Showing posts from February, 2019

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…

Response from English Housing Survey re: CWI

In a previous blog entry I raised concerns that extraction of cavity wall insulation is not notifiable to building control and there is no agency counting the number of extractions.
It's very concerning that such records are not kept.  How can our governing bodies for energy and housing understand the scale of retrofit problems if the data are not there.

The fallback is the English(or other regional) Housing survey which is time lagged but if it accurately records the number of uninsulated houses then it may at least eventually highlight any concerning regress in number of insulated homes which could only be explained by older homes having their insulation removed.
My concern looking at the housing survey protocol was that it may mistake an extracted home with an insulated home as both could have the tell tale CWI pock marks which surveyors were told to look out for as evidence of CWI.

I sought clarification from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government who prov…

CIGA In partnership with the Energy Saving Trust?

My Cavity Wall Insulation 25 year guarantee has the following on the bottom.
Three logos of equal prominence. 1st Insulation - defunct system designer of glass wool, CIGA and the Energy Saving Trust.

Based on this presence a consumer would reasonably expect the Energy Saving Trust to have quite a big involvement in the guarantee or the running of the 25 year scheme.

"The Energy Saving Trust(EST) is an independent UK-based organisation focused on promoting action that leads to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions - a key contributor to man-made climate change. They are funded by the UK government,devolved governments and the private sector."

I recently contacted Energy Saving Trust because I assumed they had some sort of responsibility with the Guarantee to see if they could assist with problems with the way CIGA dealt with my concerns.
For me a 'partnership' implies shared responsibility as well as liability.

Here is the response I got back from EST:

We should …

CWI, Impermeable masonry paint (update)

In my previous post I outlined the problem with installing CWI in buildings with water impervious paint and how it can lead to premature failure of masonry or render.
I finally got a response from Energy Saving Trust

"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.

Standard cavity wall insulation is widely accepted as an appropriate solution for many common brick and brick or brick and block cavity walls in areas of low exposure, and so guidelines for safe installation are mainly targeted at these wall types. 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…