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    Trade body urges vigilance with Green Homes Grant home insulation projects

    A national trade association is calling on property professionals involved in the Government’s new Green Homes Grant Scheme to be aware of the issues with damp and mould emerging from installation projects.

    According to the Property Care Association, too many homes over the years have been blighted by poorly installed insulation.

    And the trade body says lessons from the past need to be applied to ensure homes are not left with long-terms problems in this latest round of investment from the Government. 

    Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the PCA, said: “We are supporters of this new scheme and welcome it to help improve the housing stock across the country.

    “Properly installed insulation is invaluable to keep homes warm and comfortable and tackle excessive energy usage.

    “However, over the years have seen first-hand what damage can occur from poorly designed, badly executed, rushed and ill-maintained retrofit insulation.

    “In the past, well intentioned Government intervention has helped create a false market with grant systems that reward volume rather than quality.

    “We need to learn from mistakes in the past.

    “Those across the building sector can help by being aware of the potential implications and advising home-owners to take the necessary steps to prevent damage to their homes.

    “Internal and external wall insulation changes how a building deals with water.

    “No insulation should ever be applied that covers over cracks or conceals a damp building, and it is also vital that ventilation is considered at the same time too in installation projects.”

    The PCA wants to raise awareness of the basic principle of ‘fabric first’ and of improving, not diminishing, the air quality in homes as essential considerations in any insulation project.

    Taken from PAS2035 – a key document detailing how to conduct energy efficient retrofits of buildings – the fabric first principle is that insulation must never be applied within or over defects in the underlying building fabric.

    Mr Hodgson added: “Detailed pre-installation checks on properties, carried out before any insulation is applied, are the way forward to address future problems. 

    “Factors such as moisture related issues, blocked cavities, defective guttering, corroded metal wall ties and high ground levels should never be overlooked.

    “Ignoring, overlooking or covering over existing defects will inevitably result in major issues that will be extremely difficult and very expensive to fix once the insulation is in place”.

    PCA members can advise on the key issues surrounding pre-installation checks. More details at www.property-care.org