement opportunities, saving valuable resources. It also encourages employee engagement – after all, if you give your team the tools to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, surely that has a positive effect on morale, productivity and pride in the job. Moreover, having a third-party impartial audit is also beneficial because it provides a critical friend – a helping hand to improve your business now – and for the future.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has welcomed Simply Certification, its newest contractor certification body (CB), for the installation of small-scale renewables.

Simply Certification is the second CB appointed by MCS since 2022. It now offers MCS certification alongside APHC, NICEIC, HETAS, OFTEC, NAPIT and the IAA.

Since becoming UKAS (UK Accreditation Service) accredited in April to assess contractors to MCS standards, Simply’s client base of over 200 construction organisations and any new clients it attracts can now gain MCS certification to install low-carbon technologies to the highest standards.

It is now licensed under MCS to deliver assessments for air source heat pumps (ASHP) ground/water source heat pumps (G/WSHP), solar PV and solar heating technologies.

Simply Certification is recognised for its ethos around quality and supportive approaches to certification, MCS accreditation complements its existing offering which benefits from its industry partnerships.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, says, “We are pleased to broaden our selection of certification bodies and increase choice for contractors who want to gain MCS certification by welcoming Simply Certification to the scheme.

“Simply Certification join us at an exciting and pivotal time in MCS’s history as we launch our Scheme Redevelopment Consultation. This is inviting views on proposals to transform the way that the scheme operates. Simply Certification will allow MCS to expand our industry reach, and help us to champion quality and grow the number of MCS certified contractors.”

Alexandra Gates, Managing Director at Simply Certification, says, “We’re delighted to gain UKAS accreditation to certify contractors against the MCS standards. We’ve worked exceptionally hard to put in place an MCS assessor infrastructure that ensures the highest degrees of responsiveness and have a wide-reaching base of assessors stretching from Scotland down to the Isle of Wight. This latest achievement is a testament to the amazing team we have at Simply Certification.

“Our mission is to be the certification body of choice for businesses that operate within the built environment sector, and we continue to make progress towards that ambition. Over the last few months, we’ve been working closely with a range of stakeholders to help grow the UK retrofit supply chain and a number of our projects are coming to fruition making the pathway to certification and compliance a much smoother process.”

Richard Wiffen, Scheme Manager at Simply Certification, adds, “We’re uniquely positioned in that our focus and expertise is within the built environment – particularly around sustainability – delivering a range of ISO standards as well as PAS 2030 and now MCS Certification. This latest accreditation will add enormous value for our customers.”


Kier Places is part of Kier Group and provides a full range of property management services to clients in and around homes and workplaces across the UK. Clients include local authorities, social housing providers and blue light organisations.


Kier Places engaged Simply Certification to support with their PAS 2030 certification and Trustmark registration.

PAS 2030 is recognised energy efficiency installation standard for residential homes, ensuring that all energy efficiency measures such as insulation, heating controls and electric storage heating are compliant.

Trustmark, which can be certified at the same time, is the government-recognised quality standard of installation, giving residents peace of mind that the installation is of high-quality and is backed by quality assurances.


The certification process required a full assessment which included Kier Places demonstrating that all installers were trained and qualified, that they had a good understanding of the PAS 2030 standard and there were procedures and processes in place to meet that standard.

In addition to the initial assessment, Kier Places will be re-assessed continually on a percentage of their installations.


The timeline for certification is on average 4-6 weeks for most organisations.

From the date of the first head office inspection, Kier Places were certified within six days.

This was due a well-planned and smooth assessment programme as Kier had all the relevant documentation and competencies in place.


  • Accessing work: the Government and the larger energy providers are working towards an objective to ensure all existing properties are energy efficient by 2030.
  • Future-proofing: contracts and funding schemes around the retrofit of energy efficiency measures in buildings are starting to stipulate that installers need to work to PAS 2030 certification.
  • Commitment to sustainability: Kier Places was able to further consolidate its position as a sustainability-focused and quality installer to the residential market.
  • Quality standards: the certification ensures that all installations are carried out to the same standards by any Kier Places representative and that ultimately, the installation reduces carbon.
  • Environmental impact: the installations reduce carbon, meaning lower environmental impact and warmer residents


“Because Simply Certification offer both PAS 2030 certification and Trustmark registration at the same time, we were able to streamline the certification process, saving time and ultimately resource. These certifications increase our ability to bid for work and in turn they facilitate the installation of energy efficiency measures which contribute to carbon reduction across the country.

Certification proves that we have the competence and internal skills to deliver these measures and ensures that anyone who works for us in retrofit, energy efficiency or carbon reduction within our residential team will be trained to an exceptional standard.

The Team at Simply Certification were excellent. They were really responsive and helpful, ensuring that we were fully prepared, making for a smooth assessment process. The team have exceeded our expectations and because of that, we are working with them to ensure our whole supply chain is compliant.”

David Rowe, Technical Director at Kier Places

Another UKAS accreditation for Simply Certification

After launching during the turbulence of a world wide pandemic, Simply Certification continue to break the mould and go from strength to strength.

The latest achievement is successfully gaining accreditation to deliver MCS assessments covering the technologies:

  • Heat Pumps (Ground and Air)
  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Thermal

with Battery Storage coming soon.

“Offering certification across the built environment lifecycle, which is ideal for contractors operating in this environment.”

Richard Wiffen, Simply’s Green Scheme Manager explains:

“It’s such an exciting time for Simply Certification. Having joined the business only in June 2022 I’ve first hand experience of seeing the customer base growing substantially across all standards that the business offers.

