Cavity wall insulation issues – Lack of information and possible defects?

Cavity wall insulation issues – Lack of information and possible defects?

8:56 AM, 27th November 2020, About 3 years ago 6

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Back in 2010, the freeholder of the housing estate where I own a ground floor flat undertook a large programme of works to install cavity wall insulation to nine 4-storey blocks of flats.

A few years ago I had to have an EPC carried out to enable me to let my flat. The EPC assessor assumed that there was no cavity wall insulation. I contacted him and provided the guarantee I received from the freeholder. I then asked to have the EPC updated accordingly. Unfortunately, I was told that the certificate wasn’t useful because it didn’t specify the kind of material used in the cavity nor the thickness of insulation.

The freeholder advised that they didn’t have the information (is that possible?) and I should contact the company that installed the insulation direct. Unfortunately, I found out that the company had gone into administration shortly after the installation was carried out, so I am unable to get the information required.

How am I able to obtain the necessary information to update the EPC?

Fairly recently (October 2020) we had heavy rainfall and the rain penetrated through the external walls into the flat. The internal walls, recently redecorated, were soaked wet and water was dripping from the ceiling around the windows.

The freeholder’s surveyor carried out a visual inspection, but couldn’t find any visible problem and considers it a one-off incident.

I believe this could be caused by failing cavity wall insulation (possibly incorrectly installed) which could also explain the problem my previous tenant was experiencing from 2015 when had complained of leaky windows. The surveyor from the company that had installed the windows at the time couldn’t find any leaks or fault with the windows, so we assumed there were problems with condensation which also explained the problem with mould growth on the walls around the windows.

I am not satisfied with the sole visual inspection carried out by the freeholder and I would like them to carry out a more intrusive inspection, but I am not having any response or the information I have requested regarding the cavity wall insulation, the details of the installation and the building insurance.

Has anyone had a similar experience and wondering what steps I could take to ensure the freeholder provides the required information and investigates the problem further?

Many thanks


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9:57 AM, 27th November 2020, About 3 years ago

You could employ your own surveyor who could do intrusive surveys....they use endoscopes for this sort of will cost though, you may be able to claim it from the freeholder if evidence of defects are found, but you may need to lawyer up.

Paul Shears

13:48 PM, 27th November 2020, About 3 years ago

I asked a cavity wall installation company to do an inspection of some cavity walls in some flats with a view to insulating the cavities.
The cavity wall company worked with me free of charge by drilling some holes and inserting an endoscope.
We found that the cavities had previously been filled. However we found totally different sorts of insulation in different areas of the same structure. So at least two attempts had been made to fill the cavities.
However we also found that the cavities had a few voids still in them where the previous two companies had failed to do the job correctly.
At this point the cavity wall company withdrew their interest in the work.
A few years later, yet another cavity wall insulation company, with who I had no involvement, came from over 200 miles away and drilled holes in the walls everywhere and pretended to fill the mostly already full cavities.
This was all paid for by recycled tax money.............

Jireh Homes

18:04 PM, 27th November 2020, About 3 years ago

In terms of retrofitted cavity wall insulation the type and thickness is not required. The RdSAP software assumes a U value once the "drop-down" box is selected. To gain confirmation for this comment, contact the Accreditation Body for the Assessor which will be noted on the EPC and then address with the DEA. There may be a small charge to relodge the EPC if the evidence for the insulation was not obvious to the DEA at time of the survey.

terry sullivan

22:54 PM, 27th November 2020, About 3 years ago

retrofit cavity filling with absorbent material is madness. have it removed?

Paul Shears

23:06 PM, 27th November 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by terry sullivan at 27/11/2020 - 22:54You need to look into the actual material used and the installer.
To take an extreme example, Shell offered a material coated with a light adhesive over 40 years ago.
They gave a lifetime guarantee on the property in which it was installed.
I made a claim on the guarantee because it was disturbed by structural alterations.
Shell sent out their huge truck to repair the damage free of charge within two weeks.
It did not quite have the insulation properties of rivals but it was guaranteed to be suitable for three storey coastal properties exposed to extreme weather.
No voids possible due to the nature of the material and therefore no "pipes" created between inner and out walls of a cavity wall.
So yes you are right even this material was not completely fool-proof in that it could not be used on high rise buildings.
I suppose that they found that water saturating the outer leaf would track across the cavity as it drained down on a tall building.
The problem, as ever, has more to do with the calibre of staff used in the survey and installation.
Shell used their own staff at the time rather than the layer of destructive and parasitic outsourcing that we see in every walk of life today.


8:50 AM, 15th December 2020, About 3 years ago

Thank you all for your responses

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