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

Cavity wall insulation and sub floor ventilation

My property has a suspended timber floor and was extended at the entier rear part of the old house  with a solid concrete floor. We have been told by RICS surveyor that the airflow was already inadequate with only 3 aibricks for the whole of the subfloor and it seems as if this should have been flagged up during the pre install survey.
In fact we got a CIGA authorised remediation contractor to review the property for extraction and re-install and he said that it wasn’t suitable for reinstall but regardless we needed 6 new air bricks to meet the current regulations.

According to Technical Note 18
"Extensions built to extend across the entire rear elevation of a property also compromises this essential cross flow ventilation, raising humidity below the timber floor and increasing the potential risk of timber destroying mould growth to develop.
CIGA has seen a marked increase in recent years of timber floor board and joist deterioration caused by reduced cross flow ventilation, with t…

Chartered Surveyor's Voluntary service (Challenging CIGA's inspection reports at ADR)

In this post I explain how to apply to the Chartered Suveryor's Voluntary service (CSVS) via the Citizen's Advice Bureau. RICS describes the CSVS: "This service provides free property advice to people who would otherwise be unable to obtain professional assistance from a Chartered Surveyor.

This page doesn't constitute best advice but offers one perspective which you might to consider but please do your own reasearch and make up your own mind.

Why you probably need a survey?

The CIGA 25 year guarantee covers defects in workmanship or materials.
It seems that if CIGA is challenged on the validity of the install or some clear industry standard violation then the claimant is likely to be prematurely referred to ADR. I say premature because the  process was always supposed to a last resort not an excuse to avoid investigating in full.

However, the premature referral to ADR is a bit of a trap. Homeowners desperate to fix damp and destruction of failed CWI may be lured by th…

Discrepancies between Internal and external DPC (damp proof course)

In a cavity wall construction, one would expect that the damp proof membrane to be at the same level on both walls. It turns out this is not always the case and my house is a good example where the internal wall's DPC is more than a brick lower than the external wall DPC.
I didn't even think to check this before reading the CIGA Technical note 14. This clearly states that if the distance between DPC and ground level is within a brick (as was the case with my property at time of install) then 'numerous other factors' must be assessed before declaring the dwelling as being suitable for CWI.

One of the factors is the relative level of the inner and outer leaf DPC.

This is exactly what I found in my property. Ive used a floorboard to show the position of the internal floor. The DPC is clearly a brick below the floorboard and less than brick above the block paving.

At least the cavity is clear of rubble as CIGA have said is so vital?

So the answers are

 Does the inner leaf …

DPC Bridges

In my previous posting Unable To locate DPC I discussed the integrity of the DPC(damp proof course) and how making blind assumptions can lead to violations of the Agrément certificate and thus and thus building regulations.  This post deals with bridges and what installers and CIGA inspectors should check.
A damp-proof course is a barrier, usually formed by a waterproof membrane such as bitumen or a non porous stone such as slate. Without a DPC, water can travel up through mortar beds and porous bricks from the ground through capillary action. The effect varies depending on the type of brick and mortar, soil type and drainage,  rate of evaporation from the walls and anything that might hinder evaporation (impermeable paints or cementinous renders). During the building of a dwelling a lot of care is taken to ensure that no structures accidentally create a connection between the ground and the wall above the DPC (known as a bridge. It's usually some well meaning and/or incompetent …

Unable to locate DPC

The BBA Cerficate for our CWI Agrément Certificate No 01/3789 states that the bottom row of drill holes should be maximum 800mm above the damp proof course (DPC).

The DPC is quite tricky to spot because the bottom row of bricks are undrendered but painted black. The home buyer surveyor was not able to identify the DPC and two CIGA inspectors did not look or document it despite concluding that the installation was done to system designer's specification.
It's not possible to assertain if the installation was correctly done to industry standards without locating the DPC. CIGA have stated that drill hole patterns were the key factor in their conclusion of conformity but  have told me it would be unreasonable for me to have that information (I was present for both inspections and no measurements of drill holes were done).
For my property one might ask which DPC?  The 1960s extension has a brick external leaf which has been tied into the original back wall but the DPC is a full br…

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…