Scottish Borders Construction Forum

Scottish Borders Construction Forum

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The Scottish Borders Construction Forum has been set up to discover how best to help and assist Borders Trades People, Local Businesses and Trade Suppliers (as individuals or collectively) to make more of the opportunities that the transition into energy efficiency will offer.  We want to support local people to work locally and to benefit from the opportunities that energy efficiency will bring.

Scottish Borders Council declared a Climate Emergency on 25th September 2020 and are committed to net zero by 2045. The Scottish Borders needs to ensure that it is able to take the necessary steps to meet this target and support the changes this will require. The region will need to have access to local trades, skills, training resources and an open and cooperative market to achieve net zero.

To deliver this ambition there needs to be a cohesive and successful local supply chain.

There is an urgent need to look ahead and establish how to best prepare for future opportunities, especially with regard to the impacts of climate change on the construction sector. The forum’s role is to enable and facilitate the sharing of ideas, identify opportunities, provide updates and data to support and develop the construction sector and supply chain, provide better networking opportunities and  member support across the Scottish Borders. Such a forum existed before, and its loss has left a noticeable vacuum.

Exciting Times are Ahead for the Construction Sector!

As more energy efficiency measures and government guidelines on carbon reduction come into force, the way construction currently works may need to change. This may mean that tradespeople will require additional training or certification to undertake some types of work. The indications are that demand for this type of work is going to grow significantly and there are real opportunities for local businesses in:

  • Insulation of all types
  • Draught-proofing and air-tightness
  • Double/triple and secondary glazing
  • Ventilation and heat-recovery
  • High-efficiency electric systems
  • Biomass boilers
  • District heating systems
  • Heat pumps (ground, air or water source)
  • Heating controls/thermostats
  • Solar PV and battery storage
  • Solar thermal hot water
  • Low energy appliances and lighting


UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund we are able to continue our work until February 2025 across the following five strands:


Under Activity 1 we will continue to develop the Borders Construction Forum (BCF), bringing
together all those with an interest in sustainable construction, retrofitting, green and energy
efficient homes and the supply chains necessary to support these. The BCF is chaired by
Borders College.

Leaflets and NewsletterClick to view the Supply Chain Forum leaflet


Under Activity 2 we will provide fully funded training in key skills areas to at least 8 existing
local contractors to allow them to deliver new retro-fitting services. We will continue to
work with other stakeholders to promote the need for these skills, the opportunities for
training and the barriers that are faced by those wanting to up-skill.

Click to view the Scottish Borders Trades Subsidy Scheme Fund detail

Click to view the Trades Subsidy Scheme poster

Under Activity 3 we want to explore the need for and possible structures of a system to
support collaboration between small businesses so they can bid for and deliver larger
retrofitting contracts. A social enterprise may be the answer.

Click to view SBCF-SUP Report – Trades Consortium and Collective Bidding – July 2024

Under Activity 4 We want to work with the Local Home Energy Efficiency Strategy (LHEES)
team to establish a pilot where a number of typical “able to pay” Borders homes can be
retrofitted together as a way of reducing costs and delivering energy savings at scale. This
would be monitored closely to ensure lessons are learnt and shared.

More information coming soon…

Under Activity 5 we want to grow the work already started making young people aware of
the opportunity for quality jobs in the sustainable build environment sector. Working with
schools, DYW, colleges and universities, we will organise insight days and taster sessions we
will engage with young people, their parents and their teachers.

Click to view the Built Environment Month flier page 1

Click to view the Built Environment Month flier page 2

We will be posting regular updates and opportunities to this page

This project is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.



Community Renewal Fund

SUP Services was successful in a recent bid for Community Renewal Funding which is allowing us to explore some of the issues identified by the Forum including how to encourage more trades to take advantage of training opportunities; how to make young people more aware of the well-paid job opportunities in the sector and how to make it easier for small businesses to bid for local contracts and shared apprentices.

Work includes:

  • Scoping work to determine collaborative opportunities across the local supply chain to deliver larger (and more cost-effective) contracts, enhanced procurement skills and the opportunities around shared apprenticeships.
  • Small business training funding survey – If you’re a sole trader or small business in the construction sector you know how hard it is to find funds for training and upskilling.  Help us to help you by completing our 3-minute survey so we can make the case for increased small business funding. Click here:
  • Development of training materials and public information events to inform the sector.
  • Filmmaking Creative Commission to produce a range of short information films aimed at school pupils, young people, those with transferrable skills and existing tradespeople. The first of these videos are now on our YouTube channel:


Latest news and activities:

Local, Regional and National Energy Efficiency Courses for Trades, Professionals and New Entrants: This leaflet sets out the currently available local, regional and national courses for trades and professionals to upskill and provides a range of routes for new entrants to the construction sector in the Fast Track section. Click here to viewScottish Borders Construction Forum – training courses 2022




Accreditation, Competent Persons and Quality Assurance Schemes: This leaflet provides information on MCS, Trustmark, OVEZ (electric vehicle changing), DEA (energy assessors) and a rangle of Competent Person Schemes for all technologies and construction sector roles. Click here to viewSBCF accreditation guide 2022




Energy Efficiency Supply Chain reports:

Project brief for creative commission (closed May 2022) – Creative Commission Energy Efficiency in the Construction Sector

Borders Construction Forum – Education Engagement in the Energy Efficiency Supply Chain report – Borders Construction Forum – Education Engagement – Final report

Report October 2022 on Energy Efficiency Supply Chain Development in the Scottish Borders. Report on work undertaken under the UK Community Renewal Fund by Southern Uplands Partnership Services Ltd – Developing Construction Sector Supply Chains Towards Net Zero CRF Report SUPSLtd October 2022


This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.  For more information, visit





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