Our review of the Bonfield Report...
As a consulting group working in the fields covered by this review, all we can do is gasp at the shoddy organisations involved in this report.
For example, the BBA were directly responsible for creating the entire Cavity Wall Insulation scandal through disgraceful failures and shoddy certification, useless testing, and what I personally see as clear fraud - the use of Government money to undertake what they described as exhaustive testing of cavity insulation - all of which has been subsequently proven to be ineffective, incompetent - and has led to many thousands, if not millions of failed cavity insulations. The BBA still regularly tests and approves a myriad of snake oil remedies for damp proofing - they 'certify' dozens of ridiculous creams, pastes, and slurries that are supposed to stop 'rising damp' - something that has never been reproduced in a laboratory - and that neither myself, nor any of my team have ever witnessed in an old building. Every so called rising damp case is easily explained by simple science.
The other main organisation involved in this report is Trustmark - yet another scam organisation, supposedly run under the auspices of DTI. It is actually run by a woman who runs a large marketing and PR company, amongst whose clients happen to be the Property Care Association - the damp proofing and chemical industry sales association, responsible almost single handedly for producing all these wet and cold old solid walled homes - and for wanton destruction of thousands of Listed buildings through drilling useless injection damp proofing holes. Who has just been appointed to the Board of Trustmark? None other than Steve Hodgson - chief executive of the property care association - a damp proofing 'wally'.
The Bonfield Report was a chance to redress the money laundering, industry control and vested interests that have been damaging millions of homes through ill thought out schemes - Cavity Insulation, Internal and External insulation, Green Deal (failed), ECO (costing the taxpayer billions for little benefit) and Smart metering (A complete shambles where not one supplier can agree on even a basic set of common standards).
Section 3 is the clincher. It brings the whole scandalous, money making monstrosity to a crumbling heap:
- Consumer protection - not a single report of fraudulent damp proofing, fraudulent ventilation, or fraudulent cavity insulation has ever been properly investigated. Trading Standards refuse to investigate ANY cases that involve damp proofing or failed insulation.
- BSI - Even BSI is lacking in any real forethought - I've been quoted often enough saying that BS7913 should be free - it should be promoted as THE standard to start working with, off the back of which should be more detailed standards. Nothing has happened.
- Liz Male - the woman running Trustmark, who appointed a chemical industry damp proofer to the Board - who does the marketing and PR for the damp industry - who has a massive self interest in keeping the damp industry alive and well - who is now cashing in on cavity wall insulation EXTRACTION for her PCA member companies - who have failed to correctly diagnose failed CWI and injected most of the affected homes - but are now calling themselves cavity extraction experts - and failing to even do that job properly. Liz Male has repeatedly refused to investigate cases brought to the attention of Trustmark when the PCA refuses to investigate member firms accused of fraud. This woman has somehow wormed her way into overseeing Skills and Training - she has no experience of skills and training.
5.. Compliance - Claire Curtis Thomas - BBA. The mind boggles that the chief exec of the BBA - which CREATED the CWI scandal, which is responsible for certifying EVERY damp proofing product and process we are daily trying to remove from Listed and old buildings, the same BBA that trained the cavity insulation installers, the same BBA that is training the extraction teams which are daily failing to extract anything - This woman is in charge of the Compliance and Enforcement workstream of the Bonfield Review.
Holistic Property Consideration - I have to admit to knowing nothing of David Adams - other than Wilmott Dixon I thought were lawyers - I rather think our crew, and folk like John Preston and John Edwards know a lot more about holistic approaches to property than just about anyone else in the country.
In section 9 it talks about the issues being addressed in the ‘broadest sense’ which should obviously include traditional buildings, but clearly ‘industry’ does not have the ability to do this.
Under ‘vision’ it mentions ‘access to the latest standards and best practice guidance’. If this is undertaken in a truthful way this must include BS7913 and whilst it also stresses in 2.3 the opportunities, it doesn’t mention the risks. This is all rather strange considering BRE (through Colin King) has undertaken so much research into risks – this is Government funded research so why isn’t it mentioned?
