Response to the Hansford Report on Solid Wall Insulation
Peter Hansford, the Government’s Chief Construction Advisor, today published his report into Solid Wall Insulation. This is our response.
Kingspan Insulation Ltd welcome the publication of the ‘Solid Wall Insulation: Unlocking Demand and Driving Up Standards’ report.
We very much agree with the comments within the report that promote careful specification and appropriate installation, both of which are essential when looking to improve the 8 million dwellings across the country that could potentially be improved.
As an industry, we need to work together to produce better guidance for Solid Wall installations. This needs to be developed from wider research and analysis so that future guidance helps protect buildings and their occupants, whilst at the same time, not acting as a barrier (we need to drive up demand and standards as the report suggests).
Appropriate solutions will vary across diverse property types and circumstances (i.e. some measures can be appropriate in many conditions, but may be less appropriate in others, so instead a different measure would be used). Ultimately the guidance should be developed in close liaison with all interested sectors of industry and the wider built environment, preferably under the direction of an impartial organisation that can act as a driver for progress towards better guidance and standards for specification and installation. A retrofit hub may be the best way to do this, as has been long suggested by many (http://blog.kingspaninsulation.co.uk/need-refurbishment-hub/ )
We agree that more research is needed to look at actual performance data to help validate and improve models and we need to check that the information that feeds into modelling is correct for the materials used and the conditions experienced across the different parts of the UK (otherwise we can’t rely on the outputs). From that process, we can become more sure of appropriate specification becoming the standard, rather than the exception.
The key issue for any retrofit project is to ensure that someone actually considers the issues, weighs up the specifics of the project, looks at the condition of the existing building and ensures that any pre-existing defects are addressed. We have been saying this for many years and working with various trade associations and bodies with the same mantra, as we have done in this report via INCA and the NIA. Project managers should consider the options available, look at how best to detail measures to avoid thermal bridging and ensure that the structure is protected. Care also needs to be taken to ensure that the design is carried through into practice and that a good standard of workmanship and installation is achieved. This is not only to protect the industry, but more importantly to protect the consumer and achieve the energy savings that are desperately needed.
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