10:00am Tuesday 13th August 2013
By Gina Bebbington
INSPECTIONS will be carried out at Northwich properties where cavity wall insulation could be causing more harm than good.
In last week’s Guardian we reported that owners of steel framed houses in the town centre took advantage of a Cheshire County Council insulation scheme about five years ago but have since discovered this is not recommended for their homes.
Chris Harris, of London Road, is one of the residents affected and said he only found out the potential problem when his neighbour was on the verge of selling his house.
The lender refused to offer a mortgage when a survey revealed that the house, which is steel framed so it can be jacked up in case of subsidence, had cavity wall insulation.
Some of the properties have been issued with 25-year guarantee certificates from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), which plans to carry out inspections this month.
A statement from CIGA said: “The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) is aware of Mr Harris’s concern and an appointment convenient to Mr Harris has been arranged to visit the property for an inspection by our technical manager and the installer on August 20.
“Our technical manager will also be inspecting two other properties in the area on the same day.
“CIGA will provide an update upon receipt of our technical manager’s findings.”
Cavity wall insulation is not recommended for steel framed houses because they need a well ventilated cavity to prevent moisture from building up and corroding the steel.
If insulation were to get damp it would hold the moisture against the steel frame, particularly towards the bottom of the structure, and make it more likely to corrode.
But building surveyor John Wright, from Plumley, got in touch with the Guardian to say that all is not lost for residents.
He helped a Hayhurst Close resident who was in a similar situation when a buyer pulled out of a sale because the lender was advised against providing a mortgage.
“This chap lost his buyer and went to a solicitor who contacted me and I had a word with the people who put in the insulation,” John said.
“They immediately said ‘right, we’ll take it out’ because what they’re meant to do is inspect the property to see if it’s suitable for cavity wall insulation – they either didn’t or ignored the fact that the house was steel framed.”
John monitored the company as they removed the insulation, inspected the cavity to ensure it was done properly and wrote a report which could be provided ready for a future sale.
He said: “The people who installed it paid the solicitors’ fees, paid my fees and paid compensation to the homeowner because of the disruption and loss of purchaser.
“I would advise anyone with concerns to go to a solicitor, who would hopefully contact someone similar to me and follow the same route.”
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