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About this Blog

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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 in particular the redress system for cavity wall insulation due to the alarming lack of government oversight.
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If you believe any of the content to be incorrect, libellous or slanderous and wish to have it removed then I can also be contacted on twitter and will be more than happy to review or discuss content.



PAS2035 Concerns regarding reduction of the inherent technical risk scores (Part 1)

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The hope of Trustmark was that the problems with CWI would go away with the introduction of PAS2030/35 as a result of the Each Home counts review. One of the key strap lines being 'no insulation without ventilation; Trutmark would fulfil the  'quality mark' of government endorsed quality and home owners  can relax - there will be strict oversight for once.
The retrofit co-ordinator role was seen as key to bring about a whole house assessment and make impartial recommendations in the best interest of the home owner and it was assumed to be an independent role similar to a building control inspector.

Unfortunately, independence is seldom enforced and is not an absolute requirement. CIGA are gearing up to provide their own in-house retrofit co-ordinator to their members. Not only that but said retrofit co-ordinator can 'reduce the inherent technical risk score' of Cavity wall insulation under PAS2035 simply because Trustmark recognise CIGA as an 'industry quality …

The IAA - CIGA2

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On April the 1st 2020 a press release, which could easily be dismissed as a joke, announced that Nigel Donogue, CEO of CIGA was launching a new end to end Installation organisation with the strap line 'Right first time'.

What made some people think it was a prank was that the only content of subance on the launch web site was a list of CIGA's 'remedition contractors' (see appendix) - companies paid to fix problems with retrofit. Very 'Right first time'!

However it turns out to be a real thing and very concerning as this is clearly a restructuring of CIGA to capitalise on an expected retofit boost following adoption of the PAS standards and Trustmark 'quality mark' all of which were a fallout from the Each Home Count review.
 It also appears to be an attempt to shake of the toxic brand of CIGA which again was brought up in parliament on May 2020 

In case there was any doubt of IAA being a rebrand.  Companies House as of 4 Jun 2020 shows that IAA is C…

What happened to BS 8208?

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The British standard BS 8208-1:1985 Guide to assessment of suitability of external cavity walls for filling with thermal insulants. Existing traditional cavity construction. Is a verbose title but describes exactly what you would expect it to do.
When BBA certificates were issued for cavity wall insulation products during the late 80s and 90s they would reference conformity to this standard as evidence that a product and installation of said product conformed to building regulations.

The standard was withdrawn on 2009 but products approved approved to this standard by the BBA continued to be installed with reference to this standard for many years after.
Anyone working in the industry should have been very familiar with this guidance.

For the Cosytherm product in my walls, it is quite explicit:



Clearly if CIGA or a surveyor check for conformity to 'industry standard' they would have to take into account this standard as the BBA certificate is the chief instrument to judge buil…

CIGA scrubbing bad google reviews - the transformation is complete

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I previously posted about CIGA deleting their business from google in order to remove bad reviews. Which occurred coincidentally around the time they were applying for Trustmark accreditation.
CIGA now takes a leaf from George Orwell's  Ministry of truth pretending they never existed. They have recently renamed their CWISC google business to now be the main CIGA business. The CWISC( self certification scheme) resides at the same physical address and so easy enough to change. The result is a relatively squeaky clean rating.

This is suspicious of rogue trader behaviour.
This is what the google page looked like last year - 16 terrible review evaporated.


Impermeable paint and condensation analysis

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The most popular post on this blog  details the problems of blocking the cavity with insulation in the presence of impermeable paint/render. Here

To recap the events since. Energy Saving Trust had provided me with technical guidance regarding the likely problems :
"It is certainly the case that adding a coat of paint or other material with lower vapour permeability to a wall with relatively high permeability will affect the way moisture can travel through the wall. It is also the case that adding insulation to a wall at any point will also affect the way moisture behaves and travels within the wall.If the wall has been externally painted with a low permeability material, then these guidelines may not be sufficient to minimise risk of unintended consequences, and so we advise that the pre insulation survey takes full account of the situation, and the likely behaviour of moisture in the wall post insulation."
EST also stated that it's CIGA's responsibility to assess an…

TheTrap: Cavity Wall insulation with no attention to ventilation

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Cavity Wall insulation is associated with increased indoor humidity which is a risk factor for condensation and mould. Home owners suffering from black mould are told by installers and CIGA inspectors that humidity and condensation is the cause of their damp, yet home owners are also told that 'disturbing the insulation' which includes installing through wall vents apparently invalidates the 25 CIGA guarantee.  The industry need to stop blaming home owners and guarantees should be fit for purpose. 



Occupiers instinctively know that living in a dwelling with visible mould has health implications.

With the recent publication of the PAS2035 standards for retrofit  ventilation has been promoted to a 1st class citizen which must be addressed in any retrofit.
Ventilation is incredibly important for the management of humidity, controlling mould growth and expelling various particulates from the room. The sort of particulates that are thought to be detrimental include anything from ai…