BRE Wales Report

I'm reproducing this directly from the CIVALLI website with a few added comments - lets hope this news spreads far and wide. Thanks to CIVALLI for their incredible persistence in seeing this massive Government con exposed.  The report is shocking in its candid exposure of the almost complete failure of the Cavity Wall Insulation program - and the complete lack of technical oversight of the entire program. Installers were able to get away with shoddy workmanship for many years, with no form of quality control or checking.  The worst aspect of all is that an uncaring Government is now attempting to run and hide from their responsibility to put right millions of homes that have been blighted with Cavity Insulation.  It is a bigger scandal than PPI and the banking fiasco rolled into one.  If you even THINK you have cavity insulation, contact CIVALLI, or call us, and we will arrange to do a full survey of your home to see if there are problems.

What is even worse about this is that it has taken the dogged persistence of an amazing band of people who I first came into contact with after I did a Radio 4 interview about CWI.  They were victims of CWI themselves, and over the last two or three years have managed to hold the Government up against a wall and beat the backside out of them.  They were partly responsible for the decision to kill the Green Deal.  Hats off to you girls - keep them on the run!!

CIVALLI are pleased to have received the long awaited BRE Wales report and completely agree with the need for further research. Follow the link for the BRE Wales full report. 

CIVALLI key points

Post Installation Performance of Cavity Wall Insulation- BRE Wales
Background

  • Retrofit Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) is a direct result of UK Government policy

  • It is not controlled nor overseen by either UK or Welsh Govts.

  • Quality control is self-regulation by the insulation industry - which is non-existent

  • Call for evidence from those who manage properties who have had cavity wall insulation (and external wall insulation (EWI) 

  • Identify long term legacy issues from CWI (and EWI)
  • Legacy issues which may arise from such refurbishment works-waste creation and remedial costs

  • Small sample of Welsh dwellings (503-CWI)

Overview

  • Evidence that CWI and EWI has been installed in unsuitable properties or without due regard for best practice
  • CWI all failed within the 25 year guarantee timeframe. Some within 10 years
  • Failure rates varied but some Housing Associations reporting 45%+ failure rate
  • Highlighted examples of CWI and EWI installed contrary to good practice

Standards

  • Prior to the creation of CIGA and the Competent Persons Scheme in 1995 there would have been a requirement for training of installers and surveyors. This would have been undertaken by the insulation manufacturers
  • No evidence of the content, frequency or quality of training could be identified
  • There are a variety of standards which should be adhered to
  • No evidence of comprehensive pre-insulation surveys.

Findings

  • In many locations cavities were bridged by fallen mortar and debris
  • Properties were located in very severe exposure zones with cavities less than 50mm wide
  • Insulation installed contrary to good practice
  • Evidence of inconsistent fill, slumping and debris at the installation phase
  • Dubbed ‘unintended consequences’ 27 identified to include condensation and mould, electrical safety, increased fuel poverty, structural failure, premature decay etc
  • Guidance in place at the time of the installation has not been followed (CWI)
  • No comprehensive survey records prior to insulation exist
  • Householders must maintain the external leaf of the property and it must be in A1 condition at the point of installation
  • (No maintenance clause in the CIGA guarantee prior to 2012 and no warnings or risks given to householders- CIVALLI)
  • Extraction costs 5x insulation costs
  • Materials are not biodegradable and end up in landfill
  • When problems do occur it is left to the installer or CIGA to rectify however the complainant is rarely successful after a lengthy and challenging process.  (Incompetent supervision, unqualified personnel etc - HH)
  • None of the 24 sites in the study have been successful through the guarantee scheme.

Recommendations

12 key points to include the following:-

  • Report serves as an initial scoping study for a wider piece of research
  • Much more structured and comprehensive assessment process required- detailed pre-insulation surveys and regular visits in the following months and years
  • Nationally representative survey to be undertaken to identify the scale of the ‘unintended’ consequences
  • Wider research out of lab conditions re CWI and moisture content in walls.

Government data indicates that there are over 13 million homes in the UK with cavity wall insulation (CWI) and the most well known (perhaps renowned) guarantee provider is the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) advises that it has issued around 6 million 25 year guarantees for retrofit CWI. 

Retrofit-CWI has in recent years become more and more concerning to householders and indeed to the industry itself resulting in an insulation extraction (also known as cavity clearance) industry boom.

This boom was at first to some extent encouraged and welcomed by industry leaders, but as the boom bites the CWI industry itself has gone into massive decline with many large players ceasing trading leaving the guarantee provider currently exposed to a 400% increase in claims.

There is growing evidence from research carried out on behalf of the Governments in Northern Ireland and Wales that the CWI which was/is claimed to last the life of the property, is failing well within the guarantee period. The NI experience indicates that more than 90% of installations are 'not fit for purpose'.

Failure is seen visually by households as damp, mould, wall paper, plaster and paint falling off the walls.

What is not fully understood by the families living in affected properties is the extent of health risks and their slowly increasing energy bills.  Far from saving energy, defective insulation increases energy usage.  Moisture levels in the walls of the property increase - damp walls allow up to 25% more heat loss than dry walls, and this percentage figure may well increase as our understanding of this area of building science increases.

The global dimension is that Governments see energy efficiency in the home as a significant contributor to environmental targets (carbon dioxide emission reductions), but the reality is that the theoretical savings are not being delivered in many instances. This means that Government claims of target achievement may be somewhat premature because of the significant contribution assumed to be made by recent (since 1994) CWI installations in UK homes.  Even the methods used to calculate heat loss in walls have been shown to be overestimating heat loss by up to 75%.

The key points within can be viewed via the BRE link. The comments within this news update are shared by CIVALLI.

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