Further to the BRE report recently published, BBC News Wales have since written an article on this topic, September 30th. You can see CIVALLI key points on the BRE report here.
CIVALLI recognises that there is good practice within the industry, notably by highly qualified specialists who understand building physics and are prepared to treat a building holistically. We also recognise that great efforts are being made by the media to report responsibly and reliably on the topic of failed installations, the problems that homeowners are encountering and how the industry is conducting and developing themselves.
- Experts asked to examine issues with cavity wall insulation in Wales say there needs to be a nationwide survey of the problem.
- Hundreds of homes in Welsh local authorities have had the insulation removed due to damp and condensation.
- A report for a body advising the Welsh Government has recommended a wider investigation into the issue.
- Construction Excellence in Wales (CEW) also wants better risk assessments on suitability for cavity insulation.
"There is evidence that that cavity wall insulation or external wall insulation has been installed in unsuitable properties, or without due regard for best practice,"
-stated the authors of the report for CEW.
- As many as 900,000 homes in Wales are built with cavity walls, according to the investigation. It was carried out by the construction research organisation BRE.
- BRE said a survey in 2008 revealed that at least half those homes had the cavity gap filled with insulating material.
"The proportion of dwellings with insulated walls is likely to have risen considerably since this time,"
-added the experts.
The report makes three main recommendations:
- Undertake a larger and nationally representative survey "to identify the extent of the issues"
- An assessment of the competent person's scheme, to develop guidance on surveying and insulation installation
- Develop a maintenance guide for installers, housing managers and occupants
CIVALLI would add to this that Best Practice guides should be made accessible to prospective 'cavity wall insulation opt ins'-
This would be expected to outline clearly what should be expected from the insulation process, the contractor carrying out the works and the access to post works 'after care'. Whilst there is acknowledgement that the process of checking homes for 'suitability' can be and needs to be much improved, homeowners need to be warned of the risks of installing insulation into their homes. Too many times we are hearing the same feedback from our cases, they are being told their homes have not been well maintained causing the installation to fail. Also, another main reason for 'opt out' by the guarantee agency is to inform the homeowner they are experiencing damp and mould problems due to 'lifestyle' and 'home management' issues.
What about failed installations?
It is equally important that Best Practice documents are written up and provided to homeowners whom have opted in to having cavity wall insulation installed into their homes and those installations have failed them. Homeowner's need to have confidence in the work that is being undertaken on their home and it is CIVALLI opinion that one way to achieve this is for the homeowner to know exactly what to expect throughout the process. Too often, work is being undertaken and not to 'Best Practice' or 'Best Standard', how is the homeowner going to know that if there is no clear guidance on what to expect?
BBC News Wales gave CIVALLI due credit and added:
Pauline Saunders from Newport set-up the campaign group Cavity Insulation Victims Alliance and said she is not surprised by the report findings.
She said she has been contacted by around a thousand people and helped hundreds get funding to remove damaging insulation.
"It's confirming what we've known all along - that the cavity wall insulation industry is rubbish and it's ruined people's lives,"
"I've a file of cases about 12 inches deep. Wales has some of the worst cases. There needs to be an in-depth report because no-one has any figures."
- Pauline Saunders, CIVALLI
The report for CEW has backed that argument, noting that its current findings are based on a small number of self-selected properties that had problems with damp.
Read CIVALLI key points on the BRE report here.