About this Blog

This blog documents my experience of buying a property with Cavity wall insulation (CWI) in situ and finding damp problems in the wall. The installer and systems designer have ceased trading so the main point of contact for resolving this issue has been CIGA who covered the installation with a 25 year guarantee.  This blog provides evidence based documentation on the failings of insulation industry and the alarming lack of government oversight.
If you are a journalist and wish to use my material or contact me. Please tweet to @worthwords

What happened to CIGA's quarterly stats?

Under CEO Nigel Donohue. CIGA have failed to publish quarterly stats since Q2 2018. Publishing quarterly stats was a key commitment to 'openness and transparency' as a result of the consumer champion review and specifically mentioned in the Bonfield Review "Each Home Counts"

This is a retrograde step compared to the efforts of the previous CEO.
If CIGA Can't get basic and highlight visible commitments like this right then where else is it failing consumers?

What was Nigel's positive information on the BRE Wales report?

In a talk to PCA April 2017. Nigel Donohue CEO of CIGA says industry “Presented positive information to the Welsh Government following BRE report into cavity and solid wall insulation”.

I have just re-read the Post Installation Performance of Cavity Wall Insulation- BRE Wales.
CIVALLI has a good summary on their web page.

The thing that struck me was that so many of the properties where completely unsuitable and this was easily demonstrated by competent surveyors as opposed to unqualified inspectors from the guarantee agencies.

The following sentence shows what consumers are up against with companies like CIGA:

Not a single claim was successful despite almost all the properties showing violations of BBA certificates and CIGA's own guidelines with  clear evidence of poor workmanship and/or materials which the guarantees explicitly cover.
When CIGA inspects properties, it is not in their interest at all to actually do a proper survey. If they went looking for violations such as narr…

Weapons of moist destruction (WMD)

There is no regulator of CWI; Ofgem (the energy regulator) does not regulate the cavity wall installation industry. Ofgem has no oversight of the contractual arrangements between the energy companies and those organisations that install energy efficiency measures on their behalf. There is no ombudsman or independent redress scheme. Local building control considers CWI a 3rd party issue. Energy Saving Trust despite being listed as partners on millions of certificate have distanced themselves from the guarantee. BBA don't think they have any responsibility for a product they have certified  'should last the life time of the building' when the manufacturer has gone bust. The most prolific guarantee agency  CIGA can describe themselves as independent when they are in fact the industry and use unqualified 'inspectors' who are not formally accredited in damp and timber. 
Mis-sold, Misrepresented? However, for many home owners all of the above is something that is discov…

Is blown mineral wool safe for home owners?

A bit of historyMan-made vitreous fibre (MMVF) is a generic name used to describe an inorganic fibrous material manufactured primarily from glass, rock, minerals, slag and processed inorganic oxides

Man-made vitreous fibres have some physical similarities to asbestos, in particular, their fibrous character which gives them the same aerodynamic properties and leads to their deposition throughout the respiratory tract.
What makes asbestos dangerous is its biopersistence - that is how well the body is able to clear it. A lot of this is down to fibre length and shape with the most carcinogenic causing chronic inflammation of the tissues.
Given the tragic number of occupational deaths from asbestos related cancers and the long lag (decades) between exposure and disease, there was some understandable concerns about MMVFs and the International Agency on Cancer (IARC) initially class mineral wool as 'Group 2B' - probably carcinogenic.

In 2001 (IARC) reclassified glass mineral wool fi…

Update on CIGA and Energy Saving Trust

I have received a response from CIGA on the issue of Energy Saving Trust seeming to distance themselves from CIGA despite their name being on many guarantees with the words 'in partnership with'.

CIGA confirmed that Energy Saving Trust was a partner.
I have seen the correspondence regarding Energy Saving Trust and having seen internal correspondence with Energy Saving Trust at that time the use of their logo was under license following a joint partnership venture with them and as such with their permission. I can only assume their operative was not aware of this due to the obvious time lapse. We are corresponding with them to put the record straight as far as the issue you have raised is concerned.
I asked them if they would investigate the issue that the house was already covered in impermeable paint prior to CWI , especially given their partner EST were pretty clear that it was very likely that my home was not suitable for CWI.

Their response was this:
Yes we have followed …

What happened to CIGA's damning google reviews?

Until recently when you searched on google for CIGA or cavity wall insulation you would be greeted by some information on the right hand side of the page which included some google reviews of the business (and a photo of some bloke...anyone know who?).

Among those were classic reviews which mirror our experience...

Clearly the number of negative reviews should be a clue that there was something wrong with the customer service of this organisation responsible for guaranteeing more than 6 million homes.

In a bit of a dirty move, CIGA's leadership decided to address these reviews not by reaching out to satisfied customers for feedback or to find out from affected customers how they can  improve their customer service. Instead their thin skinned solution was to declare their business as closed on google maps/business which had the effect of removing all user's reviews.

Searching for precedence it seems that this is a common tactic of dodgy traders who change the name of their bus…