A new scheme has been developed by the BBA with the aim of reducing the incidence of improperly fitted cavity wall insulation
Cavity wall insulation retrofits have become an increasingly utilised method for improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. However, in the rush to improve building performance, the procedures outlining the correct application of insulation are, in some cases, being side-lined, which has led to more and more problems arising from the retrofit.
The main issue that can arise is damp, which presents multiple problems for the health of occupants and the structure of the house. Furthermore, the boost in energy performance expected from the retrofit can be negatively affected. The figure of the number of homes affected is likely to grow as the problem takes a number of years to manifest itself.
Enhanced scrutiny for insulation installation
In an attempt to tackle this issue, a new scheme has been launched. The Cavity Assessment Surveillance Scheme (CASS) aims to provide a universal standard for the suitability of cavity wall retrofit. The scheme requires every property assessment to be carefully structured and then lodged with the British Board of Agrément (BBA) to be checked for compliance. Half of which will be randomly selected for an in-depth desktop audit. Ten per cent receive an on-site inspection by a BBA inspector. This layer of scrutiny is expected to ensure the correct application of insulation is used in each retrofit.
A pressing issue
Claire Curtis-Thomas, chief executive of the BBA explains: “Walls are the biggest single means by which heat escapes a home, and for the four million households living with fuel poverty in the UK, high quality home insulation can make a huge improvement to their physical and psychological wellbeing.
Thomas further elaborates: “But any insulation retrofit must be appropriate for the property, and that is particularly true for cavity wall insulation where the work is hidden from sight. CWI demands the highest level of rigour when it comes to assessment and surveys, before any work is carried out.
“There has been a problem with some CWI assessments, mostly because the methodology for assessment hasn’t really changed since the 1990s. But CASS fixes this, brings it up-to-date, and brings another level of quality to a vital energy efficiency retrofit measure.”
Visit the website for more information on CASS.