Can I make a claim for problems with my cavity wall insulation?
Posted by Jordan Willis on 8 November 2017 at 10:20 am
An article in The Telegraph on the topic of claiming on faulty cavity wall insulation (CWI) described the issue as a scandal that could “rival PPI”. Though we certainly haven’t had our televisions and radios bleat on about no-win-no-fee cavity wall insulation claims over the past few years, there are a growing number of households that experience issues with cavity wall insulation, usually from poorly fitted insulation or a project that was entirely inappropriate for the wall itself. This can result in damp and mould patches, internal moisture and a failure to provide the heat and energy savings that were promised. However, before reaching for the phone to call your local solicitors, our blog will walk you through the appropriate steps to try and claim for damaged or faulty cavity wall insulation.
Firstly, before looking into making a claim, it’s important to try and locate any documentation about the initial transaction you may have. Having as much information to hand is always advantageous, whether it’s simply reminding you of the name of the CWI installer or giving you access to specific contract details. Whether it is a contract, a receipt or a copy of the pre-installation assessment, documentation oh who installed the CWI and when it was installed may be important to your claim.
Many problems with CWI appear two or three winters after the installation (and sometimes even longer), so it may not be immediately apparent that a damp spot or internal wall damage is the result of cavity wall insulation. Some complaints come from retrofit CWI that uses a wool mineral fibre as an insulator, in others damp spots simply arise from spaces where the cavity wall insulation didn’t properly fill the cavity (some studies suggest up to 40% of houses have gaps in blown foam insulation). Some types of insulation can hold moisture, and may have required a vapour barrier between the insulation and the internal wall, which cannot be done with a small-holed retrofit. Another cause of mould and damp is CWI being fitted onto walls that may be exposed to driven rain. Which.co.uk found that some assessors often can’t be trusted to be thorough enough in their assessments, which may lead to the wrong walls being fitted with CWI. The following map shows the regions most likely to be affected by driven rain.
People in zones 3 and 4 are more likely to be at risk of CWI damage
If you wish to make a claim, you must register your complaint with CIGA (Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) and the installer. If you aren’t aware of the installer’s name, they went out of business or you’ve moved into a new home without the requisite documentation, you can still lodge a complaint with CIGA, though the process is likely to take longer. Claims to CIGA must meet the following criteria:
- Brought to the attention of CIGA within 25 years of the installation date of the cavity wall insulation.
- First referred to the installer, and then to CIGA within 2 months if the installer and yourself fail to reach a satisfying conclusion. The installer must be allowed 41 days to rectify the issue, to make sure to note on the calendar when you’ve contacted each party.
- There must be no alterations made to the CWI prior to making a claim.
- The claim must have a maximum value of £20,000 under the guarantee.
For a full list of criteria, take a look at the CIGA website. The CWI guarantee offered by CIGA is automatically transferred after the sale of a property, regardless of whether documentation changed hands between the seller and buyer. If the result of this claim is unsatisfactory, it can be appealed by referring to independent arbitration, offered by a dedicated scheme from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution. They can be contacted here. There is, however, a £100+ VAT fee to submit the form.
If none of this proves satisfactory to you, there are a number of solicitors operating on a no-win, no-fee basis available that will assist you in taking legal action. Generally speaking, claims for negligence can be made up to six years after the incident, but personal injury claims are limited to three years.
Are you looking at installing cavity wall insulation? Use our database of trusted installers to find someone near you.
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Images: The Guardian and which.co.uk
About the author:
Jordan is a full-time intern here at YouGen this summer, specialising in online marketing as well as driving the site forward as part of an ambitious development plan.
Jordan is interested in all aspects of energy and sustainability and has a strong background in social media marketing and engagement.
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