BBC News: Cavity wall insulation damp ‘affecting our health’

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Cavity wall insulation damp ‘affecting our health’ says Anna Phillips  Mother-of-three

[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”50%” class=”” id=””]I[/fusion_dropcap]nappropriate cavity wall insulation in homes has become “a scandal”, a Welsh MP has said.

Arfon MP Hywel Williams claimed millions of homes had the insulation installed by successive government-backed schemes which has led to damp, mould and condensation.

He has called on the UK government to take responsibility for the “dreadful mess”.

The UK government said it was committed to ensuring consumers are protected.

Mother-of-three Anna Phillips from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, said she had insulation in her home removed last year after living with damp for seven years.

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Daily Mail: The great cavity wall calamity: 1.5 million homes are blighted by damp after cowboy builders cash in on a Government insulation drive

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The great cavity wall calamity: 1.5 million homes are blighted by damp after cowboy builders cash in on a Government insulation drive

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[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”50%” class=”” id=””]M[/fusion_dropcap]ore than 1.5 million homes have been left blighted by botched cavity insulation work carried out to meet Government energy targets, experts say.

Properties across Britain have suffered dampness and mould, causing smells, crumbling plaster and stained walls. In some cases, the value of homes has plunged.

Millions of homeowners persuaded to sign up to scheme with promise of cheaper bills by call-centre staff and salesman trying to meet targets

The Government scheme was meant to make homes energy efficient
But experts claim homes were not suitable for cavity wall insulation
Victims left with houses riddled with damp and mould from botched fittings .

The scheme, funded by a ‘green tax’ on household gas and electricity bills, was meant to cut emissions and reduce charges by making homes more energy-efficient.

But experts claim that many homes were simply not suitable for ‘retrofitting’ cavity wall insulation, while others were in parts of Britain where weather conditions should have precluded its use.

“Some people have been left suicidal ”

Millions were persuaded to sign up to the scheme by the promise of cheaper bills from call-centre staff and door-to-door salesmen employed by energy firms obliged to meet Government targets.

A survey of 250,000 properties by thermal-imaging company IRT found the addition of cavity wall insulation to existing homes had failed to work in a quarter of cases and problems in half the homes it surveyed. Some owners even saw bills rise.

With more than six million properties having had the treatment since 1995, this suggests that as many as 1.5 million are affected.

Campaigners claim some people are suicidal after their properties were left riddled with damp patches and mould as a result of botched fitting, which can take thousands of pounds to put right.

Among the victims are Helen Thomson, from Cornwall, whose farmhouse suffered such serious problems after cavity wall insulation was installed that £30,000 of repairs are needed.


Helen Thomson shows off the walls at her home in Cornwall which were left damp by cavity wall insulation

And Deborah Wassell, of Southampton, had her insulation removed after furniture went mouldy and her son suffered asthma attacks.

Pauline Saunders, who set up Cavity Wall Insulation Victims’ Alliance after problems at her home in Newport, South Wales, said: ‘We’ve been inundated with people whose homes have been ruined. It has got so bad for some that they have been left feeling suicidal.

‘Even if half the findings of the study are true, more than a million people’s homes will have problems.’

Last month, Ministers published a report which admitted there were ‘too many poor-quality installations’ by companies which ‘do not have the skills required’.

Stephen Hodgson, of the Government-endorsed Property Care Association, said some homes were simply not suitable for the work as their design meant the insulation – which is pumped into walls via holes drilled into the exterior brickwork – acts as a ‘bridge’ for moisture to cross the cavity into the house.

He said: ‘Contractors were desperate to mop up vast sums of money made available by energy firms on the back of Government green targets.’

Under Government rules introduced in 1994, energy firms must help improve the efficiency of their customers’ homes, with costs added as a levy to all household fuel bills. The cost is around four per cent on top of an energy bill – equivalent to £47 per year on average.

Experts claim that many homes were simply not suitable for ‘retrofitting’ cavity wall insulation

Many householders told The Mail on Sunday of difficulties getting compensation from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), which was set up to pay for repairs caused by botched work. Experts also say its £18 million fund is not enough but the agency’s chief executive Nigel Donohue insisted: ‘Customer satisfaction rates are up.’

Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association, disputed IRT’s findings. He said: ‘These figures are widely inaccurate as thermal cameras in isolation are ill-equipped to assess the effectiveness of cavity wall insulation.’

However, he admitted that at least 13,000 of the six million CIGA-guaranteed homes had reported problems.

An Energy Department spokesman said that Government programmes required companies installing insulation to be accredited and to provide a guarantee.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4143922/1-5million-homes-blighted-damp-cowboy-builders.html#ixzz4sm7dwAHh
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The great cavity wall calamity: 1.5 million homes are blighted by damp after cowboy builders cash in on a Government insulation drive…

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Find out if you’re eligible to claim by filling in our short survey which tells us a little more about you and the problems you’re experiencing.

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[/fusion_imageframe] [fusion_separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”5″ bottom_margin=”5″ sep_color=”” icon=”” width=”” class=”” id=””/][fusion_text] Incorrectly installed cavity wall insulation can cause serious damage to your property and health. We’re here to help and answeryour questions. Our experts are on hand to help inform you of every step of the way throught the claim process.[/fusion_text] [/fusion_builder_column_inner] [fusion_builder_column_inner type=”3_5″ last=”yes” class=”” id=””] [fusion_text]

Our Survey

    . Find out if you’re eligible to claim by filling in our short survey which tells us a little more about you and the problems you’re experiencing.

    About you
  1. Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Email
  4. About Your Property
  5. Has your home suffered since Cavity Wall insulation was Fitted ? YesNo
  6. What issues have occured in your home ? Damp wallsRotting WoodworkMildew or FungusSubsidencePeeling WallpaperCondensation MouldDamp SmellsNo Reduction In Energy BillsHome No Warmer
  7. Do you have a CIGA 25 year gauruntee ? YesNo
  8. Could you provide any images of the damage ? YesNo
  9. [multifile multifile-698 filetypes:jpg|png|gif]

  10. Please enter any comments or questions that you have below.

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BBC News: ‘Horrendous’ scale of cavity wall insulation problems

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‘Horrendous’ scale of cavity wall insulation problem

[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”50%” class=”” id=””]T[/fusion_dropcap]housands of homes in the North West of England are having cavity wall insulation removed at the cost of millions of pounds because residents claim it has led to damp, mould and condensation .

Extraction expert Damian Mercer said there are currently 1,200 homes in the region where it has not been fitted correctly and needs to be taken out.

He said the scale of the problem was “horrendous”.

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BBC News: Damp in social housing blamed on ‘inappropriate’ insulation

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Damp in social housing blamed on ‘inappropriate’ insulation


Damp, mould and condensation has been caused in Welsh social housing by inappropriate cavity wall insulation, a report has found.

More than 280 homes have had insulation removed in Rhondda Cynon Taff alone, while 900 properties require remedial action in Neath Port Talbot.

The problems have been revealed in a draft report for the Welsh government, seen by BBC Wales.

The Welsh government said it could not comment.

The report, by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), was commissioned by the Wales Low and Zero Carbon Hub, which advises the Welsh government.

It was obtained under a Freedom of Information request by campaign group Cavity Insulation Victims Alliance.

 

Campaigners believe more needs to be done to help those affected

 

Pauline Saunders, from Newport, who founded the action group, called it a “huge problem”.

Removing cavity wall insulation (CWI) can cost thousands of pounds, up to five times the cost of its original installation.

Richard Evans of RCT Homes, which owns 10,000 properties, said some insulation companies have approached tenants in Rhondda Cynon Taff directly on the doorstep.

“Over our ten year plan, we’ve made an allowance of £1.2m to deal with this issue,” he added.

Swansea council and housing association Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd based in Bangor both told BBC Wales they no longer install CWI after experiencing problems.

Newport City Homes have had more than 250 cases to deal with and Carmarthenshire council more than 100.

But Cardiff council said they have not had any problems and neither has one of Wales’ biggest housing associations, Wales and West Housing.

 

Arfon MP Hywel Williams said he has heard of many cases

 

Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams, said he has raised the issue with the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Westminster following complaints from his constituents.

“This stuff has been put into houses where the outside rendering is cracked, so once water gets in the insulation acts as a bridge letting water into the house,” said Mr Williams.

“People have been told ‘this is a government scheme, it’s free’ when clearly it isn’t,” he added.

