Understanding Cavity Walls

Cavity wall construction has delivered a form of building that has been incredibly reliable and robust. The way we are using them and adapting them to the needs of the 21st century means we must start to understand the mechanisms that make them fail!

Cavity wall construction & retrofit insulation

Over a decade ago members of the Property Care Association began to report increasing incidences dampness and condensation affecting properties built using cavity wall construction. Wall tie corrosion affects many older buildings that incorporate metal cavity wall ties and this is now well understood. What was being observed was the effects of an ageing technology coupled with changes in occupation, the effects of draft proofing and the ever growing use of retrofit insulation.

It is estimated that there are over 27 million homes in the UK of which nearly 20 million are of cavity wall construction. This has comfortably been the preferred method of construction for the approximately the last 100 years. As property professionals we will undoubtedly be looking at properties with cavity wall construction on a daily basis.

Why should we be concerned about inspecting cavity walls?

Well simply put, most have been altered since they were originally built and the effects of a British environment may impact some of the key components of the wall. The end result, if not addressed, can be dampness or structural failure. What can go wrong? Wall ties, Cavity trays, insulation, condensation and cold bridging to name a few.

In a world where we are seeing growing concern around defects in cavity walls and a rise in companies looking to exploit these growing concerns, it is now essential that all property professionals that inspect buildings understand these defects. That is why the PCA has developed a one-day training workshop that casts a spotlight on understanding cavity construction.

New Defects in Cavity Construction course

The Defects in Cavity Construction course is aimed at all building surveyors and building professionals who routinely inspect buildings with cavity walls, as well as those who are involved in the investigation and diagnosis of defects in this form of construction. This unique one-day workshop examines:

  • the origins of the cavity wall right through to the effects of retrofit cavity
  • internal and external insulation and the effects of occupation
  • surface and interstitial condensation

Open to both PCA members, members of professional bodies such as RICS, RPSA, RIBA etc and non-members; the course will provide attendees with an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms that cause cavity wall buildings to fail.

The Defects in Cavity Construction course is scheduled for 2nd April 2020 at the PCA Head Office, Huntingdon. For more information, or to book your place on the course contact the training team on 01480 400000 or email jo@property-care.org.

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