We’re uniquely positioned in that our focus and expertise is within the built environment – particularly around sustainability – delivering a range of ISO standards as well as PAS 2030 and now MCS – which is a particular strong combination adding huge value to our customers.

On top of this, due to us being recognised for our ethos around quality and supportive approach, we are forming strong partnerships within industry that will also compliment our schemes which all will be announced soon.”

“… enabling the pathway to certification and compliance to be a much smoother process and remove perceived barriers”

Alex Gates, Simply’s MD goes on to state:

“We’re delighted to gain yet another accreditation from UKAS. We’ve worked exceptionally hard and this latest achievement is a testament to the amazing team we have at Simply.

Our mission was to be the certification body of choice for businesses that operate within the Built Environment sector, and we’re certainly making waves!

Over the last few months I’ve been working closely with a range of stakeholders to help grow the UK supply chain within retrofit and we have a number of projects coming to fruition enabling the pathway to certification and compliance to be a much smoother process and remove perceived barriers.”

You can apply today for any of our Energy Efficiency and Retrofit Certifications or contact our team for more information.


Valley Group are a building compliance and facilities management company headquartered in Glasgow, with 6 divisions including a specialist energy-efficiency arm dedicated to warmer homes.

As the business has grown across Scotland, there has been a need to ensure that the quality of installation standards remains high, which is why they engaged Simply Certification to gain PAS2030 certification.


Valley Group engaged Simply Certification to support with their PAS2030 certification and Trustmark registration as a high percentage of their work comes through public sector housing schemes and has to be Trustmark registered.

Valley Group is dedicated to its own sustainability initiatives and is committed to training and developing its people as a way to future-proof its business. The business places huge emphasis on training and keeping people safe, which is why PAS 2030 was such an important business strategy for them.

Valley Group recognise that safe operating procedures and efficient installations reduce waste and ensure consistency of service, increasing client and end-user satisfaction and saving everyone time and money.


Valley Group had worked with Simply Certification previously, but the relationship was continued with a new contact in the business.

The certification process included a head office assessment which was focused around checking that processes and procedures were meeting the standard. This was followed by multiple technical inspections to ensure that the processes and procedures were being met in a live environment.


  • Business development: the certifications allow Valley Group to compete for public sector contracts.
  • Training and development: the next generation of operatives are all trained to the quality standards set out by PAS 2030 and Trustmark.
  • Recruitment and talent attraction: holding the certification ensures that Valley Group attract, train and retain people who have pride in what they do and work to a high standard.
  • Reputation: the standards that Valley Group work to ensure that clients and their end users are happy.


“Simply Certification really offered me peace of mind. I have over 20 accreditations and memberships to uphold and Simply got that – everything was communicated well. It’s important to me to pick up the phone and be able to achieve something, not just get passed around or having to repeat myself.

Having one point of contact at Simply really meant I could get things done and keep the business moving. This was a new standard to me and the team were supportive- they understood my business and its stakeholders.

This certification is not just about continuous improvement, it helps us secure grants, work with energy providers and build relationships that we simply couldn’t without it.”

Frazer Lowrie, HSQE Manager at Valley Group

The need for more PAS 2030 certified and TrustMark registered contractors is growing rapidly.

With a target for the UK to reach Net Zero by 2050 one of the key requirements is to address the issue of poor energy efficiency performance in homes.

The link to soaring energy prices, unhealthy homes due to damp and mould and a cost of living crisis is also driving more landlords and home owners to invest into the retrofit of their properties with insulation measures and renewable technologies.

24 Million Homes and Six Funding Schemes

There is an estimated 24 million domestic properties and currently six funding schemes that need contractors that have the relevant certification and proven competency.

So the opportunity is HUGE.

What are the funding schemes?

  1. Green Rewards – Brand new initiatives have been launched and there is likely to be more. This is non-government funding, aimed at the able to pay market; banks and building societies are releasing loans and cash back rewards to encourage home owners to retrofit their homes from TrustMark registered businesses.
  2. Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund – We have established relationships with primary contractors who have been successful in securing funding for SHDF. They have asked Simply Certification to introduce our clients once certified, as they are extending their supply chains to deliver larger schemes.
  3. ECO4 – Currently under the fourth wave The Energy Company Obligation is aimed at lower income homes that need multiple energy efficiency measures installed to help combat fuel poverty.
  4. ECO Plus – Get ready for the complementary scheme to ECO4 which is currently under consultation and due to start in the Spring.
  5. Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) – The HUG scheme is designed for the improvement of energy performance and heating systems for off gas grid homes in England.
  6. Local Authority Delivery (LAD) – Currently under the third phase LAD schemes are managed by local authorities to target low income homes in their area.

To qualify to deliver under these you will need to be a TrustMark registered business and hold the relevant certification for the measures or technologies that you install.

The future

We know the wider importance to stop homes damaging the planet.

We also know that homeowners and tenants are trying to reduce their spend on energy costs.

We know that properties that are poorly ventilated are causing damage to the health of the occupiers.

All of these reasons are forcing a serious and committed drive for change and a significant increase in the UK supply chain of certified installers.

If you are a contractor that delivers home improvements, then being part of this supply chain will not only future proof your business and open up opportunities but you will also be supporting a cause that will protect the most vulnerable as well as helping to achieve Net-Zero and protect our environment.

More information?

Contact our friendly team who will take you through the various options:

T: 0191 323 3960

E: hello@simplycertification.co.uk