The MP will be meeting representatives from the UK government on 1 September, along with Ms Saunders.

Both the Welsh government and the Wales Low and Zero Carbon Hub said they could not comment until the report has been finalised.

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Cavity-wall insulation crisis may hit three million homes New analysis has produced shocking conclusions about just how effective insulation really is

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Cavity-wall insulation crisis may hit three million homes

New analysis has produced shocking conclusions about just how effective insulation really is


Poor cavity fill: the red and yellow areas show heat escaping through badly insulated walls

[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”50%” class=”” id=””]I[/fusion_dropcap]n this column on February 14 I reported on a Parliamentary debate about the extensive problems of dampness and mould caused by cavity wall insulation (CWI). I suggested that the retro-fitting of CWI might come to rival the endowment mis-selling scandal, or even Payment Protection Insurance.

READ: could the cavity wall crisis rival PPI?

I also said I would report back on the undertaking given by the government minister in charge (Amber Rudd, Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) that she would review the workings of the CWI industry and implement changes. Well, parliament will be dissolved on March 30, and it seems unlikely that the minister will have fulfilled that undertaking by then.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Amber Rudd: promised changes
What the minister has done is write a letter to The Daily Telegraph – which wasn’t published – berating me for, “failing to recognise that the vast majority of (CWI) installations, over 99 per cent, go ahead without any problems”.
The minister is quite right; I have failed to recognise that figure. For the simple reason that it is pure fiction. Until recently, nobody has had any idea of how many homes have CWI defects, because no independent study has ever been carried out..

Read: cavity crisis lands on the doorstep

CIGA (Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) states: “Problems with cavity wall insulation are exceedingly rare, affecting only around two in every 1,000 installations.” This would equate to some 12,000 of the six million homes covered by CIGA guarantees.
Rudd’s figure of “over 99 per cent” success, would imply a failure rate of less than one per cent – let’s say 0.9 per cent, or 54,000 homes, I’m not quite sure why the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) figure for failures should be four-and-a-half times greater than CIGA’s, but it is at least an admission that nobody knows the true figure. Both CIGA and DECC seem to be making the schoolboy error of mistaking absence of proof for proof of absence.

Hidden defects

I have always suspected that CWI defects are far, far greater than either of these estimates and are grossly under-reported, for several reasons. Firstly, many people with damp homes do not realise that their problems are caused by CWI, and have therefore never bothered to have it investigated. They buy dehumidifiers or expensive electrical ventilation systems, or pay for chemical-injection damp-proofing instead.

Secondly, there are people with no physical dampness symptoms in their homes, but who have nevertheless failed to notice any reduction in heating costs following retro-fit CWI, or have even found that their homes have become colder. They have not yet realised that the damp insulation in their cavities is drawing heat out of their homes, rather than keeping it in.

And then there are those people whose homes have become damp and mouldy following retro-fit CWI, who have reported this to their installer, and to CIGA, and been fobbed off. They have been told that CWI cannot possibly have made their homes damp, and that the dampness is due to construction defects, or to “lifestyle condensation”. These complaints are not recorded in either CIGA’s or DECC’s figures.
There are also many complainants who simply never receive an acknowledgement or reply, from either their installer or from CIGA. Some give up trying, and pay specialist extraction firms to remove the insulation. None of these complaints, too, will trouble CIGA’s or DECC’s record keepers.

How many homes are affected?

So what is the true percentage of defects in homes with CWI? Until recently, it has been impossible to say. But now we have a tool which, in the right hands, can be used to detect CWI defects without drilling into walls or removing bricks. Infra-red thermal-imaging cameras, used at night, during the heating season, can measure the heat escaping from different parts of a property’s walls. This data can be analysed using computer software and can identify unfilled areas (voids) in the insulation, areas where insulation has become damp and/or slumped in the cavity, and houses where the installers have drilled holes, but neglected to actually blow in any insulation.

Read: green energy costs higher than ministers admit

Thermal-imaging company IRT Surveys Ltd has compiled data from 250,000 UK homes, and has found that about half of the cavity-walled homes it investigated have damp, slumping or missing insulation (01382 228700; irtsurveys.co.uk). Should this figure hold true across the total housing stock, it will mean that out of CIGA’s six million guaranteed properties, some three million could have problems.

