Damp in social housing caused by inappropriate insulation

1911

A new report has revealed some Welsh social housing suffers damp due to inappropriate cavity wall insulation…

A draft report obtained under a Freedom of Information request has revealed a number of social housing properties across Wales have problems with insulation.

According to the details more than 280 homes had insulation removed in Rhondda Cynon Taff alone. Additionally, 900 properties in Neath Port Talbot reportedly required remedial action to fix the insulation problem.

The report, which was produced by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), was commissioned by the Wales Low and the Zero Carbon Hub. It was obtained by the campaign group Cavity Insulation Victims Alliance by a Freedom of Information request.

The Welsh government and the others involved in the report said they were unable to comment on the draft until the details were finalised. However, Pauline Saunders, of Cavity Insulation Victims Alliance said the issue was a “huge problem”.

Inappropriate cavity wall insulation (CWI) can lead to damp and condensation within a property. One of the major issues stems from the cost of rectifying an inappropriate installation. Removing CWI can cost up to five times more than the original installation, leaving authorities and housing associations thousands of pounds out of pocket.

RCT Homes, which owns 10,000 properties, revealed some insulation companies had approached tenants in Rhondda Cynon Taff directly via doorstep sales.

In a bid to tackle the problems seen with these properties Richard Evans, of RCT Homes said the company had “made an allowance of £1.2m to deal with this issue”.

Issues experienced by Swansea Council and housing association Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd based in Bangor led to both no longer installing CWI.

Other Welsh councils have also had significant issues with CWI. Newport City Homes and Carmarthenshire Council reported more than 250 and more than 100 issues, respectively.

However, Cardiff Council and Wales and West Housing—one of the largest housing associations in Wales—said they had not had any problems.

Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon Hywel Williams said he has raised the issue with the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Westminster.

“This stuff has been put into houses where the outside rendering is cracked, so once water gets in the insulation acts as a bridge letting water into the house,” he said.

“People have been told ‘this is a government scheme, it’s free’ when clearly it isn’t.”

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