The work of the Retrofit Task Group is critical as I guess that all training will follow on from this – so if the output from this group is wrong so will the training. This task group has already been established under the auspices of BSI. It doesn’t have a ‘heritage’ expert onto the group. We are very fortunate that Colin King of BRE is on the group, but it does need an approach based on BS 7913. If the ‘guidance’ or ‘specifications’ produced by this group do not follow BS 7913, then we will be in a very strange situation where a BSI published ‘guide’ / ‘specification’ / ‘standard’ doesn’t comply with one of its own standards (i.e. BS 7913). However, this wouldn’t be the first time with BSI’s PAS 2030 not complying with BS 7913.
I guarantee that this entire process will fail. On Page 17 a lovely diagram attempts to show how layer after layer of certification builds confidence. There is almost nothing to show what happens when something goes wrong, and its very well constructed so that anyone with a problem goes round in endless circles trying to pin the problem on someone - they can't. Its built that way, using the CWI scandal as a model - no single person or organisation can be nailed for any failings.
Page 19 has three relevant paras - 9 and 10, backed with 11. Good in theory, but who is going to put them together - who is independent enough - STBA have already showed themselves to be in bed with the PCA - the damp and chemical industry - so who is to be trusted with such a task?
Page 26 - BBA and Ciga - neither organisation has a clue what they are doing - and yet they are once again running off with vast amounts of Government money on yet another hare brained scheme - not one person with the knowledge and experience to do this work is involved. No research has been carried out that will inform the work. They are floundering around in the dark - but it looks good in the review. It is complete, utter rubbish, and will not work.
EPC data - we have already reported on EPC data -we have commented that the latest ridiculous increase in levels will allow a very few homes to jump one band - yet nowhere is the definition of 'solid walled' dealt with. Nowhere is the central fact that EPC's are inherently and fatally flawed, and cannot be applied in a one size fits all situation - again, Bonfield skips lightly over this - it looks good, but it is complete rubbish, soft soaping the real problem.
Page 35 - all I can say from a personal viewpoint is that this is becoming Orwellian in extent. Do any of you guys want ALL of this information to be held on your home - most of it generated by software that doesn't even understand your solid walled, metre thick stone construction anyway, and is patently wrong? I for one do not.
Page 37 is perhaps the most laughable part of the entire report.
Has anyone seen inside this gaily coloured disaster? I have. It is sopping wet - a monument to the failure of EWI. Water cascades down the internal walls. Damp, failed plaster, cold - a mess. You don't honestly believe anything that's printed in this report after they actually were stupid enough to put the Bristol Painted House into it?? Go see the place for yourself - it really is a monument to how not to do it.
Page 39 - a Retrofit Standards Task Group - apparently its going to be established to address needs. Impartially chaired, at least that's the proposal in the paper.
SO HOW IS IT GOING TO REPORT IN APRIL 2017? It apparently hasn’t even been established yet - this is a draft for comment - so by the time comments have been finished, it'll be march - and the group is going to report in April. I rather think the Group has already been chosen, decided what its going to say, and it’s a 'fait accompli' - which doesn’t really help people like us who actually know about retrofit and see the results of shoddy workmanship - families ruined by it - children in hospital, in some cases families financially ruined…
Still on page 39 - Smart Meters - what a joke - a friend of mine leads the smart meter project - it is so fractured and badly run that not one common standard has yet been agreed. All the different manufacturers are working in a bubble. And none will talk to each other. Yet the Big 6 are spending hundreds of millions developing software projects to work with this disparate technology - it is - quite simply - a joke.
I have very close personal contact with a lot of the victims of CIGA - the entire page is a sham - none of what is printed is happening. The 'consumer champion' teresa perchard failed to take heed of ANY of the issues presented to her, and CIGA is ignoring nearly every case taken to it. Customers continue to receive disgusting treatment, or are totally ignored. Families are still living in disgraceful conditions, and some 'extractions' are being done for the THIRD time by the same incompetent idiots that put the stuff in in the first place - and Liz Male and her Trustmark buddies, the PCA are happily diagnosing most failed CWI as rising damp and injecting it anyway.
High Standards - of shoddy, incompetent, fraudulent yobs, turning up at the doors of CWI victims - in some cases threatening them.
Page 48 is about the only page in the entire report that makes vague sense.
Yet these same organisations are the ones entrusted with making the Bonfield review work.
It will not.