It is easy to see why CIGA would not want to acknowledge such a possibility, since its accounts show that it has only £18 million in the bank. Were three million guarantee holders to claim, there would only be enough money to give them £6 each.
Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency chief executive, Gerry Miller, said: “All the evidence shows that cavity wall insulation does exactly what it is meant to – keeps homes warm and keeps bills down. In the very rare instances cavity wall insulation results in a problem not resolved by the installer, CIGA have the resources and expertise to step in and put things right under the terms of the Guarantee.

“CIGA has issued six million guarantees in the past twenty years, and only two in every thousand homeowners who have cavity wall insulation installed have ever reported a problem.”
DECC’s stance is harder to fathom. After all, it is a government department, and the government is supposed to represent the interests of its citizens. Why would DECC continue to deny that cavity wall insulation causes problems, in the face of mounting evidence that it does? The answer to that might just lie in the obscure world of carbon trading.

Cavity Wall Insulation
Fitting cavity wall insulation

In order to meet its greenhouse-gas emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the Government has instructed the energy supply companies to insulate as many homes as they can. Homes are estimated to account for one-third of all the energy used in the UK, and of that, four-fifths goes on heating. So it is not surprising that the Government has set its sights on improving domestic insulation standards, with CWI seen as a cheap and easy option.

The effects of the insulation are logged as how much carbon dioxide (“carbon”) this will save (by reducing gas and electricity use). Insulating a detached house is supposed to save 1.1 tonnes of carbon every year, for a projected lifetime of 40 years. An insulated semi-detached house will save 650kg of carbon pa, a mid-terrace property 430kg pa, and so on.
The UK Government claims it is currently well on track to meet its Kyoto targets by 2020, and CWI plays a big part in that estimate. But, supposing it were to emerge that half of the houses included in the Government’s calculations had not been properly insulated at all? Supposing a proper investigation were to reveal that the UK had been wrongly claiming, say, two million tonnes of carbon savings, for each of the past 10 years? And all because of wrongly-installed cavity wall insulation?

Read: lots more expert property advice from Jeff
Apart from the obvious political embarrassment, the UK could find itself up before the European Court of Justice, which has the power to impose large fines.
If I were the minister at DECC responsible for overseeing this policy, I imagine I’d stick to my story of less than one per cent CWI failures, too.
If you have concerns about your CWI, visit the cavity insulation website here.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container admin_label=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”yes” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=”” background_color=”#3f3f3f” background_image=”” background_position=”center bottom” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”down” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.4″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”100″ padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”90″ padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”2_3″ layout=”2_3″ spacing=”50px” center_content=”yes” hover_type=”none” link=”” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” undefined=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”0px 0px 0px 0px” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”25px” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]

We Are Here To Help

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Find out if you’re eligible to claim by filling in our short survey which tells us a little more about you and the problems you’re experiencing.

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Only takes a few seconds!

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[/fusion_imageframe] [fusion_separator style_type=”none” top_margin=”5″ bottom_margin=”5″ sep_color=”” icon=”” width=”” class=”” id=””/][fusion_text] Incorrectly installed cavity wall insulation can cause serious damage to your property and health. We’re here to help and answeryour questions. Our experts are on hand to help inform you of every step of the way throught the claim process.[/fusion_text] [/fusion_builder_column_inner] [fusion_builder_column_inner type=”3_5″ last=”yes” class=”” id=””] [fusion_text]

Our Survey

    . Find out if you’re eligible to claim by filling in our short survey which tells us a little more about you and the problems you’re experiencing.

    About you
  1. Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Email
  4. About Your Property
  5. Has your home suffered since Cavity Wall insulation was Fitted ? YesNo
  6. What issues have occured in your home ? Damp wallsRotting WoodworkMildew or FungusSubsidencePeeling WallpaperCondensation MouldDamp SmellsNo Reduction In Energy BillsHome No Warmer
  7. Do you have a CIGA 25 year gauruntee ? YesNo
  8. Could you provide any images of the damage ? YesNo
  9. [multifile multifile-698 filetypes:jpg|png|gif]

  10. Please enter any comments or questions that you have below.

* Required

Thank your for taking the time to complete our survey, we'll get back to you soon.

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