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14 Jun 2024 < Back

More media attention for spray foam!

Spray foam insulation hit the headlines again this week, with a double page spread article in The Sunday Times. The article starts with the story of Mandy Hutton, who had spray foam installed in her Newport Pagnell home, with a large portion of the cost of the installation covered by a government grant.

However upon trying to sell her home earlier this year, her buyer was unable to obtain a mortgage due to the presence of the insulation. She was then quoted £8,000 for removal of the insulation. For those that have watched this sector with a interest will know this is not an uncommon story, in fact I discuss a similar story on BBC radio just a few weeks ago. 

Main takeaways 

It tells of the difficulty on assessing the condition of any underlying timber but then alludes to the register and training that has been developed by the PCA to try and address the impasse that has been created for those that are struggling to sell their homes. 

The article also provides views from various stakeholders including spray foam assessor, manufacturers and from the PCA. It provides the thoughts of one spray foam assessor and a familiar name Steve Hodgson and highlights there are three common issues he sees;

  • Sprayed insulation applied to the roof with the insulation left over the joists, increasing condensation risk in the loft
  • Open cell Insulation applied to high resistance underlays such as bitumen felt
  • Poor quality installations with “inconsistences” within the foam.

One of the last opinions in the article is from Simon Baker president of Huntsman, in which he concedes there is a issue with unscrupulous installers and that he can’t guarantee his customers that they would be able to get a mortgage once spray foam has been installed, but gave some assurances they would be willing to engage other parties where issues arise.  

However the next point that Steve makes is perhaps the most important, telling home owners with spray foam insulation ‘not to panic’. Do not make rash decision based on unsolicited advice. Try to gather as much paper work as you can and seek advise from the specialists already described.  

Future actions

To help consumers, the PCA is leading calls for an industry task force to help the public make informed decisions on home insulation. We are pursuing cross-industry collaboration to create a new framework that will demonstrate design and construction competence, aligned with the new Building Safety Act. We have also written to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the publication of their research into spray foam insulation to highlight our concerns. 

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