Last edited 13 Nov 2015

Solid Wall Insulation: Unlocking demand and driving up standards

In November 2015, the chief construction adviser to the government Peter Hansford published his recommendations for restoring the credibility of solid wall insulation (SWI).

Hansford had been commissioned by the Green Construction Board to consider ways in which demand for solid wall insulation could be unlocked through improving its affordability and increasing its attractiveness as a solution. He claimed that numerous examples of inadequate installation and poor workmanship have led to SWI developing something of a poor reputation.

His recommendations for restoring the credibility of SWI include:

  • More robust accreditation of assessors and qualified installers.
  • Development of guidance for assessors, designers, supervisors and customers.
  • Establishment of a retrofit co-ordinator.
  • An awareness campaign to increase uptake.
  • Creation of a ‘Retrofit Hub’ as a technical centre of excellence.
  • Government policy to offer greater consistency in incentives that are offered.

Hansford’s report claims that 3.5 million homes could benefit from SWI treatment.

Green Construction Board chairman Mike Putnam said: “Given that there are around 26 million existing homes in the United Kingdom and over eight million of these with solid walls, adopting solid wall insulation as a solution for much of our existing housing stock makes good business sense. I urge industry and government to study the recommendations made by Peter Hansford and to grasp the huge business opportunities inherent in them.”

The industry has responded favourably to the recommendations.

Kingspan Insulation Ltd. released a statement saying: “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.”

The Insulated Render and Cladding Association (INCA) Chairman Pádraig Barry said: “Given the current uncertainty in the industry, the publication of this report brings a very timely and much needed focus on the SWI market. As the leading trade association for external wall insulation, INCA welcomes the publication of this report and will work with Government and industry partners to drive forward its recommendations.”

Hansford’s tenure as chief construction advisor is set to end in November 2015 with the role being discontinued.

You can read the recommendation document ‘Solid Wall Insulation: Unlocking demand and driving up standardshere.