Response to Daily Mail article dated 12/01/22

In response to the recent Daily Mail article.

Cavity wall insulation helps to keep homes warm and utility bills down. If cavity wall insulation is correctly fitted households should not experience any problems. Families who use accredited fitters, working with quality materials and approved systems, will continue to benefit from these products. Since the establishment of CIGA in 1995 over 6.2 million guarantees have been issued (accounting for 1 in 4 properties) and approximately 26.2 million tonnes of CO2 has been saved whilst also saving over £6.2 billion on energy bills.

Since 2016 CIGA has dealt with 21203 claims under the guarantee with the overall current claim rate at 0.42% of guarantees issued.

It is not surprising however that negative coverage of insulation has gained momentum recently with the challenges surrounding the Green Homes Grant management, Net Zero coverage and of course some of the questionable activity of so called supporters of insulation.

To address some of the comments in recent coverage

CIGA have welcomed dialogue in identifying concerns and working with government to raise awareness and greater understanding of the benefits of insulation and the importance of maintaining housing stock not only in the private but also the public sector which is vital to ensuring that homes are performing as they should be. We do work with government to help improve standards and have, as a result of past criticism, made significant changes which have included taking greater ownership for the end to end oversight, surveillance and compliance of installers who offer a CIGA guarantee.

CIGA have been consistently transparent regarding the claim rate of cavity wall insulation under the guarantee and we do recognise that on occasion the Cavity Wall Insulation Industry has not got it right and as a result of some poor practices a number of homeowners have been affected.  We continue to publish our annual review which details claims activity and report on installers who fail to meet our standards on our website.

CIGA have routinely carried out random and targeted quality inspections of installations under the Guarantee scheme, and since our certification system was put in place in September 2017 has been directly responsible for 5% surveillance of Certified installers. We continue to put in place additional measures of quality and compliance that are robust and effectively managed. This includes 100% independent desk top surveillance of all property suitability assessments before they are permitted to be installed with physical onsite inspection of 1 in 10 of these properties.

With regard to the Green Homes Grant, CIGA have a robust audit process of existing and new installers that does not allow for ‘cowboy builders’. We agree that there needs to be stringent measures to ensure that homeowners are protected and awareness is raised. Installations under government schemes must be carried out by a TrustMark registered installers, homeowners need to check that anyone carrying out work on their property is TrustMark registered and that work carried out is supported by a robust guarantee.

It has been mentioned that a new industry of extraction companies have been birthed out of cavity wall insulation failures. We would advise caution and urge homeowners who have a concern with their insulation to contact their guarantee provider before employing or engaging with an extraction company directly. CIGA are aware of Mr Mercer and continue to question much of his advice in general. Mr Mercer’s company previously provided extraction work for CIGA under the guarantee however this arrangement is no longer in place. We are aware he was previously employed as a Commercial Manager responsible for securing insulation installation works and now serves to profit from extraction works, in our view undermining the industry he previously worked for with little regard for the millions who have benefited from warmer homes and reduced fuel bills. He has for a long period of time made very clear his views about the industry he use to work with and CIGA.

With regard to Ms Hillyar, her case is currently open however she had recently informed us that she wishes to progress with her own contractor therefore we are unlikely to be able to progress the case further. Ms Hillyar is of course still welcome to continue to work with CIGA to follow up her concerns if she has not already had works carried out and can of course avail herself of the Arbitration Scheme operated by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution should she be unhappy with CIGAs response.

Mr Ward unfortunately contacted CIGA two and a half years after he first became aware of the problems with his property. Instead, he chose to use a claims company in an attempt to claim damages, when this was not successful he did then contact CIGA. We urge homeowners to carefully consider the promise of a pay out over receiving remediation works completed under the terms of the guarantee. Due to the period of time and the disrepair of the property CIGA was unable to assess whether the interior damage resulted from faulty cavity wall insulation. Mr Ward was offered arbitration through the independent body The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) however declined.

When looking directly at the Daily Mail article CIGA chose not to comment due to a lack of clear journalistic research and lack of any clarity as to the intended article and lazy journalism which it is clear from the article does not reflect current practices and instead focusses upon an important but small number of concerns. It is evident from the article that the journalist could not even take the time to provide an image of a damp UK property but instead chose to use a stock image of a European property complete with a European standard electrical socket.

Addressing specific comments such as ‘More than 34,000 people have tried to claim for corrective work under the CIGA scheme, with only a small percentage accepted as ‘justified’.’  This is absolute nonsense and had the journalist taken the time to review our stats he could have provided accurate figures based on claims received, claims approved and the types of problems presented and, whilst claims are rejected because of poor building maintenance, the lack of a guarantee being in place or lifestyle choice it is clear that damage which could be prevented cannot be covered under any guarantee. Should material be compromised due to poor building maintenance then it is simply not appropriate to blame that failure on materials or workmanship.

We are fully aware of Mr Chris Elmore MP’s position and desire to raise his concerns within Parliament however we have expressed a clear desire to work with him and as yet he has not availed himself of this opportunity, preferring to ignore the causal affect between poor property maintenance standards over a protracted period of time and failures in cavity wall insulation.

The solution to ensuring enduring energy efficiency performance is to ensure insulation is aligned to effective maintenance regimes and this does of course require either Local Authority, the Registered Social Landlord or homeowner investment.  The fundamental reforms which Mr Elmore calls for have already taken place under the Each Home Counts review. CIGA however remain fully prepared to partake in any enquiry regarding our open and transparent practices and Mr Elmore is more than welcome to visit CIGAs office to see our customer support operation at first hand, and perhaps leave with a more enlightened view.

In terms of the figure presented by the alleged industry expert who has advised Government we would very much welcome sight of this report as the figure of 20 to 25 percent in no way correlates with our own experience of 0.42% claims raised on 6.2 million guarantees.

Nigel Donohue CEO