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

CIGA quarterly reports

The last quarterly reports were rushed out after CIGA 'forgot' to publish them for 3 quarters despite being key Each Home Counts commitment (page 40 in the report). This was very shortly after I pointed this out.

Of course it's good to have reporting but the number are not terribly useful for consumers. It would be so much more useful to know for each concern the date it was installed to give us an idea of lag time vs recent installs, how many extractions were done and  products associated with worst failure rate etc.

A few comments:

Q1 2019 has a Basic maths error again. ((1626-1114)/1626)*100 is not 16% . This would have been signed off by CEO. That fact that the they have under calculated indicated incompetence rather than conspiracy.

From Q4 2018

"Historically water penetration influenced by weather conditions has resulted in claims being received. We continue to see a reduction in the level of claims received in this area due to improved weather conditions and mo…

Cantilever roofs and Wood in the cavity

My house, as well as others in the street, immediately stick out as being unusual.  They were built in the art deco style in 1930 but have been modified replacing original windows with uPVC and some have had their original flat roof replaced with a pitched roof.  There are some clear remnants of the original ere however. One of the defining features of art deco houses is the use of cantilever overhangs over windows, flat roof sections and for crisp clean (often curved) balconies.
There are two such cantilever overhangs on my house.  The canopy over the front door (see photo below) and a wrap around flat roof over the bay window at the front of the house.  As part of my ongoing investigation into the construction of the house I decided to look how the overhangs were constructed.
The roof at the front is only a thin strip of roof just in front of the 1st floor bay which itself is stepped back from the ground floor bay. The flat roof then extends to the left (looking from the street) an…

Review of the BBA CIT / Northern Ireland Social Housing Investigation

In 2017 BBA CIT (a subsidiary of BBA) was tasked by the Norther Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) with conducting the largest survey to date of properties installed with Cavity Wall insulation(CWI). The NIHE is sponsored by Department for Communities a devolved Northern Ireland government department in the Northern Ireland Executive.

This incredibly important report was published 3rd May 2019 and provides a pretty hefty blow to the CWI industry and associated 'independent' guarantee companies. 
The NIHE has a considerable investment in CWI following an extensive programme of insulating cavity walls across its housing stock in the 1980s. This survey comes on the back of a previous survey of 206 homes from NIHE Stock done in 2014 which concluded. "The research found that many homes suffered poor and inadequate levels of thermal protection. Only 9% (19 homes) were deemed to have sufficient cavity wall insulation and be fit for purpose"
This new report states "In 20…

Energy Saving Trust Logo on CIGA guarantee certificates (clarification)

I finally got a response from Group Head of Marketing Communications at the Energy Saving Trust in regards to the CIGA. (see previous blog entry for background).
We are writing to you in connection with our response to your email of 07 January 2019 in which we wrote:

“We should point out that we are in no way connected to CIGA. We are not sure why our name would ever have appeared on a CIGA certificate, though it is possible they may have provided us a source of general information on insulation and other energy saving measures.”

Since the sending of this letter – we have carried out a further investigation into this matter.

It has now been established that the statement we made in our email of 12 February 2019 was not accurate. CIGA were granted permission to use the Energy Saving Trust In-Partnership brand mark in 2005 until it was withdrawn when the Energy Saving Trust rebranded in 2011.

We therefore apologise for the inaccuracy in our earlier email and trust the above clarifies the …

Old example of CIGA putting commercial interest before consumers interests

I was reading an old dissertation from 2007 "Addressing the Geographical Restrictions Placed on Full Fill Cavity Wall Insulation in the UK Due to Driving Rain" by  Peter Stanley Batchelor. Which was supported by Rockwool. Link to PDF here

It quite clearly documents CIGA's irresponsible attempts to increase the addressable market for its installers of which the directors of the biggest companies were also CIGA directors.
For CIGA to use 'complaint' figures as justification to roll out installation to houses in high Driving Rain alone is bad enough but as per usual they didn't seem to understand their own figures.

CIGA never released their raw data and relied on the following map to make their point.
However as Peter points out. The biggest # signs are concentrated around areas that are already known to be in zones associated with wind driven rain.

CIGA is a an organisation with commercial interests. This is something that everyone one knows apart from politici…

How to run a scam guarantee agency?

This is theoretical of course. But If I was to set up a retrofit insulation guarantee agency which served the needs of the industry over those of the consumers then here is what I would do:

 Set a budget for the year regarding how much money can be spent on settling claims - clearly we have to be seen to offer some compensation. Add retrospective clauses to old contracts and claim that 'independent arbitration' has proved that these are valid *Respond and shut down claims as soon as possible so that response time obligations can be met and presented to any government organisation that might scrutinise us.Send unqualified inspectors around to look for evidence of condensation or maintenance on the house and blame all the problems on the owner. Inspectors must not look for any evidence of poor installation and if they do find any must not mention them in the report.When claimant complains about poor/incomplete inspection. Rather than address technical questions, declare an impass…