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Cavity Wall Insulation Problems: What Are my Rights?

It is estimated that around six million homes in the UK have been fitted with cavity wall insulation since the heavily subsidised scheme was first introduced in the 1990s.

Billed as an effective way to cut heating bills and hit the Government’s energy targets, it is only in the last few years, however, that the cracks have started to show.

In 2015, thermal-imaging company IRT surveyed 250,000 properties with cavity wall insulation and found problems in half the homes.  

Experts now claim that while the cavity wall insulation was incorrectly fitted in some cases, it was unsuitable in other properties and should never have been offered at all.

 

How do I know if my cavity wall insulation is defective?

Cavity wall insulation is supposed to make homes warmer and more energy efficient. However, it has now emerged that if installed incorrectly, or in unsuitable properties, significant problems with damp can arise. The damp can in turn lead to further property damage including issues with electrics and even health problems in severe cases.

The issues with cavity wall insulation can often take a few years to fully come to light, but if it has been installed then you should look out for the following problems which could be indicative of defects:

  • No noticeable increase in heat or temperature
  • Mould
  • Condensation
  • Damp
  • Damaged brickwork

One of the main problems identified with inappropriate installation has been found to have occurred during the pre-assessment process. Many houses had the insulation installed when it was not appropriate to do so, for example, in areas where properties were exposed to a lot of rain such as Wales and Cornwall.

What can I do if I have a problem with my cavity wall insulation?

In the first instance, you should write to the company setting out the details of your complaint and the steps required in order to resolve the issue. You may find that you will require a surveyor to assist in identifying the extent of the problem.  

If the installing firm is still trading then it is their responsibility to put the problem right and a claim can be brought against them to include the cost of:

  • Extraction of the faulty cavity wall insulation and refill if appropriate
  • Damage to furniture
  • Redecoration
  • Treatment for health problems contracted as a result

Reputable energy suppliers should have registered a guarantee for the cavity wall insulation with the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA). However, there are often limits on payouts under the guarantee, which your bill for rectification works may far exceed. 

In the absence of a response or remedy to your problem, you should obtain independent legal advice.

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