Cavity Wall Insulation is a centrepiece of the government’s energy efficiency scheme, funded in large part by the nation’s energy companies. It involves insulating the wall cavities of millions of UK homes with blow-in insulation with the goal of improving the properties’ overall energy efficiency, and reducing the homeowners’ energy bills. According to the door-to-door sales people and the marketing from the industry, cavity wall insulation is backed by a government guarantee.

Based on these facts what homeowner would want to say no to such a proposition? A free or nearly free energy upgrade to their home that will save them £100s every year. For some it sounds too good to be true.

For many who have taken the deal like Pauline Sanders, Clair Eades, and Dianna Goodwin, the fact it continues is a bit too much to take. All three have banded together to form the CWIVA, or the Cavity Wall Insulation Victims Association to advocate for those who have taken the deal.

Their reasons are simple. All three had CWI installed, and in all three cases their houses became damp and mouldy. When they tried to collect on the “government guarantee” to fix the damage they were in for a shock, an organization called CIGA guarantees the process, not the government. With little recourse they founded CWIVA to advocate, meeting thousands of others in the exact same situation in the process.

Not only was there no government guarantee on the work, as had been promised, but CIGA or the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, has gone out of its way not to help them. The organization cited “pre-existing” building defects for turning down claims, stating it could not possibly have anything to do with the insulation. This despite clear guidelines for the installers it backs to check for such issues before beginning the installation.

This week thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Cavity Wall Insulation Victims Association, John Denham, MP for Southampton put the issue on the Parliamentary Agenda for debate. Denham and many other MPs read countless stories from their constituents’ cavity wall insulation problems. It was noted that CIGA, an agency that is supposed to be independent of the industry, has a board full of key figures from the insulation installers and manufacturers’ industry.

CIGA Warranty Examined

The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency is supposed to provide a warranty on each of its member’s CWI installation jobs. In the sales pitch and paperwork the guarantee is supposed to last for 25 years. But the CWIVA has had difficulty actually finding anyone who had collected on the guarantee when problems arose.

As an agency CIGA is supposed to be independent to guarantee the installation jobs its members undertake in clients homes. However 7 of its current directors are also closely linked with insulation manufacturing firms, trade associations, or installers in the CWI industry. A further two are also on the board of the National Insulation Association or NIA, and one more is a former director of the same organization leaving a lot of room for conflict of interest. With a board like this it is no wonder this problem has been allowed to get out of hand, and nobody has seen the guarantee.